Knack Blog

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

 

Pricing Changes

10/17/2013 Posted by Brandon

We’ll soon be raising our prices. It’s served us well over our first year, but we want our pricing to better reflect Knack’s increased value and ensure that our support remains amazing.

Good news — all of our early customers will be locked-in to the current pricing. This means the pricing will only increase if a new plan is selected.

If you’ve been considering upgrading or signing up, make sure you select your new plan now to lock in the current pricing.

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New Example Apps

10/16/2013 Posted by Brandon

We recently added 3 new apps to our example library! To help you explore these example apps we’ve also made it easy to add them directly to your account.

Project Management

The Project Management app can be used to manage projects, tasks, hours, and milestones.

We wanted to show a good example of a more complex app you can build with Knack. This app has a bunch of moving parts and takes advantage of a lot of Knack features:

  • Each project can track multiple connected records for milestones, tasks, hours, costs, and more.
  • Total expenses for a project are calculated by adding total costs and hours multiplied by the project hourly rate.
  • Employees can log in and add hours for any tasks that have been assigned to them.
more on the project management example app

Multi-Step Application

This an app that works well when you need multi-step applications or registrations. New users can register and then fill out an application across multiple tabs. Some tabs handle connected records, like employment history, where multiple employment records can be added.

Their registration is automatically saved and they can work on it over time. The last tab is used to complete the application and submit for review. This sets a “Status” field which makes it available for admins to review.

Perfect for:

  • Complex job applications
  • Camp or Conference registrations
  • Grant, contest, and school applications
more on the multi-step application example app

Events Calendar

We wanted an application to show off the calendar view, so we added this events calendar. It’s relatively simple but does have a nice feature of allowing the community to submit events. Admins can review these and approve to display in the calendar.

More on the events calendar example app

Add example apps to your account

You can now add any of the example apps directly to your account. Just go to your dashboard and click the “Add App” button below your list of apps. Then select the “Pick a Template” option:

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Knack and Workflow

10/08/2013 Posted by Brandon

Knack can be used to build some very complex apps. One element of a complex app that will often come up for discussion is workflow.

What do we mean by workflow? A workflow is a series of steps that are followed in order to complete a task. Typical workflows consist of a user completing some work and then alerting the next user in the flow to do further work, until the task is completed.

Rather than a rigid workflow design tool, Knack offers flexible features that can be used to create multiple types of work flow:

  • Filter Records: each view can filter records based on any criteria you define. This is great for workflow where you can create “status” fields to track the stage of a process. For example, you can filter a table of projects by “proposal”, “active”, “pending approval”, and “complete”. This way you can just show “active” projects when managing a work schedule.
  • User Roles: user roles are used to define different permissions and access to your data. So “Project Managers” can see an entire project and assign tasks to “Staff”, while Staff can log in and just view the tasks that have been assigned to them.
  • Form Rules: you can use form rules to trigger actions to update records, insert records, and more when a form is submitted. So when Staff fills out a form to complete a task, a form rule can then set the “Status” of that task to “complete”.
  • Email Notifications: another form rule option is to send emails. So when the task is complete an email could be sent to the Project Manager notifying them of the update.
  • Scheduled Tasks: tasks can be scheduled to update records or send emails based on criteria you define. So if a project due date is past the current date, an email could be sent to the Project Manager.
What kind of workflow have you built in to your app? We’d love to hear about it!

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September Online Database Examples

09/30/2013 Posted by Brandon

We’re back with our monthly update on some of the great apps and databases built by Knack customers.

Since we skipped a few months we’ll be adding more than normal. As always, these are examples of the apps and online databases that have been build with Knack:

  • Student Management: a martial arts center uses Knack to manage student registrations and belt tests.
  • School Directory: the American Association of Colleges of Nursing is using Knack for a directory of nursing college.
  • Dealer Locator: a propane dealer uses Knack to track their dealers and search by zipcode.
  • Transportation Management: a transportation logistics company uses Knack for a complete online transportation management portal, including shipments, drivers, and dispatches.
  • Disupte Resolution App: a legal firm uses Knack to manage disupte resolutions, including claimant and defendant logins, case reviews, and easy searching.
  • Moving Management: a moving company uses Knack for a complete moving management solution, including projects, orders, accounts, and jobs.
  • Product Information Management (PIM): an Ecommerce company uses Knack for a central database to manage all product data.

There’s some great apps in that list and we’re always thrilled to see the incredible variety of online databases being built with Knack!

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New Feature: Two Column Forms

09/24/2013 Posted by Brandon

You’ve been asking for it, so we delivered. You can now add two-column layouts to you forms to add your inputs to.

