Automatic Links

Relationships between your collections and records just got a whole lot more sophisticated! With automatic links, you can add a custom link to another collection or record from an existing record and then automatically sync that value with a lookup value. For those Excel nerds among us, it functions similarly to a vlookup function. For an example and more information on how to use automatic links in your collections, see our guide here: Automatic Links - Noloco

Can you share more information about when Automatic Links sync?

Are links created automatically

  • once at the time of collection creation time?
  • on a schedule?
  • on an event?

I’m asking because I’ve setup collections with automatic linking which have linked correctly at creation but records that have been added later to the related collection have not been automatically linked.

For example:
When I create an automatic linking field on a REST API Collection that syncs Customers from a third-party API and automatically links with records in the Company Collection.
Existing records in Company are linked automatically to Customers when the Collection is first created.
When I add a record to Company later, that record does not link to a record in Customers when it is expected.

Hi @arklight - thanks for the question

I’ll try to add some clarity to this:

When you have an automatic link setup on a table, any changes to the “source” field (the field you have used to match on that table) will cause it to look for a match in the other table.

If it finds one, it will be linked.

What this means:

  • If both tables in an Automatic link are synced tables, if the matching record isn’t yet created in the destination table then there won’t be a match
  • If the value is changed in the destination table, then the link won’t be updated

To address your example:

  • What table is the automatic link setup up, the REST API?
  • If you’re adding a company to the non-REST API table it won’t automatically link if the REST API table record is already created

Thanks @darragh. I can see now that it’s better for us to create the automatic linking field on the non-REST API table

The automatic linking field was created on the REST API table.
It’s common for the REST API record to sync after the non-REST API table record like so:

  1. non-REST API table record created.
  2. REST API table record not found.
  3. REST API table record created from next sync.
  4. No link created.
  5. Unrecoverable automatic link because REST API source field is read only.

With the automatic linking created on the non-REST API table, even though the link is still not automatic in the above example, we can update the source field and trigger the automatic syncing that way. It would be nice to see this manual intervention be handled in app one day.