I'm trying to set up an ideally "no- code" way to have a backend of 3 different tables and be able to find a value in table #3 (contains businesses & cities) by first finding a record in table #1 (7,000+ zip codes) that corresponds to a city (table #2 has the unique cities), and then finding which businesses are located in these cities ( in this specific, original zipcode lookup). And return the business and a description via an API to a front-end results page, which happens to be a WordPress page - but doesn't need to be. I've tried Airtable's API, AirPress (a finicky WordPress plugin for Airtable's API), and I've looked at Sheetsu and a similar spreadsheet as backend and a simple API. I run into the issue where they work fine when you just need to query 1 table, but when you need to use the result from that query in another query to a different table. I'm back in SQL land - where sure it could be done with SQLite - needing to probably create an intersection table or a JOIN and build an API off of that. Is there a way to accomplish what I want without going back to SQL queries and some API?
You're right that there isn't a great way to join tables with Airtable's API. The closest you can get is to use a linked record field, which acts as a pointer to another record. You still end up with the problem you mentioned of having to run another query on the second table separately.
Your best bet is to stick with an actual SQL database. Using an ORM should make your life significantly easier so you don't actually have to write raw SQL. If you still want a graphical interface to your data, BaseDash lets you view and edit SQL databases just like Airtable. A full API with join support is coming soon, so that could be your perfect solution to this problem.
Let me introduce you to integromat. It connects these services without you having to work any code. And it even has a decent database built inside it.
It makes is an easy process to develop multistep workflows with multiple services and it’s free tier is surprisingly functional.