Knack Blog

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

 

Eating our own Dog Food

11/06/2014 Posted by Brandon

A common phrase for software companies is to eat your own dog food.

The basic idea is that if you expect someone to actually pay for your product then your own team better be able to use that product as well. If you won’t eat your own dog food you have no business selling it.

We’re big proponents of this and use Knack every day to help with our work productivity:

  • Project Management: we have a project database we us to track custom jobs, where we manage hours with our timer field and calculate budgets and payments.
  • Marketing Reports: we track all our sign-ups along with some internal information on referrals and other marketing metrics.
  • CRM: we track all our customers including plans, sign-up dates, status and more for quick access and reference.
We recently announced multiple job openings and when considering how we would manage the application process it was a no-brainer to use Knack.

We started with our existing Job Listings example app and tweaked that for our precise needs.

This allowed us to embed the app in our public-facing website so we could list our job descriptions and receive applications. We added a little custom CSS so it matched well with the Knack design:

There’s also an HR login where we can view the applications, add notes and rankings, and track the application process. After emails and interviews we can update each application with notes and comments that everyone can access.

So far the Knack app has worked great as we’ve processed through tons of applications and even made a new hire (hi Nic!).

We’ll continue to post updates on other Knack apps we’re building to help manage our business and how our dog food is tasting.

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Case Study: Great Food Group

10/27/2014 Posted by Brandon

Patrick Albrecht is a restauranteur in Atlanta, GA. He manages two busy restaurants and banquet venues for Great Food Group: Paul’s and Social Vinings.

Of course managing any one business alone is enough for most people, but two? How does Patrick and others like him do it?

“The restaurant industry has always been hesitant to adapt technology, but we’ve found using tech is essential for creating efficiencies,” is how Patrick put it.

Patrick explained that while employing technology leads to efficiencies, deploying multiple solutions can have it’s disadvantages.

“We had too many software services. We needed a single solution that could handle all of it.”

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Knack is Hiring!

10/02/2014 Posted by Brandon

We’re continuing to see tremendous growth here at Knack and we’re looking to add to our team to help take Knack to the next level.

You can view our available positions at our new jobs page here.

Although we’ve defined some specific positions, we’re much more interested in fit and culture. We’re not looking for hired-guns — we want team members to join our long-term vision and be invested in building something great!

To help spread the word we’re offering a free year of Knack to any referrals you send our way that we end up hiring. We know we’ll find the best candidates from our awesome customers who understand what Knack is all about.

Please spread the word to any talented techies you know who want to be a part of a great company building a great product!

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New Feature: Copy Pages

10/01/2014 Posted by Brandon

You can now copy any of the start pages in your interface. Click on the page from the left menu, and then click on the “Copy Page” link in the right column:

A new window will pop up where you can give the copied page a name:

Click “Save” and your new page will be copied into your interface. All views and child pages will also be copied with it.

Combined with the ability to re-use pages this can help save time when you start to work with many pages in your interface.

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New Feature: Add a Custom Logo

09/26/2014 Posted by Brandon

You can now add your own custom logo to your Knack apps! Combined with custom colors you can now customize your app to match your own look and branding.

Click on the settings icon in the top left, and then the “Custom Logos” tag from the “Layouts & Colors” tab:

Click “Upload Logo” to browse and upload your logo, and then “Save Logo” to submit it. This will add the logo to your app:

When you view you app the logo will now display in the header at the top:

Some notes on using your logo:

  • A transparent .PNG or .GIF file will display best on top of the gradient background.
  • No resizing is done, so make sure you resize the logo before uploading.
  • The logo only shows up on the hosted version of your app at the knack.com domain. It won’t display on embedded apps.

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New Feature: Table Grouping

09/18/2014 Posted by Brandon

We’ve upgraded our table views to include record grouping. You can now use the values of a column to group common records together.

Here’s how that can look for grouping item orders around the vendor that each item is from:

If your table is displaying any summaries, like totals or averages, those will also be displayed for the first level of each group.

You can indicate which column to group with by editing that column in your table:

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

Table grouping is currently in beta, so please get in touch if anything appears off.

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Updates to Date Filters

09/12/2014 Posted by Brandon

We’ve added a new date filter for “current” date increments:

We’ve also updated our during the next and during the previous filters. These are now exclusive of the current increment.

So a filter for “during the previous 2 weeks” would not include the current week.

“during the previous 2 weeks” was originally labled as “during the last 2 weeks” which was causing some confusion.

If you were using these filters for rolling increments use days instead. For example, the next rolling year could be the next 365 days.

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Make Copies of your Apps

09/11/2014 Posted by Brandon

You can now make copies of your apps directly from your dashboard!

One of our most common requests is to copy apps that have been built, for a variety of reasons:

  • Test out new features without affecting a live app.
  • Create a copy for another user.
  • Copy a “template” app as a starting point to modify for new apps.
This is now possible from your dashboard:

https://builder.knack.com

Just click on the “gears” settings icon by any app:

Eventually we’ll be adding further settings functionality.

For now that triggers a Copy App window where you can set the new app name, and determine whether you want to copy the app and records, or just the app only:

Your copied app will be immediately available in your list of apps.

Please note:

  • Copied apps still count towards your plan’s app limit.
  • Large numbers of records or assets could take a while to copy. You can use the app while that is completing.

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Single Sign-On Refresh

09/02/2014 Posted by Brandon

We’ve recently refreshed the Single Sign-on (SSO) options for Knack logins.

SSO options allow your users to authenticate their login with other services like Facebook and Google:

Google Plus

Due to changes from Google, we’ve recently had to migrate to the new Google Plus model. You’ll have to now set up a Google Plus app and update the credentials in your login views to reflect that:

Note: as long as the user emails have not been changed the same Google Plus account should connect to any user accounts that were created using the previous Google login.

Twitter

We’ve also added Twitter as an additional SSO option.

The big caveat with Twitter is that the email is not provided for the authenticated user. This means it can’t be used to connect to existing accounts and that the email must be added as an additional registration step.

HelpPlease click here for more info on setting up SSO options:

http://support.knack.com/knowledge_base/topics/logins-and-registrations#sso

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Knack Design Refresh

08/04/2014 Posted by Eric

Wow how time does fly. 4 years ago we started developing Knack with a small handful of eager customers so they could start building their own online databases and web apps.

Since that time we've added a ton of new features, redesigned our website, tried countless experiments, and even changed our name.

The one thing that has not received much attention was the design of the Knack builder. It's always taken the back seat to other priorties. It's even using our old color scheme of blue and orange!

That all changed this year as we've been working on a design refresh. The timing was right because of how much we've learned from you – our customers! You've shown us what needed to be better and we wanted to implement those improvements.

We're currently planning on making this new builder design live in the near future. We want to walk through some of the changes and improvements that you can expect to see:

Improved Design

  • An open and larger design, with more room to work.
  • More of that great Knack fuschia color!
  • Less clutter – app settings have been moved a small icon in the far upper left.
More Intuitive
  • Adding scenes now has a wizard to greatly simplify the process. This is a big one and combines many steps that had to be done separately before.
  • “Scenes” are now called “Pages” because pages just made more sense.
  • User Logins can be added straight from the database or interface if needed.
Easier To Use
  • Available options are more obvious and eaiser to access.
  • Editing views will use the full browser instead of just a small window.
  • Fields can be added with drag and drop.
New Features

  • Storage limits can be viewed and managed in your dashboard app list.
  • Search views can show results by default.
  • Lists can optionally hide empty fields from displaying.
Screenshots for the new design after the break:

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