Knack Blog

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

 

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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Zapier Email Parser

06/01/2014 Posted by Brandon

We recently announced integration with Zapier.com 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:

zapier-parser-trigger

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:

zapier-parser-fields

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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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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New Feature: Add Connected Records from a Form

01/29/2014 Posted by Brandon

We’ve added a new feature to add connected records right from a form.

An example helps describe when this is useful. Let’s say you have Students and Schools and add new Student records with a form. If you need to connect that Student to a School record that doesn’t exist yet, you’d have to leave that form and add the School record first.

You can now add connected records like this directly from the form!

To do so, first click on the form in your Interface to edit it. Then click the edit icon on connection field (in this case, School):

Set the option to “Allow users to add new options”.

When you save the form, this will create a new child form for adding that new school:

This child form can be edited and works exactly like a regular form. You can even add form rules.

This will then add a “Plus” icon next to the field where users can add their own connected records:

This will trigger the child form to display in a popup:

That new School record is automatically connected in the form and added to the list of available Schools to connect to.

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New Field: Signature Captures

01/21/2014 Posted by Brandon

We have added a brand new field: signature captures!

Now your app can capture your user’s signatures with a new Signature field. Signatures should be perfect for user authorization, getting permissions, or signing off on terms of use.

This field is available under the Special tab when adding a new field.

When added to a form, the signature field accepts mouse or touch input to capture a signature:

Two links below the signature make working with the signature easier:

  • reset: clears the entire signature
  • undo: undos the last stroke
When added to other views the signature will display like an image:

Please note that Knack is not claiming that these signature fields convey any legally binding authorization.

Let us know what you think or if you run into any issues with this new signature field.

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