Knack Blog

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


Eating our own Dog Food

11/06/2014 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.

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New Feature: Copy Pages

10/01/2014 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.

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New Feature: Add a Custom Logo

09/26/2014 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 domain. It won’t display on embedded apps.

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New Feature: Table Grouping

09/18/2014 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.

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Updates to Date Filters

09/12/2014 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.

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Make Copies of your Apps

09/11/2014 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:

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.

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Single Sign-On Refresh

09/02/2014 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.


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.

HelpPlease click here for more info on setting up SSO options:

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New Example App: Custom CRM

07/01/2014 Posted by Brandon

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

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!

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Knack Zaps: Webmerge

06/08/2014 Posted by Brandon


In our last post we talked about the Zapier Email Parser and the utility it extends to your Knack apps. Another Zapier integration that works really well with Knack is the Webmerge Zap. Webmerge is a web service that allows you to convert your records into a PDF or Office Doc in minutes.

The Webmerge Zap

When you connect Webmerge to Knack, you can send records to Webmerge to create custom PDF’s and Docs for things like:

  • Invoices
  • Receipts
  • Order Confirmations
  • Reports
  • Real Estate Listings

Webmerge works similiarly to the Zapier Email Parser in that you can map fields from your Knack database plus any additional text or content you choose to include to Webmerge creating your own custom PDF’s or Docs.

This has been the most frequently requested integration by our customers for quite some time. Now you can begin using this service immediately by clicking the ‘learn more’ link below.

Pro Tip: Be sure to share the Zaps you use from the Zapier Dashboard. For every person that you share a Zap with that signs up, both of you will earn 100 extra tasks per month.

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Zapier Email Parser

06/01/2014 Posted by Brandon

We recently announced integration with 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:


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:


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.

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