Is Knack Really This Bad, or Is It Me?

I am a new user, still in my trial period, and so far am finding this program so primitive as to be unusable. The instructions haven’t helped.

Is it really as bad as it seems, or is it me? To give some examples:

–In creating pages and views, the amount of the screen devoting to creating the view is tiny, so it’s hard to work. A huge amount of space in the left side is allocated to listing the pages. There doesn’t seem to be any way to shrink this.

–In creating a table view, there does not seem to be any way to order the columns. There also does not seem to be any way to adjust column width. Kind of defeats the purpose of creating a view. There also doesn’t seem to be a way to hide a cell that has too much text and then select it to expand it.

–The visual look in the user view is also terrible and very unprofessional looking. Doesn’t seem to be any way to customize this.

–In creating tables, you supposedly can order the fields by dragging them. I have not been able to get this to work. They drag but then go back to where they were.

–I put together a table view that includes data from two different objects. I added an option to show details - but it only shows details from one of the objects, not the whole record (from both objects). Again, I thought the point of a relational database was that you could pull from multiple objects.

All in all, I am about to give up and just hire someone to create a database with a program that requires coding, as I am concluding this no-code idea just is way too primitive. At this point, I’d be much better off with spreadsheets - at least I could have the whole screen to work, and can order columns, adjust their sizes, etc.

Is there something I am missing here? Also, wondering if the functionality is higher on a laptop. I am working from an Android, which I thought was going to be ok because Knack says that it is very mobile friendly, but maybe that is why I am having so many problems. Given the reviews it’s gotten, it’s hard to believe the program could be this primitive.

After exploring a little more, I found a way to supposedly adjust column headings in a table. But, I can’t make the columns smaller because there seems to be no way to wrap the header label. So, the label size determines the column width. Again, in Excel it would be easy to fix this problem. Why won’t Knack let you fix it?

Hi Allie,

I’ve read through your complaint and can assure you that Knack is a very powerful low code / no code relational database :blush:
I’m a Microsoft Certified Application Specialist in Excel and Access and spent most of my career, since 1996, building database solutions in Access.
I was introduced to Knack by a college in 2017.
I am now a Knack Partner and part of the Expert Network. I build solutions for various clients, mostly SME’s ranging from £1-30M turnover pa.

One of my clients uses Knack for service delivery for the UKs largest telecommunications company. The app has over 500 external and 60 internal users throughout the UK and manages the workflow of orders from request, survey, pricing, scheduling and installation.

Knack does have a learning curve and does require some studying to accomplish powerful results.

I’m not sure what device you are using whilst building but Knack is designed to be responsive on the front end using any device or browser.

The builder is designed to be used on a PC /MAC laptop or desktop. Trying to use the “builder” on a mobile device is not recommend and likely not possible depending on screen size.

All of the items you mention are possible natively, the exception is wrapping the column headings which can be achieved with a small snippet of CSS, see below.

If you’d like to discuss tutoring, mentoring or coaching then please contact me.
https://www.knack.com/experts#expert-directory/expert-details2/605b4a9dca4b85001bddc6da/

carlholmeschps@gmail.com

Add the below code to the CSS section and it will wrap your column headers where you have more than one word.

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Thanks so much for your rapid and knowledgeable reply! It’s reassuring to hear that this is a powerful product. We are a low budget org that can’t afford the products that require a $500/month subscription, so it’s great to be reassured that Knack might be able to meet our needs.

It was also very helpful to hear - as I suspected - that trying to use Builder on a tablet may be causing some of the problems. I wish Knack would have made that clear in their instructions - they emphasized repeatedly how mobile-friendly the program is, and didn’t specify that this is not the case when using Builder. I don’t use a laptop these days but will find one to use for this purpose.

I would love to get in touch with you for one or more tutoring/consulting sessions. I’ll have to see if TPTB here are willing to spend the money. :slight_smile: Thanks again!

