Knack Blog

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

 

Create Custom Mobile Workforce Apps

02/05/2013 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.

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New Features: Form Actions & Display Rules

02/03/2013 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.

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Featured Web Apps: January

01/22/2013 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!

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New Feature: Equations & Text Combos

01/18/2013 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.

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New Feature: Rating Field

12/28/2012 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!

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Current Web Apps: December

12/11/2012 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!

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New Feature: Batch Update Records

12/05/2012 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.

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Help: Video Tours

12/04/2012 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.

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New Feature: Batch Updating

12/03/2012 Posted by Brandon

We recenctly released a new feature that will

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New Feature: Global Tab Menu

11/08/2012 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.

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