Knack Blog

The Knack team on web applications, online databases, and beautifully designed products.
 

Report Upgrades

04/14/15  Posted by Brandon 

A major goal for 2014 has been an upgrade to our Reports view.

We originally released reports a few years ago and they've been looking dusty for a while now. At the time we were content to use a Google Charts library with some basic functionality.

Since then our wonderful customers have helped us compile a giant list of improvements to make and we've found a great new chart library. The first wave of these upgrades is now ready!

Better Chart Rendering

The new chart library means improved chart rendering that animate into place and have clearer graphics and numbers:

You can hover over the plot points for more information and click on any group in the legend to show or hide that group from the chart.

Larger charts will also auto-resize to better accomodate the available data.

Visual Customization

We've added multiple features for controlling the size and layout of the charts:

  • Dimensions: let the chart auto-size or enter your own width and height.
  • Legend Placement: place the legend at the right or bottom.
  • Orientation: flip the axes of bar charts.
  • Data Points: show or hide
  • Tilt Data Labels: to save more space

New Data Features

Our biggest new features are around the data the reports use:

  • Filters: you can now use filters to limit the records the chart uses, including filter menus and user-defined filters.
  • Exclude Empty Groups: if any of the report data is empty or zero you can choose to exclude it from the report.
  • Allow Print and Export: include links to print the report or export it as a PDF.
Expand Group Records
The best new feature is the ability to click on any of the report groups to view the records that comprise that group in a modal page:

This page will limit any records to the report group, but you can add and customize your own views like any other Knack page!

What's next?

Lots:

  • Better sorting and limits.
  • Better mobile resizing.
  • A new chart type!
  • More customization and advanced report chart features.
Take a look at your reports and let us know how the new upgrades look!

Databases through the eyes of a 10 year old

04/09/15  Posted by Steve 

Video games: the perfect 10-year old treasure trove of data

Meet Mason, he is 10. He is an avid reader of reference books, a video game junkie and a professional database builder. Ok, maybe not a professional...yet.

But his dad is. That's me, Steve. Knack customer success agent and database builder by day, soccer dad and zookeeper by night.

Stats and data have always been an area of deep interest for Mason. Ever since he was able to read and write, he has enjoyed creating his own reference books. Books may be stretching it; more like sheets of scrap paper about video game characters stapled together, but you get the idea.

Being the son of a parent in the tech space, there was never any doubt technology would play a big part in his life. So to channel his inner nerd, I thought it might be fun for him to build his own web app and online database.

Working for Knack, it seemed like this would be a perfect opportunity to introduce my son to the company I work for and, since Knack is perfect for creating reference databases, give him the ideal toolkit to take his own reference "publications" to the next level.

Continue reading...

Building online quizzes with Knack

02/27/15  Posted by Brandon 

With our recent form upgrades it's now possible to create multi-step processes using forms and other views.

With each form you can redirect to a child page that works with the same record. You can continue to create a path to work with the same record using as many forms or other views as you need.

This is perfect for quiz apps where you can ask a single question on one form and then redirect to a child page to show whether the answer was correct or not.

A menu can then link to question 2. You can cycle like this through all of your questions until you eventually hit a "results" page to show a final score.

We built an example quiz to show you how it can work.
https://knackapps.knackhq.com/quiz

We also added a walk-through with some animated GIFs of how we built it:
http://helpdesk.knackhq.com/support/solutions/articles/5000567220-how-to-build-a-quiz-app

Knack now makes it easy to build simple quizzes like this. Throw in all the extra features Knack provides and you can start to build some very complex multi-step processes.

Major Upgrade: Form Rules

02/23/15  Posted by Brandon 

Form rules are hands-down one of our most powerful and flexible features: you can define rules to trigger actions like custom emails and record updates when a form is submitted.

Form rules can really expand your app to include work flow features and sophisticated data management.

We recently decided to do a form overhaul to better organize rules and include new features that have been popular requests with our users.

This upgrade is now live! Here's what's included:

New Organization

We've organized the rules into some new groupings that make more sense:

  • Display Rules: identical to the old "Field Rules". These rules control how the form is displayed: you can show and hide form inputs and change input labels based on other form and record values.
  • Record Rules: rules that add or update records in your database. For example, you can insert a connected record, or update the form's record. These were in the old "Submit Rules".
  • Submit Rules: new! These cover the old form "Options" for what to do when the form is submitted, like show a confirmation message or redirect to another page.
  • Emails: rules for sending custom emails or email alerts. This combines the general alert options and the email options from the old "Submit Rules".

Submit Rules

Major upgrade! Submit rules include 3 major new features:

Redirect to the parent page
After the form is submitted the user will be redirected to a parent page. Perfect if you're adding a child record and want to quickly go back to a parent list showing all those record.

Redirect to a new child page
You can now create a new child page to direct the user to. You can add any views you wish to this page and it will automatically work with the form's record. This means you insert a new record and immediately show other views for that record.

Criteria
You can create different Submit Rules and define criteria for using each rule.

We've also tweaked the confirmation message with rich text and the ability to hide the reload link or automatically reload the form.

These features add quite a few new form possibilities:

  • Multiple Paths: create different paths based on different answers. One choice can lead to one page while another leads to a second page.
  • Multi-page Forms: break up a long form into multiple pages.
  • Confirmation Pages: create child pages to show details and connected views.
  • Quizzes: Show multiple questions on different pages and end with a "results" page.

Emails

We've also added new features for form emails:

You can add multiple emails rules and choose between sending a simple notification or a custom template

Dynamic Recipients
You can add multiple recipients to a custom email and choose the type, including Reply-to:

Template Variables
We've included 3 variables you can add to your templates:

  • Page URL - include the URL for the current page.
  • Parent Page URL - inlude the URL for the parent page, if a parent page exists.
  • Record ID - the ID of the record
These variables are listed in italics below the list of fields.




Note: please review your current form rules and email tasks to ensure everything was migrated correctly, and get in touch if there appears to be any issues.

Recent Updates

02/10/15  Posted by Brandon 

We've been so busy lately with our server upgrades we've let a few recent updates go by unannounced.

This, of course, is unacceptable -- announcing updates is exactly what this blog is for! We're making this right and listing them here all at once.

Maps

Maps now have the option of working with kilometers:

You can also set a map's starting point to be the user's current location:

This uses the user's browser or phone's GPS features to get the closest point to search by.

Note - the user will have to approve revealing their location.

Search

You can now configure your search view to show search results by default:

This means results will dispay before the users submits any search criteria. The results will follow the Data Source to determine which records to show (similar to a table or list).

User Email Templates

You can now customize the emails that are sent to users when they are approved or emailed their account info.

These links are available in the right column when viewing user records in your database:

Click on a link to edit the Approval template or Account Info template. Each user role can have their own custom templates:

 

Number Formats

You can now customize how you want to separate decimals and thousands in your number fields:

 

Email Subject Fields

You can now include dynamic fields in the subjects of custom emails that are sent when forms are submitted. Click the "field" button by the subject line to access:

 

Billing Receipts

You can customize the billing information that displays on your receipts. This is helpful if you need to include VAT numbers are other specific identifiers. Click on the account settings in your dashboard to customize:

Super Speeds and Better Job Processing

01/31/15  Posted by Brandon 

In the past year we've more than tripled the number of Knack customers! This is obviously fantastic but there was a downside: our infrastructure was starting to feel the strain of this increased traffic and activity.

The past few months we've focused on improving this infrastructure and some of the job processing that requires intensive resources.

We launched these upgrades last week and we've been thrilled with the results! We're seeing increased speeds across the board and improved job processing.

We've detailed these updates below.

Infrastructure

We've completely upgraded every aspect of our cloud-based infrastructure:

  • Speed - we've beefed up our servers, streamlined code, and optimized our databases to speed up how quickly your apps and records load.
  • Capacity - we've doubled our capacity by utilizing multiple cores on each cloud server. We've re-wired our job processing so we can now add unlimited capacity with a click of a button.
  • Compression - we're now compressing all data delivery through our API before delivering it. For some pages and views this means up to an 80% smaller data payload.

Job Processing

An online database needs to be able to run big jobs to insert, update, or delete many records at once. In the past we've handled these without communicating much about how the job was going or how fast it was processing.

Along with increased speeds from the infrastructure improvements above, we've added some nice features for processing imports, batch updates, and batch deletes:

  • Real-time Progress: you can now see how fast your job is processing and how much is left to run.
  • Cancel Jobs: you can cancel your job at anytime. Any records processed before the cancel will be saved.
  • Delay Alerts: if our job queue is too busy we'll let you know if there's a delay.

What's next?

Although most of these improvements are behind the scenes these changes set us up to grow well into the future.

It also allows us to get back to focusing on on adding great features and improvements.

Case Study: DNAeX

01/14/15  Posted by Steve 

Running a desert marathon!

In 2016 Scott Longden plans to run in the Marathon Des Sables, a 250km self supported run across the Sahara Desert where you carry everything you need on your back in temperatures approaching 50C/122F.

Not my idea of fun.

For Scott a jog across the Sahara seems like the logical next step -- he's participated in numerous triathlons and marathons and is ready for the next challenge.

At that level you can't simply trust your training or body to know if you are "competition-ready". What is on the surface may not reveal the potential, or lack of potential, for competitive success.

Science has come along way in helping athletes like Scott. DNA science can now measure athlete-to-sport compatibility and tailor programs for specific genetic make-ups.

So how does this relate to Knack?

Continue reading...

Featured Industry: Beer, Wine, & Beverages

01/09/15  Posted by Steve 

Here at Knack we have the unique opportunity to see all of the web apps and online databases that are built for specific industries.

A great example is the beverage industry, where we've seen a particularly strong fit amongst the craft beer and wine sectors.

This attention may or may not be heightened by the near and dear place wine and craft beer holds in our hearts :) Eric makes his own wine, Steve ran a wine blog, and craft beer is always on Brandon's Christmas list.

Why Knack?

Many of the breweries and wineries we've worked with are big enough to have significant I.T. needs, but don't have the technology budgets to pay for bloated software or full-time technology staff.

Many of these individuals not only manage "the books" but they wear several hats like purchasing agent, production supervisor or even brewmaster.

This is why Knack is so appealing: it's quick, easy to use, and perhaps most crucially can immediately provide major benefits. Customized apps can quickly be built to help manage sales, inventory, and distribution without a huge investment in time or money.

Ninkasi Beer Industry Database

This combination of simplicity and customization were exactly what appealed to Jessica Jones of Ninkasi Brewery:

"We needed a platform for group project management and collaboration. Other options were either not customizable enough or too complex to teach all of our staff at varying levels to use."

