Knack Blog

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

 

Feature Highlight: Track Changes to Your Data

08/10/2017 Posted by Odalis

There are times when there may be some confusion or misunderstanding as to why something changed in your data. For example:

  • Who updated that customer’s order to “Complete” when the item they purchased is still in your warehouse?
  • What new information was added to that recently updated project?
  • When did that member sign up for an account?

For Knack users with a Pro plan or above, the record history can answer those questions.

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Feature Highlight: Add Clarity to Forms Using Instructions

08/03/2017 Posted by Odalis

Sometimes users misunderstand what information we want and we need to add in a little more direction to avoid hours of confirming the accuracy of information.

For example, we have a multi-step application where we keep getting responses to a few questions that aren’t exactly what we’re looking for. Like our Licenses questions. We’re only looking for licenses that were given at the state or national level. But right now, we have applicants that are including other types of licenses:

So we want to add in some additional instructions to ensure we’re capturing the right information—the first time around.

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Feature Highlight: Reveal Data Faster using Value Links

07/27/2017 Posted by Odalis

Users can get frustrated and use your app less if getting the information they need requires too much jumping around. They want it to be as easy as possible to get what they need and then continue with their day.

For example, we have a Donations page that includes the name of the donor that made the donation:

Our users would love if they could click on the Donor name on the table to find out more about a specific donor. Otherwise, they need to first navigate to the Donors page and then search for the Donor to see their details. It may not seem like a lot of extra steps, but when you have to do that daily, it can be irritating.

So we’re going to use Value Links to make the donor names clickable and send users directly to the donor’s details page.

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Feature Highlight: Add Clarity to Forms Using Layouts and Groups

07/20/2017 Posted by Odalis

Sometimes you need to collect a lot of information on a form. Which means being clear about the information you need and making it easy to input that information. Otherwise, you could get stuck with incomplete information or users can take much longer to fill out your forms.

That’s where layouts and groups can help! For example, we have a multi-step application with a Licenses & Education section. We could make users scroll through all the questions like this:

Or we could use different layouts and groups to better organize the form and require less scrolling, like this:

Which would your users prefer?

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Feature Highlight: Add Clarity to Forms by Customizing Your Submit Button Text

07/13/2017 Posted by Odalis

Sometimes all it takes is a little text to help your users know exactly what to do in your apps. When it comes to forms, changing the submit button text can be the difference between rarely and often getting incomplete information from your users.

For example, we have a multi-step application where we want applicants to fill out multiple parts of a form. Once they complete a step, they’re automatically sent to the next step. But that’s not obvious to all applicants when we use “Submit” at the end of each form part.

So we want to switch out the current “Submit” text on the submit button to something that shows them they’ll be moving on to a new part of the form.

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Feature Highlight: Limit File Size

07/06/2017 Posted by Odalis

You’ve got a form where users can upload files from their computers or smartphones. But you’ve noticed that many of the uploaded files are huge and taking up a lot of storage space. It would be great if you could limit the size of the files users can upload.

For example, we have a job portal where applicants can apply for jobs and upload their resumes. However, we want to prevent them from uploading resume files that take up too much space. So we want to limit them to files that are no bigger than 20MB:

Jenny Martin tried to upload a file that was larger than 20MB. Instead of the form submitting, the user received a message letting them know they need to upload a smaller file.

How to Limit a File’s Size

Here’s how you can prevent users from uploading large files using a Validation Rule:

1. In the Data section of the builder, select the object that contains the file field whose size you want to limit. If the file field doesn’t already exist, create a new one.

2. Click on the gear icon of the file field to open the editor.

3. Go to the Validation Rules section and check the “Add field validation rules” box:

4. For the When part of the rule, select the file field and then the “size is greater than” option. Once that’s selected, you’ll be able to choose the size limit.

For the Message part of the rule, you can enter the custom message you want the user to see.

Your validation rule is now ready and your users will automatically be prompted if they try to upload those larger files.

Feature Highlight: Dependent Dropdowns on Forms

06/29/2017 Posted by Carson

When capturing data using forms, it's frustrating when users input incorrect information. In Knack, there are features available in forms to help prevent erroneous data from being captured. One of these is the Show option for fields on a form.

Let’s say you have a form for adding new Projects. On that form, you have two connection fields: Department and Employee.

You want the list of employees shown on the Employee connection field to be limited to only the employees that are a part of the selected Department.

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The Show option will prevent the Employee field from showing employees in the Sales or Operations departments when the Marketing department is selected.

How to Create Dependent Dropdowns on a Form

Here’s how you can set this up in your own forms using connections and the Show option.

  1. In the Data section of the builder, you’ll need three objects setup:
  • Departments
  • Employees
  • Projects
  1. Next, you’ll need to have the following connections setup between the objects:
  • Many Employees connect to one Department.
  • Each Project connects to one Department.
  • Each Project connects to one Employee.

