Knack Blog

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

 

Feature Upgrade: Reusing Scenes

07/11/2013 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.

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June Online Database Examples

06/28/2013 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.

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Knack for Designers

06/22/2013 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:

https://knack.com/designers

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

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New Feature: Table Summaries

06/11/2013 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.

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New Feature: User-based Global Tabs

06/06/2013 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.

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May Online Database Examples

05/29/2013 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.

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New Feature: Scene Printing

05/10/2013 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.

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Example App: Purchase Orders

04/24/2013 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.

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New Feature: Using Remote Images

04/22/2013 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.

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Example App: Equipment Tracker

04/11/2013 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.

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