Trey Bowden of Dogfish Head Brewery was pleased with the ease of use when creating a production management database:

"When I was recently tasked to build an internal database-driven app for "beer product holds & dispositions", I knew Knack was the right tool to get the job done in a timely manner...You can't beat the simple user interface, built-in reporting, and cloud-connected capabilities with it's Zapier interface (as opposed to using something like MS Access).

"We just launched our first app in early 2015 and our production team couldn't be happier!"

Here's a look at some of the apps we're seeing for beer and wine users:

Continue reading...

New Feature: Shared Builders

12/17/14  Posted by Brandon 

We recently released a new feature where you can share your apps with other builders.

This means that you can now collaborate on creating and managing your apps with other builders.

These shared builders won't be able to delete your app or add new apps, and won't have access to your account details like billing. They will be able to fully edit the app you share with them, including adding, editing, and deleting elements from both the database and interface.

You can share your apps by clicking on the "settings" icon for any app in your dashboard:

You then enter the email of the builder you want to share that app with and they'll be emailed a link notifying them of this shared access. If they don't already have a Knack account they'll have one created for them automatically.

You can view any apps that have been shared with you in the Shared Apps link in your dashboard.

Shared builders are available on our new plans which you can view here:
https://knackhq.com/pricing

Case Study: Svelte Brands

12/11/14  Posted by Brandon 

Max Hauer is the founder of Svelte Brands - an operator of multiple E-commerce brands focused on fashion and beauty.

The trick for any modern E-Commerce company is managing product data, and lot's of it.

It's not as simple as maintaining a spreadsheet of your products -- each product can be sold through various channels that may require a different set of data for the same product, including unique item numbers and SKUs.

Max was struggling to find the right platform to manage Svelte's product data:

"We faced an existential challenge. How can we store, manage and update large numbers of products? How can we manage workflows of creating, copywriting, building product data for each product?"

Max turned to Knack to create a custom solution that simplified the entire process.

Continue reading...

New Example App: Donations Manager

12/08/14  Posted by Brandon 

When we launched our AppsGiving campaign we decided to include a new example app specifically for non-profits: a donations manager.

Knack has a heart for non-profits so a targeted example app was long overdue!

We hear from many of our non-profit customers that they struggle to find simple solutions that are focused and easy-to-use amidst the glut of software options out there.

Knack is such a great choice because it meets those exact needs. You can focus the features on exactly what you need your software to accomplish.

We designed the donations manager to be a great foundation for simple and focused donor management.

It comes included with these features:

  • Track donations by assigning each donation to the donor and campaign.
  • Calculates total donations, average donation, as well as minimum and maximum donations for each donor and campaign.
  • Easily search and filter to find your donors and donation data.
  • Run reports to view percentage of donations by campaign, donations per month, and much more.

As with every Knack example app you can install the donor manager straight from your dashboard and customize it to fit your exact needs.

Get in touch if you need any assistance building a fantastic donor management app for your non-profit!

Dynamic PDFs and Documents with WebMerge

12/02/14  Posted by Brandon 

When it comes to using your Knack database to generate formatted PDF, Word, and other documents, WebMerge is a great tool that we often recommend.

Although Knack lets you print any page in your interface to a PDF, sometimes you need more custom formatting or other document types.

WebMerge makes it easy to set up your documents and then use Zapier or our API to populate those documents with records from your Knack database.

The following is a guest post by Webmerge's very own Jeremy Clarke on how to to do some custom integration with Knack and Webmerge.

Continue reading...

AppsGiving

11/20/14  Posted by Brandon 

This holiday season Knack is running our first ever non-profit campaign. We're calling it AppsGiving (yes, really) and you can see all the details here:
https://knackhq.com/appsgiving.

AppsGiving is our modest attempt to give back to the non-profit community.

Non-profits have been a huge supporter of Knack from the beginning. Knack's affordability, ease of use, and powerful features is a great combination for non-profits looking to help run their organization with an online database while managing expenses.

AppsgGiving is giving back in two ways:

  • We're giving away a free Knack account to 10 non-profits in need. We'll also work with that non-profit to help them build and customize their app. Non-profits can sign-up to win a Knack account on our AppsGiving page.
  • We're donating $10 for each sign-up to two great non-profits. Knack was born in Philadelphia and Lancaster, PA, so we chose a non-profit from each: Schreiber Pediatric Center and Cradles to Crayons.
We're pretty excited about AppsGiving and we're asking for your support:
  • Share AppsGiving with any non-profits in your network that may benefit from an online database app. We really want to find non-profits who have a great need and could see a big impact from improving how they run their organization with an online database app.
  • Share AppsGiving with your social network. Here's a convenient link to help you tweet about it. The more non-profits that sign-up for the chance at a free Knack account, the more money we can donate!
We'll be accepting sign-ups through December 19th. We'll keep you posted on the progress and hope to feature chosen non-profits throughout the year.

To our current non-profit customers: thank you for placing your trust in Knack and we wish you a fantastic 2015!

Introducing the new Knack Help Desk

11/11/14  Posted by Brandon 

We recently decided to migrate our help desk to a new provider and it's now ready to use! You can see it at:
http://helpdesk.knackhq.com

Some of the advantages of the new help desk include:

  • Better organization: we can group article groups into sections.
  • Ticket management: if you create an account you'll be able to view and manage your pending tickets.
  • Chat integration: we can now convert chats to tickets and more easily track those.

The only downside with the new help desk is that you'll have to create a separate login in order to submit tickets (we're looking at automatically integrating with your Knack login).

Now that the new help desk is in place we'll be working on lots of more articles, cookbook recipes, code examples and how-to's!

Knack User Forum

The biggest addition to the help desk is a new user forum! The forum is located here:
http://helpdesk.knackhq.com/support/discussions

We're dividing the user forum into 4 main groups (trying to keep it simple):

  • Feature Requests: replacing more the "proposed" list here. We'll then move ideas from the forum to this Trello board that we're "considering" before "in development".
  • How do I...?: if you aren't sure how to do something or if something is possible or not, ask here. Odds are, someone else in the community has already tried or implemented it.
  • Tips & Tricks: discuss design patterns, best practices, and other creative solutions that may not be obvious in the documentation. We're really excited for this one!
  • API & Customization: post code examples, ask questions, and discuss strategies for using the API and customizing your apps.
We feel the time is right is to open up more communication between our users and we hope this becomes a tremendous resource for everyone.

We'd love to see your participation and feedback!

Eating our own Dog Food

11/06/14  Posted by Brandon 

A common phrase for software companies is to eat your own dog food.

The basic idea is that if you expect someone to actually pay for your product then your own team better be able to use that product as well. If you won't eat your own dog food you have no business selling it.

We're big proponents of this and use Knack every day to help with our work productivity:

  • Project Management: we have a project database we us to track custom jobs, where we manage hours with our timer field and calculate budgets and payments.
  • Marketing Reports: we track all our sign-ups along with some internal information on referrals and other marketing metrics.
  • CRM: we track all our customers including plans, sign-up dates, status and more for quick access and reference.
We recently announced multiple job openings and when considering how we would manage the application process it was a no-brainer to use Knack.

We started with our existing Job Listings example app and tweaked that for our precise needs.

This allowed us to embed the app in our public-facing website so we could list our job descriptions and receive applications. We added a little custom CSS so it matched well with the Knack design:

There's also an HR login where we can view the applications, add notes and rankings, and track the application process. After emails and interviews we can update each application with notes and comments that everyone can access.

So far the Knack app has worked great as we've processed through tons of applications and even made a new hire (hi Nic!).

We'll continue to post updates on other Knack apps we're building to help manage our business and how our dog food is tasting.

Case Study: Great Food Group

10/27/14  Posted by Steve 

Patrick Albrecht is a restauranteur in Atlanta, GA. He manages two busy restaurants and banquet venues for Great Food Group: Paul's and Social Vinings.

Of course managing any one business alone is enough for most people, but two? How does Patrick and others like him do it?

"The restaurant industry has always been hesitant to adapt technology, but we've found using tech is essential for creating efficiencies," is how Patrick put it.

Patrick explained that while employing technology leads to efficiencies, deploying multiple solutions can have it's disadvantages.

"We had too many software services. We needed a single solution that could handle all of it."

Continue reading...

Knack is Hiring!

10/02/14  Posted by Brandon 

We're continuing to see tremendous growth here at Knack and we're looking to add to our team to help take Knack to the next level.

You can view our available positions at our new jobs page here.

Although we've defined some specific positions, we're much more interested in fit and culture. We're not looking for hired-guns -- we want team members to join our long-term vision and be invested in building something great!

To help spread the word we're offering a free year of Knack to any referrals you send our way that we end up hiring. We know we'll find the best candidates from our awesome customers who understand what Knack is all about.

Please spread the word to any talented techies you know who want to be a part of a great company building a great product!

New Feature: Copy Pages

10/01/14  Posted by Brandon 

You can now copy any of the start pages in your interface. Click on the page from the left menu, and then click on the "Copy Page" link in the right column:

A new window will pop up where you can give the copied page a name:

Click "Save" and your new page will be copied into your interface. All views and child pages will also be copied with it.

Combined with the ability to re-use pages this can help save time when you start to work with many pages in your interface.

New Feature: Add a Custom Logo

09/26/14  Posted by Brandon 

You can now add your own custom logo to your Knack apps! Combined with custom colors you can now customize your app to match your own look and branding.

Click on the settings icon in the top left, and then the "Custom Logos" tag from the "Layouts & Colors" tab:

Click "Upload Logo" to browse and upload your logo, and then "Save Logo" to submit it. This will add the logo to your app:

When you view you app the logo will now display in the header at the top:

Some notes on using your logo:

  • A transparent .PNG or .GIF file will display best on top of the gradient background.
  • No resizing is done, so make sure you resize the logo before uploading.
  • The logo only shows up on the hosted version of your app at the knackhq.com domain. It won't display on embedded apps.

New Feature: Table Grouping

09/18/14  Posted by Brandon 

We've upgraded our table views to include record grouping. You can now use the values of a column to group common records together.

Here's how that can look for grouping item orders around the vendor that each item is from:

If your table is displaying any summaries, like totals or averages, those will also be displayed for the first level of each group.

You can indicate which column to group with by editing that column in your table:

Any columns that are grouping records will be automatically moved to the front of the table. A small "group" icon will appear on that column to indicate it is grouping:

Table grouping is currently in beta, so please get in touch if anything appears off.

Updates to Date Filters

09/12/14  Posted by Brandon 

We've added a new date filter for "current" date increments:

We've also updated our during the next and during the previous filters. These are now exclusive of the current increment.

So a filter for "during the previous 2 weeks" would not include the current week.

"during the previous 2 weeks" was originally labled as "during the last 2 weeks" which was causing some confusion.

