Knack Blog

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

 

New Feature: Searchable Maps

12/19/2013 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.knack.com/store-locator-online-database/

Drive-through locations are color-coded green.

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Knack and User Logins

12/17/2013 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 recordAdd views for records connected to the logged-in userAssign the logged-in user to a form submission

Add rules to filter records by the logged-in user

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New Feature – Map Details

12/11/2013 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!

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New Feature: Add Custom Multiple Choice Options

11/26/2013 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.

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Custom Designs with Knack

11/22/2013 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:

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New Feature: Calendar List

11/21/2013 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.

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New Feature: Custom Colors

11/12/2013 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!

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New Feature: Update Scene URLs

11/08/2013 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.

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New Feature: SEO Indexing for your Online Database

11/07/2013 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.knack.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%3Aknack.com%20craft%20beer

This search will show this scene in the results:

https://www.knack.com/business-directory-user-demo/#home/view-business-details/501d871ade8cf3201400002e/

You can find out more about Knack SEO features and implementation here:

https://knack.com/seo

SEO features are currently included with Corporate plans and above.

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New Field: Phone Numbers

10/29/2013 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.

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