Inputs are added to groups, and each group has an option to control the number of columns:

You can add multiple groups and use different columns for each to control layout and alignment.

You can drag your inputs from group to group and column to column to update the layout. You can also click and drag the icon above a group to change the order of your groups.

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New Feature: Custom Calendar Event Colors

09/18/2013 Posted by Brandon

We’ve added the ability to add custom colors to your calendar events:

You can now set the default background color and add multiple rules to apply different background colors to your records.

This feature is in beta so please get in touch if run into any issues.

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Custom Javascript & CSS

09/05/2013 Posted by Brandon

We're pleased to announce an exciting new feature: the ability to add custom Javascript and CSS code directly to your apps!

One of the strongest features about Knack is that designers and developers can easily use jQuery and CSS to customize each app.

Until now, this was only possible by first publishing your Knack app to your own website and adding the code there. Any code you applied wouldn't be available on the hosted Knack apps at knack.com. So if you weren't interested in publishing your app to your own site you were out of luck.

We've now added the ability to add this code directly into your app, so it can be applied to both hosted and published apps. We've combined it with the API tab under Settings:

There are separate editors for both JavaScript and CSS. Each editor is color-coded and will follow common syntax highlighting for those languages.

Some notes about this custom code:

  • Any code added will be called after all Knack code and styles have been loaded.
  • You don't need to wrap the JavasScript code in window.KnackInit().
  • JavaScript code has access to the Knack $ jQuery object.
  • The code is called for every load regardless of which scene is first viewed.
  • You can still add code and CSS to your site if you want to limit customization just to your published apps.
Please note that although we're providing these tools we can't debug or add code for you. If you'd like us to provide these services please consider filling out a request here:

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

New Help Desk

08/12/2013 Posted by Brandon

We’re pleased to announce the launch of our new help desk:

http://support.knack.com

Our support desk has been lagging for some time and was long overdue for an upgrade.

Why did we wait so long?

  • The Knack product was evolving so quickly that maintaining support was cumbersome. With the product now becoming quite stable we felt it was a good time to tackle support.
  • We do a lot of personal support with chat and email and knew the support experience wasn’t being compromised.
  • We were too busy adding new features!

So why now?

  • We wanted to improve the support experience for those users that weren’t interested in personal support. We take a lot of pride in our email and chat support, but realize many users still just want to review quality support materials on their own pace.
  • With our website redesign it became even more obvious that our help desk was the glaringly behind in the quality department.
  • We recently completed some major projects and had the resources to commit to it.

So what’s new?

It was a complete overhaul so there are a lot of new touches:

New Design:

The new help desk has a clean simple design that stays out of your way. All the tutorials are grouped into major sections and divided into shorter articles.

Help Widget:

The builder has a new help widget that is tied into the help desk:

You can browse all the content right from the builder. There’s also buttons for starting a chat or submitting a help request.

Support Tickets:

All requests through the widget, the website, or email now go to a centralized ticket system. This will ensure that nothing gets lost and your requests get handled in a timely and thorough manner.

New Content:

We’ve written dozens of new articles and covered every aspect of the builder. Every section has been reviewed. Each article will link to other relevant articles when referenced.

We’re excited that this new support system will help Knack be even easier to use and help us support you even better.

Please let us know how we can continue to improve the support experience.

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Feature Upgrade: Date Equations

07/26/2013 Posted by Brandon

We’ve upgraded our Equation field type to include date calculations.

Date calculations will allow you to create dynamic equations combining date fields, the current time, and your own time values.

Some common examples of date equations are:

  • Calculating age by subtracting birth date from the current time
  • Calculating expiration dates by adding days to a start date
  • Calculating time spent by subtracting a start date from an end date

How does it work? When you add or edit an Equation field you can determine if it’s a numerical or date type:

Selecting Date will display any eligible date fields you can add to your equation. There’s also a special Current Time field you can use to represent the current time when the calculation is run.

You can control the Date Type. This will convert any numbers used in the equation into the selected date type. In the example below the 30 will add 30 days to the start date since days is selected as the type.

Date Equations are in beta so please let us know if you run into any issues.

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New Feature: Repeating Calendar Entries

07/22/2013 Posted by Brandon

We’ve upgraded our Calendars to now allow repeating calendar entries.

You can format any Date-Time field to use Calendar Options:

This will add two options to your Date Inputs:

  • All Day
  • Repeat
All Day will remove any time inputs and display the event as an all-day event in the calendar.

Repeating will allow you set various repeating options:

These events will then display as separate repeating entries on a Calendar.

When editing or deleting a repeating event you’ll have the option of updating the entire series of events or just the event you’re working with.

Repeating calendar events are currently in beta. If you run into any issues, please let us know so we can investigate.

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