To kick off our first Summer Series of 2020 we revisit with Abdul Alzanki from Season 4 Episode 6. Abdul is a mobile engineer at Khan Academy and the creator and developer behind MiniExtensions which is a series of no-code feature extensions for Airtable. Abdul got started coding when he was 14 years old with tools like Game Solid that let you make small iPhone games. He found that he really enjoys making something from scratch and pursued coding and developing while at UC Berkeley studying computer science. 

Over the years Abdul has seen many changes in the way that people code that is mostly due to the tooling getting better. Coding language has become safer and more advanced and more programmers are sharing code. Access to more open-source code has been increased and there are more ready-made back-end tools and services available. This is incredibly helpful because you aren’t having to build from the ground up every time. 

MiniExtensions was born after Abdul was working with his brother who was a huge Airtable fanatic. He was having an issue converting URLs to attachments in Airtable and couldn’t find a cost-effective solution. So, Abdul got right to work and built him a script to run to fix his issue. Abdul wanted a way to not only help his brother but other Airtable users that may have been experiencing the same issue. They started combing through the community forums to see what other users’ needs were and got right to work. A common feature request they found was downloading all attachments in a field. His goal is to make as many extensions as possible so that you end up with a library of tools to use without having to have the skills or knowledge of a programmer. 

Abdul personally uses Airtable to sort feature requests as they come in and to manage the development process of building a new extension. After using the tool for over 5 years his favorite thing about it is the simplicity that goes into Airtable that allows everyone to use the platform and do things that typically only an engineer or programmer may have been able to do. 


DEMO: MiniExtension Tools 

  • Around 20 different extensions 
  • Each one has a different purpose
  • You can see a video of the extension being used in real-time
  • Most popular: convert URL’s to attachments 
  • The vast majority of the extensions can be scheduled or have a webhook
  • Bulk Download Extension: Can be any type of file (video or image)
  • Text Sentiment Analysis Extension: lets your grab test and categorize it with machine learning
  • Generating PDFs Extension: turns every row in your base to a PDF document

Abdul has put his coding skills to excellent use to create an alternative solution that a lot of Airtable users are looking for. 

You can checkout miniExtensions on their website here.

Watch the video below for the full podcast visual, including more of Abdul’s story and the live walkthroughs of the extensions described above.

Episode Video:

Here’s an audio version of the above, with links to download or share if desired:

Episode Audio

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