Knack Blog

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

 

Featured Web Apps: February

02/18/2013 Posted by Brandon

This is the latest entry in a series describing different web apps and online databases that Knack users are building:

  • Project Management: Photobox, the leading European online photo service, uses Knack to manages special projects across multiple teams.
  • Cashflow Management: a bag manufacturer is using Knack to manage orders, deliveries, and cash-flow reports. Special access is given to accountants for key reports.
  • Homeowners Portal: an HOA uses Knack for a neighborhood directory and for tracking HOA issues.
  • Freight Management: a trucking company uses Knack for a full service freight management solution, including invoices and accounting, trips and logs, and fleet management.
  • Production Whiteboard: an online marketing firm uses Knack to manage production roles and deadlines.

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: Tracking Record Changes

02/13/2013 Posted by Brandon

For Knack users with a Pro plan or above, we’ve added some features for managing records in your online database. There’s now a small edit icon with each record:

You can click on that icon to edit the entire record at once:

You can click on the History tab to review changes for that record:

This will provide the version of the record every time it was changed, highlighting any changes from the previous record with a color.

It also notes the time of the change, whether it was updated in the builder or the app, and who changed it (if applicable).

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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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Default Sort Order

01/04/2013 Posted by Brandon

We added a minor upgrade today: the ability to set the default sort order for your object. This sort order will control the order our records appear in the builder as well as connection lists.

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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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