Knack Blog

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

 

October Online Database Examples

11/04/2013 Posted by Brandon

It’s the end of another month so let’s list some more examples of the online database apps that have been built with Knack:

  • Bonus Calculator: a manufacturer uses Knack to calculate the weekly bonus allocated to each employee.
  • Studio Manager: a photographer uses Knack for a complete studio management solution for managing clients, jobs, invoices, expenses, and more.
  • Equipment Tracker: a digital media studio uses Knack to track assets for IT hardware and software assigned to employees.
  • Cargo Manager: a shipping agency uses Knack to manage and monitor port access and restrictions and cargo inventories.
  • Project Management: a PR firm uses Knack to manage clients and project deliverables through 3rd party freelancers.
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 Field: Phone Numbers

10/29/2013 Posted by Brandon

We recently added a new field for formatting phone numbers.

You can select a format that will mask the user input to ensure they are entering numbers correctly:

These phone numbers will also display as links. When clicked in smartphones they will automatically trigger the phones call function:

When editing a phone field you can also indicate if you want to allow extensions.

We added some common formats for both US and international numbers. Let us know if there are specific formats that will work better for you.

WARNING:

Please back up any phone number records before converting from a short text to the new phone type. Because phone format are strictly enforced, some data loss may occur in a transfer.

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New Feature: Scheduled Tasks

10/22/2013 Posted by Brandon

We’re pleased to announce a major new feature we’ve been working on for a while: scheduled tasks. Tasks can be scheduled to run for each object in your database.

This feature is available now with the Pro plan and above.

You’ll now see a “Tasks” link with each of the Objects in your Database:

You can add a task by giving it a name and schedule:

You can then add rules to define what actions the task will take, and which records the task will include. This follows the same setup we implemented for form rules:

The following are some examples of how we are seeing tasks used:

  • Checking Expiration Dates: combined with date equations you can easily check if a “Days Active” has exceeded an expiration duration, and set a status accordingly.
  • Send Email Notifications: check a new status field for “pending notification” to send emails. After the email is sent update the status so it’s not sent again.
  • Scheduled Maintenance: add scheduled tasks or events for the upcoming week every week.

Please note that this is a major new feature and in beta.

This means that we need you to get in touch with us immediately if you see anything that doesn’t look like it is working as expected.

We also started with a somewhat limited feature set. So please get in touch if you are unable to run the task that you envision so we can consider your task for future upgrades.

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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.

Continue reading...

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/