SeaTable 1.6: Two new column types and more control over formulas and attachments

We begin the New Year with a new release of SeaTable: Version 1.6 has been deployed today on https://cloud.seatable.io and will be made available on Docker Hub shortly. The new version is packed with new features and improvements. At first glance, you will spot two new column types and a redesigned column type selector. Upon closer inspection, you are going to find a host of other user interface improvements that have found their way into this new release. A lot of effort has also gone into improving the formula wizard. New functions, design improvements, and more detailed error messages lift the wizard to a whole new level.

In this release note, we highlight the most relevant and exciting changes in the new version. For the complete list of changes, consult - as always - SeaTable's Changelog.

Column type #19: duration

The duration column type is ideal for everyone that uses SeaTable for organizing and storing all sorts of time measurements such as completion times.

The duration column stores all duration inputs in seconds, but it can display the duration in either h:mm:ss or h:mm format. Additionally, if you don't want to enter the duration in the colon-separated format, you don't have to. SeaTable converts any numerical input automatically in the defined format. Integers and decimal numbers are both supported. This said, depending on the chosen format, the input is either interpreted as seconds or minutes in the case of h:mm:ss or h:mm, respectively. (Example: The input 235 yields 0:03:55 when formatted as h:mm:ss cell and 3:55 in a cell with h:mm format.)

New column type Duration

And we didn't stop there: We have also expanded the format settings of the formula column, so that results can be displayed as a duration in either h:mm or h:mm:ss format too.

Column type # 20: email

The new email column type stores email addresses. When clicking on a cell filled with an address, your email app opens up, the email address is copied in To: and you can start typing your mail right away. Hence, it works in a similar fashion as the URL column introduced in SeaTable 1.4.

Column type email in webform

The real strength of the email column comes into play in web forms. When using an email field, the built-in validation makes sure that any respondent enters a valid email address. Accidental typos that render email addresses useless no longer exist.

Improved formula wizard

SeaTable 1.6 introduces five new functions: date(), datedif(), eomonth(), months() and ifs(). The first four facilitate and improve the organization and handling of dates in SeaTable. The date() function computes for any given date the serial number that Microsoft Excel would use for storing the date. datedif(), short for date difference, calculates the difference between two dates. eomonth(), short for end of month, returns the last day of the month specified in the given date. Optionally, a certain number of months can be added. months() computes the number of full months between two dates. ifs() nests a combination of if functions.

Improved formula wizard

In addition to the new functions, the new wizard now also support the calculation with formulas in linked tables. More specifically, the result of a formula in one table can be used in a formula in another table. Previously, only uncalculated fields in other tables could be used in formulas.

The wizard was also subjected to some graphical modifications. Most importantly, the wizard is now a pop-over window (as opposed to a modal). This entails multiple advantages above and beyond the more appealing design: While the modal froze the background, the pop-over wizard does not block the scroll bars. Additionally, the pop-over does not cover the column header. Bottom line is that you can now scroll left and right, with the formula wizard opened up, and read off the titles of the column you need in your formula.

Lastly, we have addressed the "chattiness" of the wizard. In the past, "Formula is invalid" was the default error message whenever the syntax was not adhered to or an inexisting column was referenced. Now, the message is much more verbose and provides clear hints as to the type of the problem at hand.

Asset management

Besides all the structured, tabular data that you can capture in a SeaTable base, SeaTable is also a great tool for organizing unstructured data in the form of files and formatted text. Think of the images you can drop in a long text or the documents you uploaded in your table. SeaTable stores these files in its storage backend.

With this new version, you can access the storage backend right from SeaTable's web interface. You can browse the stored file and images and remove individual objects from the storage. From the bases library, hover on a base, click on the three dots for the advanced options, and hit "Advanced" to open the "Attachments Admin" dialog. Images and files are stored in separate folders of the same name.

Asset management in SeaTable 1.6

Related to asset management, user can now access the trash bin where SeaTable keeps deleted bases for 30 days before purging them from the system. If a base was deleted unintentially or a user changes has a change of mind, the base can be recovered from trash and restored including all its snapshots.

Many other improvements

SeaTable 1.6 ships with many other improvements. Many address user interface and usability issues. This time, we also put an emphasis on SeaTable's print function.

We have, for instance, given the gallery plugin a new, non-modal design in our effort to reduce the number of modals. The same thing goes for renaming a view. We have also fixed an issue with the search function. Now, every time you press CTRL + F, the cursor focus moves to the search bar. In the form editor, we have moved the text boxes for the form notes into the form. This makes it easier to write longer form notes and brings the form editor closer to a WYSIWYG editor. In terms of usability improvement, we have added a nice feature to the auto-fill function: Beginning with SeaTable 1.6, SeaTable recognizes number sequences in alphanumeric strings and auto-fills them. The new feature 'embedded code' makes it easier to integrate SeaTable's bases into websites.

Non-modal Gallery plugin

Two known issues with the print preview have also been ironed out: Hiding a column in the table view did not remove the column from the row details and thus from the print view. Similarly, group labels weren't properly printed when the groups were formed by single / multiple select or link columns. With SeaTable 1.6, both are a thing of the past.