If you were using these filters for rolling increments use days instead. For example, the next rolling year could be the next 365 days.

Make Copies of your Apps

09/11/14  Posted by Brandon 

You can now make copies of your apps directly from your dashboard!

One of our most common requests is to copy apps that have been built, for a variety of reasons:

  • Test out new features without affecting a live app.
  • Create a copy for another user.
  • Copy a "template" app as a starting point to modify for new apps.
This is now possible from your dashboard:
https://builder.knackhq.com

Just click on the "gears" settings icon by any app:

Eventually we'll be adding further settings functionality.

For now that triggers a Copy App window where you can set the new app name, and determine whether you want to copy the app and records, or just the app only:

Your copied app will be immediately available in your list of apps.

Please note:

  • Copied apps still count towards your plan's app limit.
  • Large numbers of records or assets could take a while to copy. You can use the app while that is completing.

Single Sign-On Refresh

09/02/14  Posted by Brandon 

We've recently refreshed the Single Sign-on (SSO) options for Knack logins.

SSO options allow your users to authenticate their login with other services like Facebook and Google:

Google Plus
Due to changes from Google, we've recently had to migrate to the new Google Plus model. You'll have to now set up a Google Plus app and update the credentials in your login views to reflect that:

Note: as long as the user emails have not been changed the same Google Plus account should connect to any user accounts that were created using the previous Google login.

Twitter
We've also added Twitter as an additional SSO option.

The big caveat with Twitter is that the email is not provided for the authenticated user. This means it can't be used to connect to existing accounts and that the email must be added as an additional registration step.

Help
Please click here for more info on setting up SSO options:
http://support.knackhq.com/knowledge_base/topics/logins-and-registrations#sso

Knack Design Refresh

08/04/14  Posted by Eric 

Wow how time does fly. 4 years ago we started developing Knack with a small handful of eager customers so they could start building their own online databases and web apps.

Since that time we've added a ton of new features, redesigned our website, tried countless experiments, and even changed our name.

The one thing that has not received much attention was the design of the Knack builder. It's always taken the back seat to other priorties. It's even using our old color scheme of blue and orange!

That all changed this year as we've been working on a design refresh. The timing was right because of how much we've learned from you - our customers! You've shown us what needed to be better and we wanted to implement those improvements.

We're currently planning on making this new builder design live in the near future. We want to walk through some of the changes and improvements that you can expect to see:

Improved Design

  • An open and larger design, with more room to work.
  • More of that great Knack fuschia color!
  • Less clutter - app settings have been moved a small icon in the far upper left.
More Intuitive
  • Adding scenes now has a wizard to greatly simplify the process. This is a big one and combines many steps that had to be done separately before.
  • "Scenes" are now called "Pages" because pages just made more sense.
  • User Logins can be added straight from the database or interface if needed.
Easier To Use
  • Available options are more obvious and eaiser to access.
  • Editing views will use the full browser instead of just a small window.
  • Fields can be added with drag and drop.
New Features
  • Storage limits can be viewed and managed in your dashboard app list.
  • Search views can show results by default.
  • Lists can optionally hide empty fields from displaying.
Screenshots for the new design after the break:

Continue reading...

New Example App: Custom CRM

07/01/14  Posted by Steve 

We are excited to share our latest addition to the Knack example app library, a Custom CRM app:

https://www.knackhq.com/custom-crm/

Customer Relationship Management has become a staple in sales driven business environments, providing sales reps and managers an all-in-one tool to manage a sales pipeline.

This app provides several key utilities that CRM users have come to expect for tracking customers within the pipeline:

  • Lead Management - Contact info, LinkedIn profiles and ratings
  • Proposal/Bid Management - Budgets, deliverables and deadlines
  • Won Customers - Book revenue, track success and archive for future contact
  • Notes and Tasks - add relevant notes and meetings/tasks to each contact
  • Calendar - share all follow-up meetings, presentations and conferences with the team

Managing the Sales Pipeline

The key to the CRM app is categorizing each customer by their stage in the sales pipeline:

CRM Tasks

This enables sales reps to easily track each customer as they go through the pipeline from lead to proposal to customer. Each stage of the pipeline has the information and actions tailored to that stage so reps know exactly what tasks and updates each customer needs.

Sales Managers gain additional management tools with a pipeline dashboard and the ability to assign tasks to Sales Reps.

Why Now?

We initially thought that the glut of existing CRM options meant we should focus on other apps. But we've consistently seen great CRM apps built with Knack and it's obvious there's still demand for a simple, focused, custom CRM solution.

The timing also works with many recent Knack features that are perfect for a CRM:

  • Robust calendars for managing tasks and meetings
  • Scheduled tasks for sending reminders
  • Form rules for automatically updating customers
The recent integration with Zapier is also perfect. Not only will you be able to collect leads via a Knack form on your website, you can integrate your app with several services, like sending new leads to an email list in MailChimp or adding new customers to Freshbooks or Xero.

Want your own custom CRM app? Get in touch and we'll help set one up tailored to your exact business needs!

Zapier Email Parser

06/01/14  Posted by Steve 

We recently announced integration with Zapier.com which allows you to connect your Knack app with hundreds of other services. We'll be highlighting a few key services and how you can use them with your Knack online database.

One of the more powerful services available is the Zapier Email Parser.

So what's an email parser? Good question - it allows you to identify fields and content from an email and map them to match fields in your Knack app.

In other words, you can convert any email into a new record in Knack.

Why is this useful?

Email parsing opens up a variety of great options to extend your Knack apps:

  • Add records from contact and lead forms by parsing the form submission emails.
  • Track expenses by parsing invoice and receipt emails.
  • Allow users to submit records to your database by sending an email. Great for simple records like tips, comments, suggestions, or even calendar events.
  • Add records with emails from your phone when you're on the road or have limited internet access. Great for tracking receipts, mileage, or expenses.
  • Parse social media emails to record testimonials, comments, or quotes.

Let's take a closer look

If you are like me you often receive random emails that should be captured as a warm lead. The email parser makes it easy to pull the information you value from the email and create a structured record in Knack.

With the email parser you can extract data like the contact name, date, company they work for, email address, phone number and even some body content within the email.

To send this data to your Knack CRM app, you simply forward the email, unchanged, to your parser email address. Zapier matches the parsed fields and inserts a new contact record into your app.

How do you setup the email parser?

Start by creating a new "Zap" in zapier using Zapier Email Parser as the Trigger and Knack as the Action. Once you choose your trigger and action, you will need to setup the parser. Zapier prompts you by directing you to a link:

zapier-parser-trigger

This actually creates an email address you can use to auto-forward email or set as the address for your website form submissions.

You then highlight sections of the sample email you send to zapier and assign those sections to the fields of your choice. Here is a test email I used from our account signup form:

zapier-parser-fields

Where you see firstname, an actual name existed just prior to highlighting. Then it parsed this into a field name that you can now match to your fields in your Knack app.

You can see more "Zaps" like these here.

Connect your Knack database to hundreds of other services with Zapier

05/20/14  Posted by Brandon 

We're pleased to announce that Knack is now integrated with Zapier - a website that makes it easy to connect different internet apps and services together to share data from service to service!

Zapier opens up powerful possibilities to extend and enhance your Knack app with other services like Gmail, WebMerge, MailChimp, Twilio, and many more.

Here are a few examples of how you can integrate Knack with other services on Zapier:

The beauty of Zapier is that since Knack is now available in their app library, you can connect Knack to ANY other service they have available. The possibilities are truly endless!

The following is our page on Zapier that describes in more detail how it works:
https://zapier.com/help/knack/

We'll be outlining a few of our favorite services and "Zaps" in future blog posts. Keep us posted on any you've created so we can share them here!

New Example App: Inventory Manager

04/11/14  Posted by Brandon 

We've released a new example app for managing inventory:

https://www.knackhq.com/inventory-manager/

This app really shows off Knack's equation and formula fields, as well as a conditional field.

Here's how it works:

  • Both incoming purchases and outgoing orders are added to the database. Formula fields are used to sum the totals of all purchases and orders for each product.
  • An equation is used to subtract orders and add purchases from a "starting inventory" to calculate the "current inventory".
  • A conditional field compares the current inventory with a "minimum required' number. If the current inventory dips below that minimum required, "needs reorder" is set to "Yes".
Knack users can add this new app directly from the dashboard.

The Knack Cookbook

03/26/14  Posted by Brandon 

One of the main strengths of Knack is the flexibility. Rather than force you into doing things a certain way, we like to provide different tools you can use to create the app you want.

The downside is that it may not be obvious at first just how all these different tools can best be used.

In order to help we've created a Knack Cookbook, which contains different recipes of using Knack functionality to implement specific features.

Each recipe will explain the scenario and then offer step-by-step guides on how to implement that feature into your online database app.

We're starting small but hope to continually add new recipes as we go. Here are our first recipes:

New Feature: Single Sign Ons

03/20/14  Posted by Brandon 

A common method for logging in is to use another service like Facebook or Google where you already have an account.

This is called Single Sign On, or SSO, and you can now add these options to your Knack logins.

This will allow your users to use these services to register and log in to your apps:

You can add these SSO links by editing a Login View and clicking on the "Options" section:

There are two options you can add:

Google: no configuration needed, the user will simply use any Google account they have.

Facebook: you'll need to create a Facebook App and configure this option with the credentials that Facebook provides:

You set this up directly in Facebook. You'll also need to enter the app URL where the login requests are coming from. Add this by clicking on App, Settings, and then adding a Platform for "Web". You can then enter the URL.

Here's an example of getting the Facebook credentials:

Once added you'll have login links show up to the right of the login form (see above).

Notes:

  • If the user already has an account they should still be able to use the SSO options, but only if the emails are the same. If their Google or Facebook email is different then a new account will be added.
  • If you require users to fill out multiple fields to register for access, new users will be directed to the registration form after logging in with an SSO option.

Knack is Growing!

03/13/14  Posted by Brandon 

Wow, what a start to 2014! We've seen a huge increase in activity lately and we wanted to share a little about this growth and what it means for Knack.

In the last 3 months we've seen a big increase in new customers, as our total customer count has more than doubled in that period!

We're frequently getting more new customers in a day than we did for our entire first month.

We've also doubled our server capacity to keep up with all the new traffic. This includes re-structuring our architecture so it's much easier to continue to add new servers whenever speeds get anything less than super snappy.

The Knack team just got bigger

Best of all, we've made our first hire!

Steve Palmer has joined the team and will be helping with both customer support and diving into some bigger projects.

Steve is from the same Central Pennyslvania area as Eric and has great experience with both operations and the start-up world. When he's not knee-deep in Knack projects Steve is blogging about wine, consulting on social media, and mentoring other entrepreneurs.