Note: The Show filter only works with “one-to-many” or “one-to-one” connections.

In this case, Department and Employee will be the connection fields on the form, and they have a one-to-many relationship with the Project object.

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  1. In the Pages section of the builder, select a page with the Add Project form or create a new Add Project form.
  1. Click on the Add Project form on its page to open the editor.
  1. Add inputs for both the Department and Employee connection fields:

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  1. Hover over the Employee input field and click the edit “pencil” icon:

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  1. On the edit input window, you’ll see the Show option and can select to show only Employees connected to this form’s Department:

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You’re done!

Now when the user selects a different department, the employee records will automatically update to only show the employees connected to the selected department:

Feature Highlight: Inline Editing

06/08/2017 Posted by Odalis

Inline editing allows users to edit fields directly from a table, without using a form. So instead of jumping between edit forms to update different records, all changes can be made from the same page.

For example, admins of this business directory app can quickly make updates to businesses by clicking on any field on the table they want to edit:

You’ll see that fields that are editable with inline editing will be highlighted. When clicked, a small pop-up window will show up so an update can be made.

Note: Changes made through inline editing won’t trigger record rules or emails. Those are only triggered by updates submitted through a form.

How to Add Inline Editing to a Table

Now that you’ve seen how inline editing works, here are the steps for adding it to your tables.

1. In the Pages section of the builder, select the page that holds the table you want to add inline editing to.

2. Click on the table on that page to open the editor.

3. Go to the Options section and select the box next to “Inline Editing”:

Note: When inline editing is enabled, it will affect any editable fields. However, if there are fields where you don’t want to allow inline editing, you can specify that.

For example, in the table below, all fields have inline editing enabled. But we don’t want the Business ID field to have inline editing enabled.

To remove inline editing from that field, we’ll go to the Columns section of the editor. We’ll hover over the Business ID column and click the edit “pencil” icon:

Then we’ll set the “Allow Inline Editing” property to No:

That process can be repeated for any fields that shouldn’t have inline editing enabled.

Feature Highlight: Row Summaries

06/01/2017 Posted by Odalis

Tables can be great for reporting and gaining quick insights into your data. Especially with a feature like row summaries. With row summaries, you can add numerical summaries to your tables.

For example, we have an Order Items report that includes the amount spent on each order item. To see the total amount spent on all order items, we’ve added a sum row summary called “Total” to the table:

To get more insights, we then added row summaries to see the average, minimum and maximum amounts spent on order items:

For more features on using tables as reports, try out grouping or display rules that add color and icons to your tables.

How to Add Row Summaries to a Table

Now that you’ve seen how row summaries work, here are the steps for adding them to your tables.

1. In the Pages section of the builder, select the page that holds the table you want to add row summaries to.

2. Click on the table on that page to open the editor.

3. Go to the Options section and click the “Add Summary” link next to Row Summaries:

4. Select whether you want to summarize the sum, average, maximum, or minimum of the values and rename the label on the left as you like:

5. To add more row summaries, click on the green “plus” icon. You can add as many row summaries as you need:

Note: When row summaries are enabled, any numeric columns will automatically be summarized. However, if there are columns that you don’t want to be summarized, you can specify that.

For example, in the table below, there are three columns being summarized: Qty, Price, and Total. But we only want the total column to be summarized.

To remove the summary from the Qty and Price columns, we’ll go to the Columns section of the editor. We’ll hover over the Qty column and click the edit “pencil” icon:

Then we’ll set the “Allow Summary” property to No:

That process can be repeated for any columns that shouldn’t be summarized.

Feature Highlight: Automatically Capture a User’s Location

05/25/2017 Posted by Odalis

Forms work well for capturing information from any user. But mistakes can happen when entering information that creates more work for you!

For example, let’s say you offer your customers on-site services for the equipment they’ve purchased. You’ve noticed that in the last few requests the service location has been incorrect. For one request that resulted in your team getting to the customer 2 hours later than expected.

You could set up a new process for verifying service locations, or you could capture those locations automatically. No user input required.

Here’s what the process would look like for your customer:

How to Automatically Capture a User’s Location

Here’s how you can set this up in your own form using a Record Rule:

  1. In the Pages section of the builder, select the page that holds the form you want to use to capture the user’s location.
  1. Click on the form on that page to open the editor.
  1. Go to the Form Rules section and then click on the Record Rules tab:

  1. Click the “Add Rule” button and use the following settings for your record rule:
  • Action Update this record
  • When leave blank, unless you only want to capture the location under specific circumstances
  • Values Set {select your Address field} to the user’s current location

Note: This will work for Address fields with either the Address or Latitude/Longitude input type: