Knack Blog

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

 

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.

Twitter

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:

http://support.knack.com/knowledge_base/topics/logins-and-registrations#sso

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Knack Design Refresh

08/04/2014 Posted by Eric

Wow how time does fly. 4 years ago we started developing Knack with a small handful of eager customers so they could start building their own online databases and web apps.

Since that time we've added a ton of new features, redesigned our website, tried countless experiments, and even changed our name.

The one thing that has not received much attention was the design of the Knack builder. It's always taken the back seat to other priorties. It's even using our old color scheme of blue and orange!

That all changed this year as we've been working on a design refresh. The timing was right because of how much we've learned from you – our customers! You've shown us what needed to be better and we wanted to implement those improvements.

We're currently planning on making this new builder design live in the near future. We want to walk through some of the changes and improvements that you can expect to see:

Improved Design

  • An open and larger design, with more room to work.
  • More of that great Knack fuschia color!
  • Less clutter – app settings have been moved a small icon in the far upper left.
More Intuitive
  • Adding scenes now has a wizard to greatly simplify the process. This is a big one and combines many steps that had to be done separately before.
  • “Scenes” are now called “Pages” because pages just made more sense.
  • User Logins can be added straight from the database or interface if needed.
Easier To Use
  • Available options are more obvious and eaiser to access.
  • Editing views will use the full browser instead of just a small window.
  • Fields can be added with drag and drop.
New Features

  • Storage limits can be viewed and managed in your dashboard app list.
  • Search views can show results by default.
  • Lists can optionally hide empty fields from displaying.
Screenshots for the new design after the break:

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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:

https://www.knack.com/custom-crm/

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

knack-webmerge

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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Connect your Knack database to hundreds of other services with Zapier

05/20/2014 Posted by Brandon

We’re pleased to announce that Knack is now integrated with Zapier – a website that makes it easy to connect different internet apps and services together to share data from service to service!

Zapier opens up powerful possibilities to extend and enhance your Knack app with other services like Gmail, WebMerge, MailChimp, Twilio, and many more.

Here are a few examples of how you can integrate Knack with other services on Zapier:

The beauty of Zapier is that since Knack is now available in their app library, you can connect Knack to ANY other service they have available. The possibilities are truly endless!

The following is our page on Zapier that describes in more detail how it works:

https://zapier.com/help/knack/

We’ll be outlining a few of our favorite services and “Zaps” in future blog posts. Keep us posted on any you’ve created so we can share them here!

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New Example App: Inventory Manager

04/11/2014 Posted by Brandon

We’ve released a new example app for managing inventory:

https://www.knack.com/inventory-manager/

This app really shows off Knack’s equation and formula fields, as well as a conditional field.

Here’s how it works:

  • Both incoming purchases and outgoing orders are added to the database. Formula fields are used to sum the totals of all purchases and orders for each product.
  • An equation is used to subtract orders and add purchases from a “starting inventory” to calculate the “current inventory”.
  • A conditional field compares the current inventory with a “minimum required’ number. If the current inventory dips below that minimum required, “needs reorder” is set to “Yes”.
Knack users can add this new app directly from the dashboard.

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The Knack Cookbook

03/26/2014 Posted by Brandon

One of the main strengths of Knack is the flexibility. Rather than force you into doing things a certain way, we like to provide different tools you can use to create the app you want.

The downside is that it may not be obvious at first just how all these different tools can best be used.

In order to help we’ve created a Knack Cookbook, which contains different recipes of using Knack functionality to implement specific features.

Each recipe will explain the scenario and then offer step-by-step guides on how to implement that feature into your online database app.

We’re starting small but hope to continually add new recipes as we go. Here are our first recipes:

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New Feature: Single Sign Ons

03/20/2014 Posted by Brandon

A common method for logging in is to use another service like Facebook or Google where you already have an account.

This is called Single Sign On, or SSO, and you can now add these options to your Knack logins.

This will allow your users to use these services to register and log in to your apps:

You can add these SSO links by editing a Login View and clicking on the “Options” section:

There are two options you can add:

Google: no configuration needed, the user will simply use any Google account they have.

Facebook: you’ll need to create a Facebook App and configure this option with the credentials that Facebook provides:

You set this up directly in Facebook. You’ll also need to enter the app URL where the login requests are coming from. Add this by clicking on App, Settings, and then adding a Platform for “Web”. You can then enter the URL.

Here’s an example of getting the Facebook credentials:

Once added you’ll have login links show up to the right of the login form (see above).

Notes:

  • If the user already has an account they should still be able to use the SSO options, but only if the emails are the same. If their Google or Facebook email is different then a new account will be added.
  • If you require users to fill out multiple fields to register for access, new users will be directed to the registration form after logging in with an SSO option.

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Knack is Growing!

03/13/2014 Posted by Brandon

Wow, what a start to 2014! We’ve seen a huge increase in activity lately and we wanted to share a little about this growth and what it means for Knack.

In the last 3 months we’ve seen a big increase in new customers, as our total customer count has more than doubled in that period!

We’re frequently getting more new customers in a day than we did for our entire first month.

We’ve also doubled our server capacity to keep up with all the new traffic. This includes re-structuring our architecture so it’s much easier to continue to add new servers whenever speeds get anything less than super snappy.

The Knack team just got bigger

Best of all, we’ve made our first hire!

Steve Palmer has joined the team and will be helping with both customer support and diving into some bigger projects.

Steve is from the same Central Pennyslvania area as Eric and has great experience with both operations and the start-up world. When he’s not knee-deep in Knack projects Steve is blogging about wine, consulting on social media, and mentoring other entrepreneurs.

We’ll be hearing more from Steve soon as he continues to get involved in all of Knack’s projects.

We’ve already told him that Knack customers are the best, so make sure you give him a friendly welcome!

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New Feature: Conditional Fields

03/04/2014 Posted by Brandon

We’re pleased to announce a major new feature: conditional fields.

You can now add rules to any field that can be used to set the value of that field. Rules can be based on other values from the same record.

Here are some examples of how conditional fields could be used:

  • the value of a Student Rank field is set to “Honor Roll” if the GPA is higher than 3.
  • the value of a Commission Rate field is set to 5% if the Years Experience is higher than 2.
  • the value of a Invoice Status field is set to “Overdue” if the Days Overdue is higher than 0.

To add conditional values to a field, first click on a field in your database to open it in edit mode. A new “gear” icon will display in the top right corner:

Click on that to open up a pop-up for “Advanced Options” where conditional values can be added:

Those rules set a commission rate to custom values based on the years of experience value. A default value is set with the 3 rule (with no criteria).

Once added a “conditional” icon is displayed with the field for easy identification:

Once a field is set to use conditional values it can no longer be added to a form or edited in inline mode. The values will only be set by the rules.

The rules run in order with the first match found. You can add a rule at the end with zero conditions that will set a “default” value in case any of the previous rules aren’t matched.

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