Knack Blog

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


Feature Highlight: Dependent Dropdowns on Forms

06/29/2017 Posted by Brandon

When capturing data using forms, it’s frustrating when users input incorrect information. In Knack, there are features available in forms to help prevent erroneous data from being captured. One of these is the Show option for fields on a form.

Let’s say you have a form for adding new Projects. On that form, you have two connection fields: Department and Employee.

You want the list of employees shown on the Employee connection field to be limited to only the employees that are a part of the selected Department.



The Show option will prevent the Employee field from showing employees in the Sales or Operations departments when the Marketing department is selected.

How to Create Dependent Dropdowns on a Form

Here’s how you can set this up in your own forms using connections and the Show option.

  1. In the Data section of the builder, you’ll need three objects setup:
  • Departments
  • Employees
  • Projects
  1. Next, you’ll need to have the following connections setup between the objects:
  • Many Employees connect to one Department.
  • Each Project connects to one Department.
  • Each Project connects to one Employee.

Note: The Show filter only works with “one-to-many” or “one-to-one” connections.

In this case, Department and Employee will be the connection fields on the form, and they have a one-to-many relationship with the Project object.


  1. In the Pages section of the builder, select a page with the Add Project form or create a new Add Project form.
  1. Click on the Add Project form on its page to open the editor.
  1. Add inputs for both the Department and Employee connection fields:


  1. Hover over the Employee input field and click the edit “pencil” icon:


  1. On the edit input window, you’ll see the Show option and can select to show only Employees connected to this form’s Department:


You’re done!


Welcome Jessie and Craig!

06/22/2017 Posted by Brandon

This month, we’re happy to announce the arrival of not one but TWO new Knacksters! Our team has grown exponentially over the past couple of years, but we’ve never had two additions in such a short span, and we’re very excited to hit the ground running with these folks.


Jessie and Craig during their interviews (we may have a habit of secretly snagging screenshots from time to time).

Jessie Tully is our newest Customer Success team member. She has a background in product consulting and is something of a data wizard. She works from her new home in Beacon, New York, though during her trial, she was living in Brooklyn less than two blocks away from me! During group interviews, it’s customary for candidates to give a short presentation on a topic of their choice. Jessie’s was about how she makes bread from scratch. We were all drooling during her slideshow and I’m still distraught that I wasn’t able to procure some before she relocated upstate. I haven’t given up hope, though.

Our second new Knackster is Craig Lafferty, a DevOps and systems engineer. Craig works from home in Wisconsin, adding vital representation to the Midwest Knackster contingent. Craig has a passion for maker spaces and democratizing more of the tools and knowledge to build things. His background is in corporate America, but we won’t hold that against him — it made him realize how much he missed the speed and agility of working with a small company.

We want to extend the warmest possible welcome to Jessie and Craig! We can’t wait to see what they bring to Knack. We know their contributions will make our product and our team even stronger, and if they also include homemade bread, that would be okay, too.

Feature Highlight: Inline Editing

06/08/2017 Posted by Odalis

Inline editing allows users to edit fields directly from a table, without using a form. So instead of jumping between edit forms to update different records, all changes can be made from the same page.

For example, admins of this business directory app can quickly make updates to businesses by clicking on any field on the table they want to edit:

You’ll see that fields that are editable with inline editing will be highlighted. When clicked, a small pop-up window will show up so an update can be made.

Note: Changes made through inline editing won’t trigger record rules or emails. Those are only triggered by updates submitted through a form.

How to Add Inline Editing to a Table

Now that you’ve seen how inline editing works, here are the steps for adding it to your tables.

1. In the Pages section of the builder, select the page that holds the table you want to add inline editing to.

2. Click on the table on that page to open the editor.

3. Go to the Options section and select the box next to “Inline Editing”:

Note: When inline editing is enabled, it will affect any editable fields. However, if there are fields where you don’t want to allow inline editing, you can specify that.

For example, in the table below, all fields have inline editing enabled. But we don’t want the Business ID field to have inline editing enabled.

To remove inline editing from that field, we’ll go to the Columns section of the editor. We’ll hover over the Business ID column and click the edit “pencil” icon:

Then we’ll set the “Allow Inline Editing” property to No:

That process can be repeated for any fields that shouldn’t have inline editing enabled.

Feature Highlight: Row Summaries

06/01/2017 Posted by Odalis

Tables can be great for reporting and gaining quick insights into your data. Especially with a feature like row summaries. With row summaries, you can add numerical summaries to your tables.