We'll be hearing more from Steve soon as he continues to get involved in all of Knack's projects.

We've already told him that Knack customers are the best, so make sure you give him a friendly welcome!

New Feature: Conditional Fields

03/04/14  Posted by Brandon 

We're pleased to announce a major new feature: conditional fields.

You can now add rules to any field that can be used to set the value of that field. Rules can be based on other values from the same record.

Here are some examples of how conditional fields could be used:

  • the value of a Student Rank field is set to "Honor Roll" if the GPA is higher than 3.
  • the value of a Commission Rate field is set to 5% if the Years Experience is higher than 2.
  • the value of a Invoice Status field is set to "Overdue" if the Days Overdue is higher than 0.

To add conditional values to a field, first click on a field in your database to open it in edit mode. A new "gear" icon will display in the top right corner:

Click on that to open up a pop-up for "Advanced Options" where conditional values can be added:

Those rules set a commission rate to custom values based on the years of experience value. A default value is set with the 3 rule (with no criteria).

Once added a "conditional" icon is displayed with the field for easy identification:

Once a field is set to use conditional values it can no longer be added to a form or edited in inline mode. The values will only be set by the rules.

The rules run in order with the first match found. You can add a rule at the end with zero conditions that will set a "default" value in case any of the previous rules aren't matched.

New Feature: Add Connected Records from a Form

01/29/14  Posted by Brandon 

We've added a new feature to add connected records right from a form.

An example helps describe when this is useful. Let's say you have Students and Schools and add new Student records with a form. If you need to connect that Student to a School record that doesn't exist yet, you'd have to leave that form and add the School record first.

You can now add connected records like this directly from the form!

To do so, first click on the form in your Interface to edit it. Then click the edit icon on connection field (in this case, School):

Set the option to "Allow users to add new options".

When you save the form, this will create a new child form for adding that new school:

This child form can be edited and works exactly like a regular form. You can even add form rules.

This will then add a "Plus" icon next to the field where users can add their own connected records:

This will trigger the child form to display in a popup:

That new School record is automatically connected in the form and added to the list of available Schools to connect to.

New Field: Signature Captures

01/21/14  Posted by Brandon 

We have added a brand new field: signature captures!

Now your app can capture your user's signatures with a new Signature field. Signatures should be perfect for user authorization, getting permissions, or signing off on terms of use.

This field is available under the Special tab when adding a new field.

When added to a form, the signature field accepts mouse or touch input to capture a signature:

Two links below the signature make working with the signature easier:

  • reset: clears the entire signature
  • undo: undos the last stroke
When added to other views the signature will display like an image:

Please note that Knack is not claiming that these signature fields convey any legally binding authorization.

Let us know what you think or if you run into any issues with this new signature field.

New Feature: Translations

01/07/14  Posted by Brandon 

Ever since we've launched one of our biggest surprises has been the percentage of users that have come from outside the US. It's been way higher than what we expected!

It's been a blast to interact with customers all over the world and look down the list of countries where Knack apps are being used.

Of course, this also means a lot of requests for translations.

Even though you can use your own language for all the field and scene names, there are still plenty of words and phrases built in to the app that are stuck in English.

We've slowly been working on a translation system and today we're launching an official setting that you can change per app. You can access this in your application settings:

We're starting with a small list of languages that a few of our awesome Knack customers have helped us with:

  • Danish
  • German
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish

Update (April 2013): we've since added French, Italian, and Swedish!

These translations are definitely a work in progress. If you spot any English phrases that haven't been translated, or see any translation that you think should be improved please get in touch.

Other Translations

We're working on other languages but we don't have any set ETA.

If you want to help expedite your language translations, we've created a form that can be created to help provide translations:
http://knackhq.knackhq.com/translations

Happy New Year!!

01/02/14  Posted by Brandon 

Wow, what a year!

2013 saw Knack grow from a tiny launch to a fully matured product powering thousands of apps.

We added some major features last year, from new views like maps and calendars, new fields like equations, and advanced features like our API, scheduled tasks, and SEO indexing.

We have big plans for 2014 as well, like single sign-ons, translations, E-Commerce and more.

But most of all, we want to continue to serve you -- our Knack customers.

It's been such an honor to help so many of you build great apps that help you run your businesses and organizations.

We're looking forward to doing more of the same for 2014!

-Brandon & Eric & the Knack team

New Feature: Searchable Maps

12/19/13  Posted by Brandon 

We're pleased to present a brand new view for the Knack interface: searchable maps!

This view is currently available for Knack users on the Pro plan or above, and is limited to North American addresses (international coming soon).

The map view works with Google Maps and is a great solution for store locators, dealer locators, contact searches, and more.

Map views can now be added for any object containing and address field, and include the following features:

  • Search by zip-code or city
  • Automatic directions link
  • Custom pin colors
  • Distance calculations
  • Optional starting point
  • Custom sizing for map and record list
Please let us know if you implement the map view or build your own searchable map locator or directory -- we'd love to see it in action.

The Map view is in beta. As always, please get in touch with any suggestions or issues.

Demo

You can see an example online store locator listing all Dunkin Donuts locations:
https://www.knackhq.com/store-locator-online-database/

Drive-through locations are color-coded green.

Knack and User Logins

12/17/13  Posted by Brandon 

One of Knack's most popular features is user logins. You can require your users to log in in order to access your app. Different user roles can be created to define permissions and security.

The best part is you can connect views to the logged-in user, so each user can only see the records they are connected with.

The following are good examples of apps where logged-in users work with connected records:

Job Portal App

Today we added a new example app that further highlights user logins and working with connected records: a Job Portal app.

This app works with two main user roles: employers and applicants. Each role can log in and manage their own records.

The employers can manage jobs they have available. The applicants can manage their employee profile and apply for available jobs. Each record added by a user is available for the other users to view.

We think think this is a great example of Knack user features. It works with multiple user roles and the entire database is populated directly by the users.

This app structure can be used for any scenario where you want two groups of users to interact with each other, like realtors and house-hunters, artist and collectors, or students and internships.

New User Tutorial

To make it easier to work with these features we've added a new tutorial:
Showing Records Connected to the Logged-in User

This tutorial exhaustively covers the different scenarios where you can connect your views to a logged-in user:
Add views for the user to manage their own record
Add views for records connected to the logged-in user
Assign the logged-in user to a form submission
Add rules to filter records by the logged-in user

New Feature - Map Details

12/11/13  Posted by Brandon 

We've added the ability to add Google maps to your detail views.

Note: this feature is available to our Pro customers and above who have geo-coding enabled.

Just edit any address field in your view and you'll have options for showing the map and configuring the map size:

This will then show a Google map and link the address to the directions feature in the map:

If you are currently a Pro subscriber or above and want to add map details, please get in touch to request geo-location for your addresses.

Next up: a searchable map list!

New Feature: Add Custom Multiple Choice Options

11/26/13  Posted by Brandon 

We've added a nice feature for multiple choice fields so users can add their own custom option on the fly.

You can set this option for any multiple choice field in your forms. Just click on the field to edit and check the option to "Allow users to add new options":

This will then add a "Plus" icon next to the field where users can add their own options:

These options will be added to the field's format, so they will be listed as an available option for any future forms.

Custom Designs with Knack

11/22/13  Posted by Brandon 

One of the major features we like to show off with Knack is the flexibility you have to use CSS and jQuery to completely customize the design of your online database app.

Developers can use jQuery to respond to application events, like when a scene loads or when a form is submitted. Designers can use CSS to update colors, fonts, icons, and virtually every aspect of the app's design.

We've seen some great use cases of Knack customers modifying their online databases --from minor design tweaks to complete overhauls-- and we wanted to show a few examples:

South Padre Island

The official government site of South Padre Island needed a custom calendar solution that would allow them to receive event submissions from multiple sources, and display those events in a variety of different ways, all in a format that could easily be customized for multiple websites.

Here's how their calendar looks on their main site, with custom icons, button styles, and colors, all easily added with CSS:

Visit: http://www.myspi.org/calendar/

TriStar Plastics

TriStar Plastics uses Knack for a searchable online database for their thousands of engineering materials they work with. These materials needed very precise search options that could be combined and navigated easily.

CSS and jQuery was used to create and position dynamic filters for searching and tabs for more easily viewing the results:

New Feature: Calendar List

11/21/13  Posted by Brandon 

We've added a new option for our Calendar View to display your events in a list instead of a graphical calendar.

You can active the list option when editing a calendar view:

This will then display your events in a simple compact list:

The list option retains all the additional features of the calendar view, like custom colors, navigating through months and weeks, and having repeating entries.

New Feature: Custom Colors

11/12/13  Posted by Brandon 

Now you can customize your online database apps with your own colors!

We added a section in the App Settings where you can add colors for the header, tabs and buttons, and link colors.

Here's an example we used to create a "Knack" theme:

This updates the app to look like this:

We'll be adding the ability to upload your own logo next.

Please share your app with us if you add a great color scheme, we'd love to see it in action!

Some notes:

  • Any colors will be applied to both the hosted and published versions of your app.
  • Let us know if any colors look terrible and we'll take a look. It's tough to test all the combinations!

New Feature: Update Scene URLs

11/08/13  Posted by Brandon 

We've added the ability to modify the URL used by each scene when viewing your Knack app.

Knack builds a URL for each scene by including a special part for each scene, as well as some record identifiers when necessary.

The problem was that if you changed the name of the scene or object you could have a URL that seemed completely off.

You can now change the URL part that each scene uses by clicking "Rename Scene" in the right menu:

This will update the part of the URL for this scene. Any links from other menus and views will be automatically updated to use this new URL.

Notes:

  • You'll need to update any links manually that you've typed in or entered outside the app.
  • Scene URLS need to be all lower case and can only contain alpha-numeric characters.

New Feature: SEO Indexing for your Online Database

11/07/13  Posted by Brandon 

We're excited to announce new search engine indexing features for your Knack database app!

When you add your Knack app to your own website Google has a hard time finding and indexing the records from your database. This is because even though they are displaying on your site the records are stored on Knack servers.

Our new Knack SEO features allow Google to find and index that content.

We've added these SEO features to our business directory example app here:
https://www.knackhq.com/business-directory-user-demo/

If you search for keywords listed with some of those business details, you'll find links to those scenes in the Google results.

For example, here's a search for "craft beer":
https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aknackhq.com%20craft%20beer

This search will show this scene in the results:
https://www.knackhq.com/business-directory-user-demo/#home/view-business-details/501d871ade8cf3201400002e/

You can find out more about Knack SEO features and implementation here:
http://knackhq.com/seo

SEO features are currently included with Corporate plans and above.