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Hi Allie

I would like to first confirm all that Carl said - but also refer you to my blog which has articles about styling Knack apps and also automating it with Integromat:

You may also be interested in an article there “What you can achieve with No Code!” which describes the creation of a system for a Covid Testing company.

Finally, one point about having table headings over multiple lines - you can just put a <br> in there to break the heading where you want - and this is specific to a particular column.

Other than that, Carl and I have similar technical backgrounds (i.e. Access and now Knack) and I can also assure you that Knack is a pretty capable platform (especially in conjunction with Integromat).

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Hi Allie,

I’m glad that my reply and my colleges confirmation and additional resources have put your mind at rest. Knack is an awesome product and can be used to build some amazing solutions for very large organisations.

Julian has an excellent blog full of great information, I highly recommend viewing.

For sure, trying to use the builder on a tablet is not a great choice :blush:

Most of use full time developers use two separate monitors or similar setups. I personally use two 4K 28" monitors but equally use the builder on my Microsoft Surface which has a 12" screen. Highly recommend digging out a laptop for your project.

Very happy to connect and tutor if that is of interest. I currently tutor three other clients with app creation.

Also worth checking out Knacks YouTube channel which has a mix of Knack tutorials, webinar recordings, tips and tricks and Expert Partner contributions (some from me too :grin:)
I hope all this helps you on your journey.

FYI - The YouTube banner is from Knackcon London 2018 where Julian an I were guest panelists and Julian ran workshops on Integromat :blush:

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Hi Allie,

uch… Knack is all except primitive. Actually it is so sofisticated that you can do anything. There is definitely a learning curve.

I also thought I would build my app very fast, like in less then a month. But while building I realized all the power of Knack functionalities and my original App design improved drasticaly. :smiley:

Yes, for more personalized functionalities and styling we need to copy/paste some JavaScript or CSS codes, or conect a third specialized application. Knack is also adding functionalities in the builder.

Knack says the users App is responsive. Building is something too meticulous to execute on a small screen. It requires much patience and concentration, more or less depending on the complexity of your app.

The Knack Builder is highly intuitive and clear, which makes changing anything very easy and fast. Critical for improving your App over time.

You’ll find out that no platform is perfect and you’ll have to find a trade-off between many factors among price, intuitivity, responsive, storage, etc. Knack is sofisticated and with a great entry price. And much more to come!

Talk to the Knack Experts, they are very helpful and nice!

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Thanks a million to everyone who responded! This is one case where I am very happy to hear that I am the one at fault. :grinning:

The only other cloud-based no/low code program I had identified that was in our price range and fit our requirements was Caspio. But Caspio doesn’t allow one-step printing of reports unless you subscribe to the $500/month plan, and that is a deal breaker for my org. It’s great that Knack incorporates printing at even the lowest price points. So, I am going to recommend going with Knack.

I have been working exclusively on a tablet with bluetooth keyboard for several years now, as I had no real need to replace my laptop - the tablet did everything I needed. I guess that will end now, as I think that was likely one of the biggest source of my problems. But, it’s a small price to pay.

The one thing I would suggest for Knack is that they make such a big deal about being mobile-friendly, and I think it would help for them to make it explicit that this does not apply to using Builder.

Anyway, thanks again for all your help! I may be in touch with some of you directly if I get stuck again, or just want an expert to help speed things along.

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Hi Allie, I’m glad to hear that you are feeling better about Knack and have made the decision to continue.

I don’t know what you knowledge level is for database construction but its a bit like building a house, the foundations are key.
After understanding what the application is meant to do the next steps include table design, field types and relationships.
After that, data integrity, validation and workflow.

Creating a user friendly front end application that is intuitive and makes the complex simple is also a primary consideration.

I know I have already offered, and I’m not looking for extra work :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: but if there is a time that tuition / training would be of benefit, it is at the start of your journey rather than half way through.

It will be a lot easier to build a robust solution than unpick and rebuild.