For example, we have an Order Items report that includes the amount spent on each order item. To see the total amount spent on all order items, we’ve added a sum row summary called “Total” to the table:

To get more insights, we then added row summaries to see the average, minimum and maximum amounts spent on order items:

For more features on using tables as reports, try out grouping or display rules that add color and icons to your tables.

How to Add Row Summaries to a Table

Now that you’ve seen how row summaries work, here are the steps for adding them to your tables.

1. In the Pages section of the builder, select the page that holds the table you want to add row summaries to.

2. Click on the table on that page to open the editor.

3. Go to the Options section and click the “Add Summary” link next to Row Summaries:

4. Select whether you want to summarize the sum, average, maximum, or minimum of the values and rename the label on the left as you like:

5. To add more row summaries, click on the green “plus” icon. You can add as many row summaries as you need:

Note: When row summaries are enabled, any numeric columns will automatically be summarized. However, if there are columns that you don’t want to be summarized, you can specify that.

For example, in the table below, there are three columns being summarized: Qty, Price, and Total. But we only want the total column to be summarized.

To remove the summary from the Qty and Price columns, we’ll go to the Columns section of the editor. We’ll hover over the Qty column and click the edit “pencil” icon:

Then we’ll set the “Allow Summary” property to No:

That process can be repeated for any columns that shouldn’t be summarized.

April Updates

05/25/2017 Posted by Brandon

Okay, so we know this is an April update going out in mid-May. Our only explanation is that for most of us the weather has finally turned nice so we’ve been distracted by the lovely outdoors! So if it’s nice outside, take a moment in the sun to catch up on what’s been happening at Knack.

Recent Upgrades

This month brought helpful improvements to how you navigate your way through the Knack builder. Using the builder should be as simple as possible, and we think these changes will help.

The improvements include changes to easier access to the dashboard from your apps, a new app settings menu and an updated help menu to better enable you to find the assistance you need:


Read the full write-up or watch a video overview of the new changes on our blog.

Product Updates

We’re constantly working on updates and improvements. Here’s what’s recently happened.

Builder Upgrades

  • When importing, any new fields that are being created are now highlighted with a green background so they are easier to track.
  • We added links to embed and view start pages directly from the dropdown menu in the pages menu.
  • We added “view live app” text to the eyeball icon to make it more obvious.

Mobile Upgrades

For Apple devices you can now use the “add to home screen” feature and it will retain some native app behavior. We’ll be adding similar functionality for Android devices.

Check out our weekly product updates here:


Follow the latest on what’s coming next with the Knack product here:

New to the Roadmap

Security Features – Active

Adding a series of security features, starting with better password validation and enforcement.

Import Updates – Active

General improvements on importing data into your database.

PDF Integrations – Planning

Add new actions to map fields to PDF templates and then email or store those created files.

Customer Story: Shalley & Murray


Sometimes the simplest app can be the most effective. For Don Murray and James Shalley, criminal defense attorneys in New York City, this meant replacing “spreadsheet madness” with a call tracker app that grew to completely streamline their operations.

Read the full case study here.

Want to share your story? We’re always looking for Knack customers who have an amazing story to share. Click here to get started.

In Case You Missed It


Commuting is a little different with a remote team, so we took a look at how our team does it. For most of us, we can measure the distance in feet. The shortest measured in at 3.5 steps.

Hint: our biggest delay was for coffee.

View the full post and infographic here:

Thank You!

We wanted to thank everyone that has tweeted about Knack, referred Knack to a friend, or taken the time to provide a testimonial or share your story.

We rely on our awesome customers to continue to grow and build the platform, so thank you for helping us do that!

Cheers and happy building!

-Team Knack

Feature Highlight: Automatically Capture a User’s Location

05/25/2017 Posted by Odalis

Forms work well for capturing information from any user. But mistakes can happen when entering information that creates more work for you!

For example, let’s say you offer your customers on-site services for the equipment they’ve purchased. You’ve noticed that in the last few requests the service location has been incorrect. For one request that resulted in your team getting to the customer 2 hours later than expected.

You could set up a new process for verifying service locations, or you could capture those locations automatically. No user input required.