October Online Database Examples

11/04/13  Posted by Brandon 

It's the end of another month so let's list some more examples of the online database apps that have been built with Knack:

  • Bonus Calculator: a manufacturer uses Knack to calculate the weekly bonus allocated to each employee.
  • Studio Manager: a photographer uses Knack for a complete studio management solution for managing clients, jobs, invoices, expenses, and more.
  • Equipment Tracker: a digital media studio uses Knack to track assets for IT hardware and software assigned to employees.
  • Cargo Manager: a shipping agency uses Knack to manage and monitor port access and restrictions and cargo inventories.
  • Project Management: a PR firm uses Knack to manage clients and project deliverables through 3rd party freelancers.
There's some great apps in that list and we're always thrilled to see the incredible variety of online databases being built with Knack!

New Field: Phone Numbers

10/29/13  Posted by Brandon 

We recently added a new field for formatting phone numbers.

You can select a format that will mask the user input to ensure they are entering numbers correctly:

These phone numbers will also display as links. When clicked in smartphones they will automatically trigger the phones call function:

When editing a phone field you can also indicate if you want to allow extensions.

We added some common formats for both US and international numbers. Let us know if there are specific formats that will work better for you.

WARNING:
Please back up any phone number records before converting from a short text to the new phone type. Because phone format are strictly enforced, some data loss may occur in a transfer.

New Feature: Scheduled Tasks

10/22/13  Posted by Brandon 

We're pleased to announce a major new feature we've been working on for a while: scheduled tasks. Tasks can be scheduled to run for each object in your database.

This feature is available now with the Pro plan and above.

You'll now see a "Tasks" link with each of the Objects in your Database:

You can add a task by giving it a name and schedule:

You can then add rules to define what actions the task will take, and which records the task will include. This follows the same setup we implemented for form rules:

The following are some examples of how we are seeing tasks used:

  • Checking Expiration Dates: combined with date equations you can easily check if a "Days Active" has exceeded an expiration duration, and set a status accordingly.
  • Send Email Notifications: check a new status field for "pending notificaiton" to send emails. After the email is sent update the status so it's not sent again.
  • Scheduled Maintenance: add scheduled tasks or events for the upcoming week every week.

Please note that this is a major new feature and in beta.

This means that we need you to get in touch with us immediately if you see anything that doesn't look like it is working as expected.

We also started with a somewhat limited feature set. So please get in touch if you are unable to run the task that you envision so we can consider your task for future upgrades.

New Example Apps

10/16/13  Posted by Brandon 

We recently added 3 new apps to our example library! To help you explore these example apps we've also made it easy to add them directly to your account.

Project Management
The Project Management app can be used to manage projects, tasks, hours, and milestones.

We wanted to show a good example of a more complex app you can build with Knack. This app has a bunch of moving parts and takes advantage of a lot of Knack features:

  • Each project can track multiple connected records for milestones, tasks, hours, costs, and more.
  • Total expenses for a project are calculated by adding total costs and hours multiplied by the project hourly rate.
  • Employees can log in and add hours for any tasks that have been assigned to them.
more on the project management example app

Multi-Step Application
This an app that works well when you need multi-step applications or registrations. New users can register and then fill out an application across multiple tabs. Some tabs handle connected records, like employment history, where multiple employment records can be added.

Their registration is automatically saved and they can work on it over time. The last tab is used to complete the application and submit for review. This sets a "Status" field which makes it available for admins to review.

Perfect for:

  • Complex job applications
  • Camp or Conference registrations
  • Grant, contest, and school applications
more on the multi-step application example app

Events Calendar
We wanted an application to show off the calendar view, so we added this events calendar. It's relatively simple but does have a nice feature of allowing the community to submit events. Admins can review these and approve to display in the calendar.

More on the events calendar example app

Add example apps to your account

You can now add any of the example apps directly to your account. Just go to your dashboard and click the "Add App" button below your list of apps. Then select the "Pick a Template" option:

Knack and Workflow

10/08/13  Posted by Brandon 

Knack can be used to build some very complex apps. One element of a complex app that will often come up for discussion is workflow.

What do we mean by workflow? A workflow is a series of steps that are followed in order to complete a task. Typical workflows consist of a user completing some work and then alerting the next user in the flow to do further work, until the task is completed.

Rather than a rigid workflow design tool, Knack offers flexible features that can be used to create multiple types of work flow:

  • Filter Records: each view can filter records based on any criteria you define. This is great for workflow where you can create "status" fields to track the stage of a process. For example, you can filter a table of projects by "proposal", "active", "pending approval", and "complete". This way you can just show "active" projects when managing a work schedule.
  • User Roles: user roles are used to define different permissions and access to your data. So "Project Managers" can see an entire project and assign tasks to "Staff", while Staff can log in and just view the tasks that have been assigned to them.
  • Form Rules: you can use form rules to trigger actions to update records, insert records, and more when a form is submitted. So when Staff fills out a form to complete a task, a form rule can then set the "Status" of that task to "complete".
  • Email Notifications: another form rule option is to send emails. So when the task is complete an email could be sent to the Project Manager notifying them of the update.
  • Scheduled Tasks: tasks can be scheduled to update records or send emails based on criteria you define. So if a project due date is past the current date, an email could be sent to the Project Manager.
What kind of workflow have you built in to your app? We'd love to hear about it!

September Online Database Examples

09/30/13  Posted by Brandon 

We're back with our monthly update on some of the great apps and databases built by Knack customers.

Since we skipped a few months we'll be adding more than normal. As always, these are examples of the apps and online databases that have been build with Knack:

  • Student Management: a martial arts center uses Knack to manage student registrations and belt tests.
  • School Directory: the American Association of Colleges of Nursing is using Knack for a directory of nursing college.
  • Dealer Locator: a propane dealer uses Knack to track their dealers and search by zipcode.
  • Transportation Management: a transportation logistics company uses Knack for a complete online transportation management portal, including shipments, drivers, and dispatches.
  • Disupte Resolution App: a legal firm uses Knack to manage disupte resolutions, including claimant and defendant logins, case reviews, and easy searching.
  • Moving Management: a moving company uses Knack for a complete moving management solution, including projects, orders, accounts, and jobs.
  • Product Information Management (PIM): an Ecommerce company uses Knack for a central database to manage all product data.

There's some great apps in that list and we're always thrilled to see the incredible variety of online databases being built with Knack!

New Feature: Two Column Forms

09/24/13  Posted by Brandon 

You've been asking for it, so we delivered. You can now add two-column layouts to you forms to add your inputs to.

Inputs are added to groups, and each group has an option to control the number of columns:

You can add multiple groups and use different columns for each to control layout and alignment.

You can drag your inputs from group to group and column to column to update the layout. You can also click and drag the icon above a group to change the order of your groups.

New Feature: Custom Calendar Event Colors

09/18/13  Posted by Brandon 

We've added the ability to add custom colors to your calendar events:

You can now set the default background color and add multiple rules to apply different background colors to your records.

This feature is in beta so please get in touch if run into any issues.

Custom Javascript & CSS

09/05/13  Posted by Brandon 

We're pleased to announce an exciting new feature: the ability to add custom Javascript and CSS code directly to your apps!

One of the strongest features about Knack is that designers and developers can easily use jQuery and CSS to customize each app.

Until now, this was only possible by first publishing your Knack app to your own website and adding the code there. Any code you applied wouldn't be available on the hosted Knack apps at knackhq.com. So if you weren't interested in publishing your app to your own site you were out of luck.

We've now added the ability to add this code directly into your app, so it can be applied to both hosted and published apps. We've combined it with the API tab under Settings:

There are separate editors for both JavaScript and CSS. Each editor is color-coded and will follow common syntax highlighting for those languages.

Some notes about this custom code:

  • Any code added will be called after all Knack code and styles have been loaded.
  • You don't need to wrap the JavasScript code in window.KnackInit().
  • JavaScript code has access to the Knack $ jQuery object.
  • The code is called for every load regardless of which scene is first viewed.
  • You can still add code and CSS to your site if you want to limit customization just to your published apps.

Please note that although we're providing these tools we can't debug or add code for you. If you'd like us to provide these services please consider filling out a request here:
https://www.knackhq.com/custom-development/

New Help Desk

08/12/13  Posted by Brandon 

We're pleased to announce the launch of our new help desk:
http://support.knackhq.com

Our support desk has been lagging for some time and was long overdue for an upgrade.

Why did we wait so long?

  • The Knack product was evolving so quickly that maintaining support was cumbersome. With the product now becoming quite stable we felt it was a good time to tackle support.
  • We do a lot of personal support with chat and email and knew the support experience wasn't being compromised.
  • We were too busy adding new features!

So why now?

  • We wanted to improve the support experience for those users that weren't interested in personal support. We take a lot of pride in our email and chat support, but realize many users still just want to review quality support materials on their own pace.
  • With our website redesign it became even more obvious that our help desk was the glaringly behind in the quality department.
  • We recently completed some major projects and had the resources to commit to it.

So what's new?

It was a complete overhaul so there are a lot of new touches:

New Design:
The new help desk has a clean simple design that stays out of your way. All the tutorials are grouped into major sections and divided into shorter articles.


Help Widget:
The builder has a new help widget that is tied into the help desk:

You can browse all the content right from the builder. There's also buttons for starting a chat or submitting a help request.

Support Tickets:
All requests through the widget, the website, or email now go to a centralized ticket system. This will ensure that nothing gets lost and your requests get handled in a timely and thorough manner.

New Content:
We've written dozens of new articles and covered every aspect of the builder. Every section has been reviewed. Each article will link to other relevant articles when referenced.

We're excited that this new support system will help Knack be even easier to use and help us support you even better.

Please let us know how we can continue to improve the support experience.

Feature Upgrade: Date Equations

07/26/13  Posted by Brandon 

We've upgraded our Equation field type to include date calculations.

Date calculations will allow you to create dynamic equations combining date fields, the current time, and your own time values.

Some common examples of date equations are:

  • Calculating age by subtracting birth date from the current time
  • Calculating expiration dates by adding days to a start date
  • Calculating time spent by subtracting a start date from an end date

How does it work? When you add or edit an Equation field you can determine if it's a numerical or date type:

Selecting Date will display any eligible date fields you can add to your equation. There's also a special Current Time field you can use to represent the current time when the calculation is run.

You can control the Date Type. This will convert any numbers used in the equation into the selected date type. In the example below the 30 will add 30 days to the start date since days is selected as the type.

Date Equations are in beta so please let us know if you run into any issues.

New Feature: Repeating Calendar Entries

07/22/13  Posted by Brandon 

We've upgraded our Calendars to now allow repeating calendar entries.

