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10 Tips & Tricks When Building a Knack App

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

I have a downloadable PDF on my website where I list 10 very useful tricks, tips, best practices ... or whatever you want to call them ... when building a Knack database app. Here I go through each one, well 5 of them in part 1, then the others in part 2. Check them out, some good stuff.


Full Transcript

hey folks uh dave parrish here at knack


uh doing another uh video on some neck

functionality um today's

topic are 10 tips

actually part one i'm just gonna do five

of them and i don't want the video to be

too long and then i'll do another one

with the other five now i have a thing

on my website by the way a little pdf

that you can

enter your email and download these

these are

pretty useful things uh none of them are

really rocket science

and each one of them i probably

addressed in

uh other videos i've done either

in a whole and a lot of uh deep dive

type of stuff

or as parts of other things but um each

one i'm useful so i thought i'd do a

collection of them

right in one video and by the way if you

go to my website

there i am uh

down at the bottom 10 tips you can add

your name

and email and and you'll get that or

not a couple of pages you're going to

end up with a

with a light box popping in right there

and saying hey

let's do this so i'll be back in a

moment and i will

go through those thanks guys bye


okay i'm back let's jump into these 10


or best practices or really whatever you

want to call them these are helpful

things that you can often

call upon to improve some functionality

or make things easier for you or just

have a more uh solid app here's the

first one auto increment

date uh created i did a whole

video on this as one of the most

important things you could do but

you know in almost every object or table

i don't care which one it is i'm going

to make one it's called date created

you set it to the current date you can

capture time if you want

and auto increment you may use auto

increment for

for a specific reason used in the live


uh invoice number or whatever a

reference number but

this uh if i don't have one something

like that an object i'm still putting

auto increment and often it's just a

behind the scenes feeling

but when you're troubleshooting the back


um looking for issues with records

when they were created i mean

depending on your plan you may be able

to go see the history of it

but you gotta drive down and that can

sort of be a pain

this gives you when it was created which

can narrow down

searching for a problem really easy and

it gives every single one of them

you're sure that they have a unique id

so if you're referencing someone you're

working with other people you're gonna

say hey i need number

let's go check out number 55 you're not

saying oh

the one on this stage it's called this

and that no you're going right to it

uh that can be very helpful and then

even further with that if you're

doing some more of the you know slightly


uploads where you want to match records

instead of just add to them

you're going to make sure you want a

unique id and that's going to be helpful


so there's one of them next one re-index


um i'm gonna

you may already know what i'm talking

about but if you create

let's say a

count function i want this to count the

number of line items

for each order well when you first

create this

i'm going to do it right here i'm just

going to say count line item orders

there it is count if i go to the records

go over here that's blank i don't know

when that runs it

at some point it's going to populate

but it's not right now you may need this

because you're working on it you want to

wait around um

now i'm just going to get rid of that

because this is a real app

but i can create i don't even know if i

have it in this one but

let's say i create a multiple choice i'm

just going to call

it i'm going to put a star so i know

it's behind the scenes

and i'm going to call it update and i'm

just going to put one option up

it doesn't matter what these words are

my point is

i now have that field if i go to records

do an update don't i don't need to

qualify it

and sell it to make update

update whatever word you want to use run

that update

what it does is go through all the

records and updates

um and i think it's what's called


it it goes and forces it to do the

things it does

and as a result that

field after you run that almost always

is immediately populated

and other times especially when you have

objects with a whole lot of records in


uh you may want to set a task to run

that daily i just ran into this the

other day we had an

aging thing when something was entered

and how long the first step in some


uh changed and they wanted to capture


um and it wasn't updated it would just

sit there and not change they would go

by the valley would remain the same

um so i made a task to run that similar


every day and that just worked it forces

it if there's ever an issue

to update everything so uh

that's a useful one too let's see what

we got next this is a great


sometimes when you're has nothing to do

with knack really but

sometimes when you're you have an app

especially if you're deploying it out to

a number of different users and

they may not be in the same location and

you want to get them you know you want

to teach them how to use it

now you could create a you know word


and pdf and you know do something like

that and it's really

sort of a pain help site is a website

it's called

and allows these things that are called


i'm gonna get one right here uh

knowledge bases

and here's one for an app we did but

they're interactive

and you can it's really easy to put in


just drag and drop images you can put

arrows at a point

here's how you do this don't forget to

do this you can even drop in videos

and show someone how to do something


they can search uh let's say delete

any article with the word delete is

gonna pre-populate so

it's really professionals and i've done

it a bunch of times and

most of the time i use the free version


but there's other ones with higher

levels of anything but

check that out it's a really nice thing

let's see what we got next here

pop-ups and you're probably used to

problems but i love them

let's let's do an example i mean i think

the user experience using pop-ups

is awesome um this is as simple

as this here add order now we're just

grabbing a few pieces of information

and all they have to do is click submit

and this is set to now return to the

parent page

it's best if there's just a few pieces

of information

and you're not nesting pop-ups with

other pop-ups and

other pop-ups that can get weird um

but when they press submit it's just

going to go right back here it's also

really good if you just need to know

something a little bit about this

i don't know it could be whatever you

have a detailed page instead of


to a whole other page it's gonna be a

pain um

it just pops it up right there and you

see it quick now

let's if this add order

if this wasn't a pop-up it would look


this and we don't need all this white

space for this

just to add this a little bit and then

they have to navigate back

or potentially i just don't like it i

like pop-ups and by the way

real quick if if they haven't finished

this and meaning they haven't they've

filled out stuff but haven't clicked


and they click off to the side it's just

going to go away that's

next default it doesn't really bother me

for a lot of my clients it does

there is a uh by the way a piece of code

right here

it's index development docs uh which you

can find

just google mac development docs and

you'll find end up finding this

little tiny bit of code you'd have to

adjust where the scene is

or apply to the whole thing uh and that


disable that so if you click off to the


it won't get rid of this so sometimes

that's useful

okay now what do we got last one

full width setting i don't know if this

is a big deal to a lot of people

it is i go to every app and make it full

width setting

and i'm going to just give you an

example this and i find a lot of clients

like it too

this is forward setting this this may be

subtle but go to

live app design it's got these and for

the life of me i can't figure out what

either one of these means in terms of

the words that are here

full width on even really big monitors

max width so they don't stretch too what

maybe i'm just obtuse but

regardless if it's max width let's save


go back here refresh it so we get it

what it does you got a scroll bar here

and it puts another scroll bar here

you know i mean again this may be so i

know there's some apps i can't recall

which ones there that this it's

really really annoying you you're trying

to scroll up and down and depending

where this is

your cursor is it's scrolling here or

you're inside and scrolling there

um this i'm gonna call it nested


can just make things awkward uh

rather i set them all almost all of them

to full width

um it doesn't do that there's no

it's just scrolling one scrolling you're

not going back and forth

um i like it better

that's that okay

next time i'll do these other six so

hold on tight

um that's all i got i appreciate it

folks if you uh

you like this you know how to like it or

ring the bell

or subscribe to my channel i appreciate

it take care thanks

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