How to Automatically Capture a User’s Location

Here’s how you can set this up in your own form using a Record Rule:

  1. In the Pages section of the builder, select the page that holds the form you want to use to capture the user’s location.
  1. Click on the form on that page to open the editor.
  1. Go to the Form Rules section and then click on the Record Rules tab:

  1. Click the “Add Rule” button and use the following settings for your record rule:
  • Action Update this record
  • When leave blank, unless you only want to capture the location under specific circumstances
  • Values Set {select your Address field} to the user’s current location

Note: This will work for Address fields with either the Address or Latitude/Longitude input type:

Feature Highlight: Table Grouping

05/18/2017 Posted by Odalis

Tables are an excellent way to display information in your Knack apps.  Especially since they offer many features to further organize your data for easy understanding.

For example, let’s say you want to create a table that quickly shows which donors are making the most donations. So you start with a table that shows all donations:


It’s not a bad start, but it’s not easy to tell who your best donors are. That’s where a feature like grouping can make all the difference.

Grouping allows you to group records by a common value in selected table columns. Here’s what your table will look like when it’s grouping the donations by donor:



With a header row for each donor and their donations listed below them, you can see who’s in the giving spirit, at a glance.

Plus, since the “Amount” column was already totaled using a Row Summary, the grouping now shows the total per donor. Though there’s still a complete total for all donors at the bottom of the table:


How to Add Grouping to a Table

Now that you’ve seen what grouping can do, here are the steps for adding it to your tables.

  1. In the Pages section of the builder, select the page that holds the table you want to add grouping to.
  1. Click on the table on that page to open the editor.
  1. Hover over the column you want to add grouping to and click the edit “pencil” icon to edit that column.
  1. Enable the grouping option by checking the “Grouping” box:


Note: Any columns that are grouping records will automatically move to the front of the table. A small “group” icon will appear on that column to indicate it is grouping:


For a quick video walkthrough of this process, see below:

Introducing User Pages

05/17/2017 Posted by Odalis

We’re happy to announce our new user pages. These pages are designed to help your users complete admin tasks, like updating their account information.

User pages will show up in their own user menu in the top-left corner of your live app:


You can create and access user pages from their own section of the Pages tab in the builder:


Like standard pages, you can make user pages accessible to all users or only certain user roles.

So you can have an Account Update page for Customers to update their personal details and view their recent orders. While Vendors can have an Account Update page to update their contact information and product offerings.

A full summary of user pages can be found here, and you can watch a video overview below:

Case Study: Shalley & Murray

04/18/2017 Posted by Brandon

Speaking with Don Murray for a Knack case-study was a delight. Don had effusively positive things to say about Knack, even going so far as to say he felt he’d dreamed us into existence!

Don and his partner James Shalley use Knack to help them keep track of client calls and case information for their New York City criminal law firm, Shalley and Murray.

Prior to finding Knack, they were consumed by what Don called “spreadsheet madness.” Knack is such a superior solution to spreadsheets that we always love hearing about these stories.

As a New Yorker and an avid Law and Order viewer, talking to an NYC criminal attorney was in and of itself pretty exciting. And learning that Knack is often present (via phone or tablet) on their table during court was also very cool to hear.

Towards the end of our call, I asked Don whether he’d be willing to send us any images of the app itself that he could share. However, Don thought his app may be too simple to be impressive or inspiring. After hearing about how much time and business Knack had saved his firm, I quickly challenged that notion.

If anything, the simplicity of Don’s app makes it all the more noteworthy. The most complex solution isn’t always the best, and the most powerful apps sometimes don’t need to take advantage of advanced features.

What makes Knack so powerful is, in my opinion, its flexibility. It can work just as well for huge corporations as for mom-and-pop businesses; it can be equally powerful in the hands of senior developers and users who’ve never written a line of code in their lives. We may have a lot of complex features, but those definitely aren’t required for an app to be effective.

The bottom line is that it helps Don and James do what they do best. And for Shalley & Murray, their call tracker app is only the beginning. As Don himself said, “We have all kinds of plans for Knack.” We can’t wait to see what they are.

Click here to read the full case study.

Team Knack’s Commute By the Numbers

04/07/2017 Posted by Danielle

Here at Team Knack we really value our remote culture. In fact, we see it as more of a lifestyle choice than a working condition. Increased time with family and pets is a huge draw, and proximity to our refrigerators doesn’t hurt, either.

For Walk to Work Day 2017, we decided to quantify another positive byproduct of working remotely: shorter commutes. Some of us work a few steps away from where we sleep, while others (Steve) are overachievers who actually drive to a coworking space.

Differences aside, one thing is clear: none of us is likely to win a Fitbit challenge anytime soon.

Take a look at the breakdown below, and if you’re looking to shorten your own commute, be sure to check out our jobs page, since we’re always on the lookout for new Knacksters!

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