You can format any Date-Time field to use Calendar Options:

This will add two options to your Date Inputs:

  • All Day
  • Repeat
All Day will remove any time inputs and display the event as an all-day event in the calendar.

Repeating will allow you set various repeating options:

These events will then display as separate repeating entries on a Calendar.

When editing or deleting a repeating event you'll have the option of updating the entire series of events or just the event you're working with.

Repeating calendar events are currently in beta. If you run into any issues, please let us know so we can investigate.

Feature Upgrade: Filtering by Logged-in User

07/15/13  Posted by Brandon 

We added the ability to filter records by the logged-in user to your Knack views.

This is useful in a scenarios where you want to display child records that are connected to a parent object and to the logged-in user:

  • Show tasks for a specific job that are assigned to the user.
  • Show comments about a specific project the user added so they can edit them.
You can add a rule to the Data Source by setting a connection field to the logged-in user:

Combined with the form rule to assign a logged-in user to a record, you can now easily add user functionality to any child object in your database.

If you just need records directly connected to the logged-in user you can click "Add View" to any Entry Scene for all your options.

Feature Upgrade: Reusing Scenes

07/11/13  Posted by Brandon 

Today we released a feature that was commonly requested: the ability to reuse scenes.

For complex applications you may be listing the same records in a variety of ways in many different places.

When a user clicks on one of those records, you can create scenes to view more details about that specific record, edit it with a form, or even show connected records.

Sometimes these scenes can get quite complex, so re-creating them each time you list those records can be cumbersome and inefficient.

We've added the ability to link to another scene so you can now reuse these scenes. These links are available in the Links and Special sections of most views:

Currently there are a few limitations:

  • Only scenes that are directly connected to an Entry (top level) scene are eligible. We're working on selecting any scene.
  • Only scenes displaying the same object as the view are eligible. We're working on adding scenes displaying connected objects.
We're excited about this new feature. Please let us know if you run into any issues or have any suggestions on how we can improve it.

How To Videos

07/09/13  Posted by Brandon 

We've released two new videos in a series where we are walking through how we built some of our example apps. First up: our Member Directory and Purchase Order apps.

Purchase Orders

view app



Member Directory

view app

Let us know which apps you want to see videos for next.

Welcome GoDaddy Easy Database Users

07/01/13  Posted by Brandon 

GoDaddy recently closed down their oneline database product called Easy Database. We've since recieved a bunch of visitors from Easy Database users looking for easy to use alternative online database.

Welcome to Knack!

Knack is a great fit for GoDaddy websites and Easy Database users:

  • Knack apps can be published right to your GoDaddy websites and look great.
  • Knack databases are super easy to set up and use.
  • Our support is world class.
  • You won't find a better combination of price, features, and usability.

We hope you give Knack a try! And welcome to all of our new customers that have come from GoDaddy Easy Database.

June Online Database Examples

06/28/13  Posted by Brandon 

Another huge month for Knack with great apps built by Knack customers! Here are some examples of the apps and online databases they've been building.

  • Volunteer Management: a non-profit uses Knack to manage volunteer efforts for fund-raising, tracking assignements and tasks.
  • Faculty Tracking: a college uses Knack to track faculty contact info, workshop and event participation, and consultation scheduling.
  • Corporate Planning: a brewer uses Knack to manage strategic planning by assinging members to planning groups and assigning tasks and events.
  • Camp Management: a summer camp uses Knack for child registration, parent contact info, payments, donations, and more.
  • Product Catalog: a wholesaler uses Knack to enable customers to log in and view a private catalog. Different customers can see different prices based on their classification.

As always we're thrilled to see the huge variety of amazing online databases and apps being built by Knack customers.

Knack for Designers

06/22/13  Posted by Brandon 

When we first launched Knack we weren't exactly sure who our target audience would be. Knack is a flexible product that can be used by anyone to manage all sorts of online databases.

We had some guesses, but we deliberately kept our marketing neutral. We wanted to throw Knack out there and see what happened!

One use case we've enjoyed seeing develop is web designers and front-end coders who use Knack to integrate online databases with client websites and their own applications.

In many cases it's a perfect fit, as designers are able to take advantage of many core Knack functions:

  • Knack apps can be embedded seamlessly right into a website, so designers can add online databases directly to their client websites.
  • Knack apps can be customized with CSS, so designers can control the look and feel of the app. We hear designers love this.
  • Knack apps can be customized with jQuery, so designers can add features and do even more customization of the UI if needed.
  • Designers can set up a special client user roles, so clients can view and update database records without affecting the look and feel of the app.
  • Designers can use the API if they ever need to add special functionality.
The bottom line is Knack enables designers to build online databases and web apps for their clients and still focus on what they do best: the look and the feel.

We've created a special page for designers at:
http://knackhq.com/designers

Know any web designers? Send them to the link above, we'd love to know what they think about Knack!

New Feature: Table Summaries

06/11/13  Posted by Brandon 

This feature has been in beta for a while but we never announced it.

You can now add summaries to a table to run formulas like sum and averages on all the rows in the column:

To add a summary simply edit any table and click on the Options section. You'll see options to add summaries at the bottom:

Any label you add will be placed in a left column if available. You can add multiple summaries to a table.

New Feature: User-based Global Tabs

06/06/13  Posted by Brandon 

We added an additional option to our Global Tab Menu. You can now set it so that the tabs will show based on User Roles:

This means that when a user logs in they will only see tabs for scenes that share a user role they are assigned to. They will also see tabs for any scenes that are not protected with a login.

This should allow for more flexible apps where you can design for the user without worrying about hiding or showing the right scenes.

This feature is currently in beta, so please let us know if you run into any issues.

May Online Database Examples

05/29/13  Posted by Brandon 

April and May have been record-breaking months with new customer sign-ups! We want to welcome aboard all our new Knack customers. Here are some examples of the apps and online databases they've been building.

  • Patient Database: a biotech company uses Knack to track treatments and results for patients.
  • Project Dashboard: a software developer uses Knack to track project budgets and predict cash balances.
  • Legislation Database: an educational institute is using Knack to enable legislative data to be easily searched and categorized.
  • Enterprise Resource Planning: a jewelery E-commerce company uses Knack to manage all customer shipments and manufacturer orders.
  • Alumni Database: a sorority uses Knack to manage alumni information and chapter officers.
As always we're thrilled to see the huge variety of amazing apps that Knack customers are building every day.

Support Videos

05/28/13  Posted by Brandon 

Now that we've completed our new web design, we're going to be spending more time on support videos.

For each of our example apps we'll be adding a video on how we built it. We'll also be completing our video tour of building an app from start to finish.

First up, a new video for our video tour on connections:

Customer Success Stories

05/23/13  Posted by Brandon 

In case you haven't noticed we launched our new web design last week!

One of our main goals with the new design was to integrate more of our passionate Knack customers. We included some testimonials on our homepage. We also have plans for featured case-studies coming soon.

We're most excited about our customer success stories. These are short question and answers from Knack customers about what drew them to Knack and how they're using Knack to build online databases and web apps that solve real problems.

Because Knack can be used for so many different use cases we really like showcasing actual apps our customers are building. We'll have lots more coming soon.

We want to include you!

To be in an upcoming success story or case study please fill out our customer success form here.

We also want to showcase more tweets, so follow us on twitter and mention @knackhq in a tweet so we can include it on the site.

New Feature: Scene Printing

05/10/13  Posted by Brandon 

You can now print any of your Knack scenes!

You can add a "print" link to the top of your scene that will automatically send the scene to your browser's print preview.

We remove everything except the views so the printed version is nice and clean. We also remove links and submit buttons where it makes sense.

To activate the print link, edit a scene in your interface and click on "Scene Options" in the right column.

PDFs are next. We're still looking for decent options for that.

Featured Knack Apps: April

04/29/13  Posted by Brandon 

This is the latest entry in a series describing different online databases and web apps being built by Knack users:

  • Plant Database: a forestry network uses Knack for an online database of plants and ecological data in their network.
  • Homeless Information System: A non-profit used Knack for an online system to manage data about local homeless populations
  • Feature Request Management: a software developer uses Knack to solicit and manage feature requests for their software. Developers can convert suggstions into active development.
  • Bike Fitting: a bike shop used Knack to create a bike fit app where customers can come in for measurements and store their all their data online.
  • Realtor Network: a real estate agent used Knack to create a network for agents to list buyers and sellers and search for matches.
As always we're thrilled to see the variety of custom web apps and online databases bult with Knack every day.

Example App: Purchase Orders

04/24/13  Posted by Brandon 

We're starting to add more compex apps to our example catalog that show off some of Knack's advanced features.

First up is a purchase order app. Staff can log in and manage vendors and products and submit purchase orders. Reports can be run on weekly totals and vendor and item totals.

Some features the purchase order app is using:

  • Equations: Item totals are automatically calculated from the quantity and item price
  • Formulas: Totals are summed for each product and vendor.
  • Form Rules: The logged in user is assigned via a form rule as the author of the purchase order
  • Reports: Reports are run for weekly totals and vendor and item totals.
We're planning on starting on some project management and CRM apps next.

New Feature: Using Remote Images

04/22/13  Posted by Brandon 

Knack image fields now have the ability to use images hosted on other websites. You can set this option when editing an image field in your database:

This means you can now easily use images hosted on your own site, CDN or asset library with your Knack app. It also means these images can be imported by including the URL in the CSV.

We also included the ability to add thumbnail versions. It still needs to load the full image but you have the option of using different sized thumbnails of your images throughout you app.

Example App: Equipment Tracker

04/11/13  Posted by Brandon 

Our latest example app is an Equipment Tracker. This is an online database of available equipment that employees can log in and view. They can then "check out" an item, which sets that item as unavaliable for anyone else to checkout.

We used "Equipment" but this app would also work well for libraries, rentals, and any resource tracking where items need to be removed from availability.

This is a good example of using form rules to add connected records. In this case, whenever an item is borrowed or returned, it adds a log of the transaction to the item's history.

This enables Admins to view a complete checkout history of each item, tracking when it was checked out and returned:

This is type of logging could be used for a variety of scenarioes including versions, history, change logs, and more.

It's also a good example of establishing "work flow" in Knack, where you can use a form rule to set a "status" field and then filter your views to only show records with certain status values.

In this case, we're only showing equipment items where "status" equals "available". Checking out an item uses a form rule to set the status to "unavailable".

You could use form rules to set a status from new to pending to approved and have different user roles see the records for each status.

Filtering and Limiting Connections

04/02/13  Posted by Brandon 

We recently added features to filter and limit the records that show in connection inputs.

Filters
You can now add filters to any connection input to filter which records will display.

For example, let's say you have a form to add a new Rental. Each Rental is assigned to a Product, which has an "available" field. You can now add a filter to only show those Products where "available = true".

Showing records connected to another form input
Multiple connection inputs can be added to a form so that the records of a child connection input will display depending on which parent connection record is selected.

For example, if you have connections to both companies and employees, you can edit employees so that only records connected to the currently selected company will display. When the user selects a different company the employee records will automatically update.

Limiting child records connected to the same parent
You can also limit connection records that have a parent that has been selected in the app or connected to the logged-in user.

For example, let's say you select a Company from a table and then have a form to add a Project to that Company. Projects can also be assigned to an Employee. When selecting Employees, you'll only want to show the Employee records that are connected to the selected Company.

You can now edit that Employee input in the form and have

Please note: these features are in beta

Please note that these features are in beta. Please contact us immediately if you notice any issues with these features.

Featured Web Apps: March

03/25/13  Posted by Brandon 

This is the latest entry in a series describing different online databases and web apps being built by Knack users:

  • Materials Database: A Plastics Engineering company uses Knack for an online database of materials so users can search and download engineerings specs.
  • Price List: A Commodoties Buyer uses Knack to list precious metal prices for their customers using daily changes and equations for different measurements.
  • Recruiting Database: a College uses Knack to manage the recruiting process for football student athletes.
  • Job Placement App: a University Administrator uses Knack to manage a Job Board for students and employers.
  • Advertisement Tracker: a Media Company uses Knack to manage available advertising locations and the customers and revenue generated for each.
We're still amazed by the variety of custom web apps and online databases we continue to see. This only gets more interesting as we continue to add great features. Can't wait to see what's next!

Announcing the Knack API

03/06/13  Posted by Brandon 

We're thrilled to announce the release of the Knack API!

The API was designed to provide access to your Knack online database, as well as tools and documentation for extending your Knack apps:

  • Root Data Access: a secure API is provided for full access to your raw data. You can use this for integrating your data with other services and APIs, running maintenance tasks, inserting and updating records...the opportunities are endless.
  • Scene Access: a scene API is provided for working with your app's Scenes and Views. This is much more limited and follows any rules defined by your application, like logins and user roles. This API can be used with JavaScript to respond to app events and further extend the functionality.
  • JavaScript Events: you can add JavaScript listeners to respond to specific events triggered by your app. For example, when a view renders you may want to insert your own button or set the color of a specific element. Or when a form is submitted, you may want to insert that record into Salesforce.
  • CSS Customization: when you publish a Knack app to your own website you can use your site's CSS to modify the visual look and design of the app.
We're really excited to see how it's used:
  • Front-end coders can use Knack to easily build a custom online database, set up a basic interface, and completely control and customize the app with jQuery and CSS.
  • Mobile developers can create apps where the data is stored in the Knack online database. You can create Knack apps that can enable admins to update or view the data the mobile app is using.
  • Designers can publish Knack apps directly in their client websites and completely control the look and feel to match their designs.

You can access documentation for the API here:
http://support.knackhq.com/knowledge_base/topics/working-with-the-api

Please try it out and let us know what amazing creations you come up with!

Example App: Employee Hours

03/01/13  Posted by Brandon 

We released a new example web app: an employee hours app. It's using a new timer field we've been developing.

Employees can log in from any device or computer and add their hours for the day. They can also view their past hours.

It could be extended to track any additional info you may want to record. One example is a hospital volunteer app where volunteers track both time and the number of patients visited.

Supervisors can manage employees and run reports on hourly totals as both pivot tables and line charts.

This is another great example of combining User Roles with an online database to make a really funtional app. Knack makes working with user roles really simple.

Please get in touch if you'd like to add this employee hours database app to your account.

Featured Web Apps: February

02/18/13  Posted by Brandon 

This is the latest entry in a series describing different web apps and online databases that Knack users are building:

  • Project Management: Photobox, the leading European online photo service, uses Knack to manages special projects across multiple teams.
  • Cashflow Management: a bag manufacturer is using Knack to manage orders, deliveries, and cash-flow reports. Special access is given to accountants for key reports.
  • Homeowners Portal: an HOA uses Knack for a neighborhood directory and for tracking HOA issues.
  • Freight Management: a trucking company uses Knack for a full service freight management solution, including invoices and accounting, trips and logs, and fleet management.
  • Production Whiteboard: an online marketing firm uses Knack to manage production roles and deadlines.

We're really excited about each of these custom web apps and online databases. We can't wait to see what will be built with Knack next!

New Feature: Tracking Record Changes

02/13/13  Posted by Brandon 

For Knack users with a Pro plan or above, we've added some features for managing records in your online database. There's now a small edit icon with each record:

You can click on that icon to edit the entire record at once:

You can click on the History tab to review changes for that record:

This will provide the version of the record every time it was changed, highlighting any changes from the previous record with a color.

It also notes the time of the change, whether it was updated in the builder or the app, and who changed it (if applicable).

Create Custom Mobile Workforce Apps

02/05/13  Posted by Brandon 

We recently added a new example app called job tasks.

It's a fairly simple app, but it presents a framework for easily building distributed and mobile workforce apps with Knack.

The idea is you have a workforce that is either distributed across multiple regions or just doing most of their work on mobile devices away from the office.

Companies that do work activites off site often are using incredibly cumbersome paper systems to transfer information from the job to the company. We're seeing the following as just a few examples for migrating to mobile apps:

  • installations
  • repairs
  • appraisals
  • inspections
  • contract estimates

Knack makes building online database apps for your mobile workforce really easy.

You set two user roles: "Supervisors" and "Employees" (or similar). When a Supervisor adds a new job or task, he connects that record to one or more Employees.

The Employees can then log in from any mobile device to view and update their assigned tasks. So right from the field they can enter their inspection data, or view installation instructions, or set a task as completed.

The key is Knack's great User Authentication features. We'll soon be releasing a video tutorial on setting up a mobile workforce app from scratch.

In the meantime please let us know if you're working on a mobile workforce app or need help with setting up your online database.

New Features: Form Actions & Display Rules

02/03/13  Posted by Brandon 

It's a feature extravanganza! We've released so much new functionality we need multiple sections to cover it:

Form Submit Rules

You can now set rules that trigger actions when a form is submitted. Here's what it looks like to set a custom email:

Each form can have multiple submit rules, and each rule consists of criteria and an action.

The criteria allows you to define when the action is triggered. For example, you may only want to send an email when a status field is updated to "pending confirmation". The default is to trigger the action for every form submission.

Each rule can perform one of the following actions:

  • Send an email: Send custom email reciepts, notices, and other email templates. You can use inputs from the form to populate the template.
  • Update the form record: useful for setting status or workflow fields on submissions. You can also assign logged-in users so you can track who submitted comment, rating, or ranking forms.
  • Insert a connected record: add a new record connected to the form record. Your form object must be connected to other objects for this option to be available. Great for adding history, version, and archived records based on the submission.

Field Rules

Field rules are triggered when a form is initially populated or updated by the user. These are useful if a certain input response should hide or show additional inputs

The classic example is a multiple choice input where one of the options is "other". If they user selects other you can show an additional "comments" input to explain.

Based on a criteria you can trigger multiple actions:

  • Show or hide an input: as discussed this will show or hide inputs based on the rule criteria.
  • Rename label: This can change labels of other inputs. For example, if you had a multiple choice for "language", you could change the labels of the other inputs based on that language selection.

Details Field Rules
Similar to Forms, you can hide and show fields based on criteria in a Details view as well.

Beta

Please note that these are both in Beta. This means that you may encounter some bugs or unexpected behavior while using them. Please contact us immediately if you do.

Featured Web Apps: January

01/22/13  Posted by Brandon 

This is the latest entry in a series describing different web apps and online databases that Knack users are building:

  • Order Management: A mobile phone shop is using Knack to track all phone purchases and repairs.
  • Customer Portal: A web design agency has built a portal for customers to log in and view projects and invoices.
  • Music Library: a choral director is using Knack to track and distribute sheet music for arrangements.
  • Employee Appointment Tracker: a healthcare technology company is building an online calendar to schedule and track employee service visits.
  • Lab Test Database: a medical lab is using Knack to track tests for clinical trials.

We're really excited about each of these custom web apps and online databases. We can't wait to see what will be built with Knack next!

New Feature: Equations & Text Combos

01/18/13  Posted by Brandon 

We've recently released two new fields we're really excited about: equations and text combos.

Both fields are used to create new values based on others.

Equations

Equations are used to perform mathematical functions on numeric fields. So like the example above, you can easily create simple math equations for doing things like:

  • totalling orders
  • calculating sales commissions
  • determining profit/loss
Equations can also be combined with the other formula fields like Sum, Average, Min, Max to create some complex equations.

Text Combos

Text combos are similar to equations except you can combine any field and text (not just numbers). Instead of math functions these are all simply combined together to form a new text field.

Text Combos are useful for:

  • combining fields to create a more informative ID fields
  • creating name or address fields from separate fields

Beta

Please note that these are both in Beta. This means that you may encounter some bugs or unexpected behavior while using them. Please contact us immediately if you do.

Default Sort Order

01/04/13  Posted by Brandon 

We added a minor upgrade today: the ability to set the default sort order for your object. This sort order will control the order our records appear in the builder as well as connection lists.

New Feature: Rating Field

12/28/12  Posted by Brandon 

We've been working on a bunch of new field types lately. The first off the shelf is our new Rating field. It's a great way to handle voting/rating/preference data in a nice graphical format.

Options include controlling the number of stars and allowing half stars.

You can also use our formula fields (like sum, average, max) to calculate aggregate ratings. For example, our recipe app shows the average rating of all the comments for each recipe.

Let us know if you are using the rating field, we'd love to see it in action!

Current Web Apps: December

12/11/12  Posted by Brandon 

This is the latest entry in a series describing different web apps and online databases that Knack users are building:

  • Scouting Database: A Major Leage Soccer (MLS) team is using Knack for a scouting database. Scouts can enter scouting reports in real time and differen staff members get varying access to the data based on their roles.Inventory Management: A rental company uses Knack to manage invoices, work orders, and contracts for renting storage units and trailers.
  • Wine Database: A wine specialty website used Knack to build a wine pairing database. Thousands of food dishes can be searched to find the best wine pairings and recipes.
  • Estimate Calculator: a wedding planner is using Knack to enable their clients to determine costs and generate estimates.
  • Hour Tracking: a hospital is using Knack to track the hours and patient visits the department chaplains are making.
We're really excited about each of these great web apps and online databases. We can't wait to see what will be built with Knack next!

New Feature: Batch Update Records

12/05/12  Posted by Brandon 

We recently added a convenient feature for maintaining your online database: batch updates.

This is really useful if you need to update multiple records (hundreds or even thousands) at the same time.

For example, if a company changes their name, you may need to update the hundreds of employees for that company. You can now easily do that in just a few steps.

View our help document for more details.

Help: Video Tours

12/04/12  Posted by Brandon 

We just added the first of what will be a series of video tours walking through the entire process of building an online database app with Knack.

You can view them all on our support page.

This is our first video introducing Knack.

Current Web Apps: November

11/12/12  Posted by Brandon 

This is the latest entry in a series describing different web apps and online databases that Knack users are building:

  • ERP: A parts supplier uses Knack to manage orders, quotes, products, and shipments in an easy online database.
  • Inventory Management: A rental company uses Knack to manage invoices, work orders, and contracts for renting storage units and trailers.
  • Job Manager: A satellite installer uses Knack to manage multi-page job applications and rate and note applicants.
  • Member Database: a church is using Knack to track all their members, small groups, attendance, and more with multiple logins and access:
We're really excited about each of these great web apps and online databases. We can't wait to see what you will build with Knack next!

New Feature: Global Tab Menu

11/08/12  Posted by Brandon 

Our latest feature for Knack is a global tab menu. This is a great way to structure a complicated app and give your users an easy way to navigate.

A global tab menu is a big menu that will appear at the top of your app. The menu will contain a link to each one of your entry scenes and it will stay visible regardless of which scene is being viewed.

View our help tutorial on adding one to your app.

Feature Highlight: Users

10/29/12  Posted by Brandon 

We recently completed a mammoth tutorial documenting our Knack user features. When were done we realized that we had to blog about how fantastic they are!

Adding users to your app is what can turn it from a simple online database to a dynamic web application.

The following are examples of how some of our customers are incorporating users into their web apps:

  • Sharing data with clients so they can log in and only see their specific data. You can set up whether they can only read the data or if they can update it as well.
  • Assigning data to employees so they can log in to access information for jobs, deliveries, installations, and more.
  • Creating member directories where each member can login to view every member's data and update their own data.
  • Assigning roles for different users of the app. For example, everyone can read data, but only admin roles can log in to update the data.

The following are some of the core features:
  • Registration: you can add users manually or they can register themselves right from the app. When they register they can get immediate access or wait for your approval.
  • Logins: you can protect the entire app with a login or only specific scenes. For example, you can publish an unprotected scene to your website to view your app, and then use a protected scene to update it.
  • User Roles: You can create multiple user roles that have different access. So you could create an "Admin" role and protect a scene so that only Admin users can view it.
  • User Data: You can connect users to other object records so when they log in they can only see their own data, and not any data connected to other users.
We think these features allow Knack users to build a wide variety of powerful online database and web apps. Please contact us if you'd like us to help set up a user-driven app for you.

Example App: Catalog

10/19/12  Posted by Brandon 

Today we released a new example web app: a customizable catalog app that can be embeded right to your site.

A catalog is a great example of how you can have different apps and publish them for different audiences of your online database.

For example, you could have the following apps for the same product database:

  • An admin app where staff can update all the product data.
  • A sales app for your salesforce that could include sales materials and PDFs to download and leave for customers.
  • A catalog app you can publish to your consumer site for customers to view and purchase.

Knack makes it easy to create separate web apps and publish them to different websites like this.

The example catalog app includes features like:

  • Grouping products into categories for easy browsing.
  • Adding payment solutions like PayPal.
  • Including custom options for each product that might be unique to your company.

Check out our customizable catalog app and let us know what you think.

New Feature: Calendars

10/15/12  Posted by Brandon 

We're pleased to release a major new feature for Knack- a calendar view!

A calendar was one of our most requested features. It can enable great online database and web apps like online scheduling.

Now you can easily display any date-driven data in a calendar, just like you could in a table or search:

The calendar follows a look and feel very similar to a Google Calendar, so it will be very familiar and easy to use:

The calendar comes loaded with some great features right out of the box:

  • Easily navigate between dates and month/week/day views
  • Allow users to add events by clicking on the calendar
  • Allow users to edit events by dragging to new times
  • Click on events to view and edit details.

We'll also be continually improving the calendar with some great features coming soon:
  • All day events
  • Repeating events
  • Scheduling by available slots
  • RSS and Google Calendar export
Let us know if you use the calendar in your own online database or web app. We want to see it in action!

Using Knack for Government Web Apps

10/05/12  Posted by Brandon 

Today we released a new example app: an online database displaying government funding.

We think this is a great example of how local, city, and state governemnts can use Knack to make more government data accessible to their constituents.

Knack has a few key features that work particularly well for e-governemnt apps:

  • Knack apps can be embedded directly on government websites and look completely integrated.
  • Knack apps can handle millions of records and still be extremely fast. Databases of this size are difficult to keep speedy in traditional non-cloud IT systems.
  • Knack apps are simple to build for non-IT staff. This way IT staff can spend their resources on more critical
  • Knack apps are extremely cost efficient and can unlock data for constituents that might otherwise not be available.
If you're considering adding online database apps for your government, please contact us and let us know how we can help.

Feature Roadmap: Equations, Calendars, and Triggers

09/27/12  Posted by Brandon 

We're always super excited about the new functionality we're working on to make Knack even better. We'd thought we'd share a few of the features you'll be seeing soon:

  • Custom Equations: we'll be adding a new field type called Equations. You'll be able to create custom equations using other field values and simple math. This way you can easily create fields to track totals, averages, sales commissions, etc. And it's all in an easy point-and-click editor.
  • Calendar View: we'll be adding a new view for displaying events and date records. This will operate very much like a Google calendar. Users will be able to shift between month, week, and day views. You can even set options for users to add events to the calendar, so scheduling and event apps will be simple to build.
  • Form Triggers: we're taking our time with this one because we want to get it right. The idea is that after a form is submitted, you may need that submission to trigger an action. It might send an email, update another record, or simply post the form data to an API.

Current Web Apps: August

08/21/12  Posted by Brandon 

This is the latest entry in a series describing different web apps that our current clients are building with Knack:

  • Records Search: a tax advisor from India is using Knack to enable users to search for critical bank and tax codes in an online database with over 80,0000 records.
  • Volunteer Management: a hospice agency is using Knack for a volunteer database app. They track the locations and hours for each volunteer and run reports on total hours and estimated value.
  • Inventory Managment: a restaurant and club is using Knack to manage their food inventory. They track inventory levels for each product and generate reports for products that need to be re-ordered.
  • Book Search: a synagogue uses Knack so members can use a tablet to search all the books in their library.
As always we're astounded by the variety of these great apps!

New Feature: Inline Editing

08/14/12  Posted by Brandon 

We are thrilled to announce a major new feature we're really excited about: inline editing for tables.

What's inline editing?

Inline editing enables any table to work more like a spreadsheet where you can click on a cell and edit the value of that cell. This all happens without having to load any scenes or refresh:

Clicking on a cell immediately brings up a form to edit it.

Why use inline editing?

Inline editing is a perfect match for certain web applications. Think of any inventory app where someone is updating inventory with a tablet. You'll have to continually be clicking on a product record, having it load an edit form, updating the inventory, hitting submit, clicking back to select another record.... that's a lot of steps.

With inline editing you can directly edit a cell with just a few clicks and with no reloading. This can really add up for certain applications.

What can you build with Knack?

07/23/12  Posted by Brandon 

Claiming that Knack enables anyone to build their own web application and online database is a bit like magic. After all, your definition of a web app could be incredibly creative, or just much different than ours.

So we want to start listing examples of different web apps built by Knack. This should help present an idea of the type of apps that work well with Knack and may even provide some use cases very similar to what you're looking for.

We'll be listing apps in two main areas: a Demo Library with plenty of working examples you can play with; and a Current Apps tag here on this blog where we'll describe actual apps built by Knack users.

Here's a list of some current apps being used by our beta users:

  • Talent Database - A talent agency is using Knack to manage all of their models and actors in an online database. The models can update their own information leading to more accurate and timely info, and using filters makes searching through thousands of models a breeze.
  • Class Management - A dance studio is using Knack to manage all of their classes and students in a single web application. Parents can register for classes directly online and reports on classes and contacts can easily be generated.
  • Inventory Management - A cattle ranch is managing all of the animal inventory online. Weights are frequently imported a reports can be generated to track all inventory counts.
  • Customer Database - An IT consultant tracks their customers so they can easily pull up any server and computer info on a job, make notes, and generate invoices.

What is Knack?

07/02/12  Posted by Brandon 

Knack is a web application platform that makes it easy for anyone to build widely distributed, highly customized, data-driven web applications.

Ok, that was way too technical, so let's break down exactly what we mean by that.

Making it easy

Web applications and online databases can be hugely complicated. There's a reason that most web apps are built by computer geeks (wait, that's us!) with computer science degrees. You need to design the database, code the interface, host the data, and make sure this all works together. It's not simple.

Making this easy is our primary vision. We are distilling this process into digestible steps, wrapping it all in natural language and a simple interface that anyone can understand.

Along with simplifying this, we want you to enjoy using Knack. We will not require you to learn a programming language and we will not allow you to get frustrated with a 10 step process.

Widely distributed

Today's web apps need to do a lot of heavy lifting, both in how they are delivered and who they are intended for:

  • Delivery: Apps need to work on multiple devices and have the flexibility to adapt to the advantages of each.
  • Users: different users can access applications in different ways. Apps need to be able to respond to different intentions of each user group.
Knack enables you to distribute your web application across multiple platforms and use cases:
  • You can publish different versions of your app to different websites. One version can be designed for web, and another simplified version for mobile.
  • You can design different versions for different users. For example, an admin version for managing data on your intranet, while a mobile version might be for employees to quickly update project data.
  • You can even set up user roles so each user must login and only has permission to see their own data.

Highly Customized

Today's internet is offering more and more solutions for virtually every niche possible. And yet you will still struggle to find that perfect match for your exact requirements.

When you can build your own app you can match it to your exact specifications rather than trying to fit into someone else's solution.

Knack was designed from the beginning to be highly customized:

  • Data Flexibility: You can define your data from scratch to perfectly match your exact needs.
  • Design Flexibility: Your apps can be embedded directly on your websites and blogs and adapt perfectly to the surrounding design. Designers can easily update each app with custom themes and styles.
  • Customization: Developers can completely customize the application using an open API and JavaScript events.

Data Driven

Today's web apps are largely driven by data. You need to be able to easily add data, manipulate it, share it, and understand it. It needs to play well with social media and other apps and APIs.

Data is front and center when building Knack apps. We make it simple for anyone to create online databases and build web applications based on that data.

And that's just the start. We have an amazing road map in place to capiltalize on the future web where data is all-pervasive. Sign up to get started building your own web apps today.

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