Product Performance and Reliability

I see a great deal of frustration about app performance and reliability being voiced in this and other forums, and I am hoping you’ll spend a moment with me to read this. Before going any further though, I would like to thank each one of you who has been vocal, and acknowledge that there are
more Knack users who have been silently frustrated. It is a signal of how passionate you are about Knack, to the point where for some of you, it’s your entire business model and source of income.

I would also like to call out collective appreciation for @Bill and @Marek and everyone on their team for their tireless efforts in trying to pinpoint specific issues and relay them back to the Knack engineering team.

While the majority of Knack users have not had a degraded experience since the change in database technology between August and October, there are those who obviously have.
There have been many changes recently at Knack and this post an attempt to give everyone transparency and visibility into these changes and how Knack is addressing them.

Starting with performance and reliability:

Performance Examples: this relates to (but is not limited to):

  • Form submissions
  • Pivot table rendering
  • Returning results on grouped reports
  • Knack Spinners

Reliability examples: this relates to (but is not limited to):

  • 4xx, 5xx, and network errors
  • Task Failures

There is not one person at Knack who does not deeply care about making performance and reliability better. I feel very strongly that this is a true statement.

There has been a lack of communication from Knack to users regarding visibility into what we are already doing and plan on doing to address this.
I hope that we are able to regain some of your trust, starting today.

We have had our entire back-end engineering staff working on performance and reliability improvements.

With the recent benefit of the Resurgens investment, Knack can double our engineering team and quadruple our QA team in the next 6 months.
We will be able to hire additional Support staff so your tickets get attention sooner.
We have been able to invest in tooling for benchmark testing so we have actual proof of improvements, and if not, quickly pivot and figure out what’s not working.
We have brought in industry experts that are providing guidance on maximizing database queries. We have been unraveling the causes of 5xx errors and correcting those as fast as possible.
Each Engineering sprint has a specific focus on the performance AND reliability side- improving report speed, improving form submissions reliability, resolving x number of 5xx errors.

It will take time for some of you to see benefits.

We have confidence that every user will be see continued improvements.
It is our goal to continue working on this until performance and reliability become such a non-issue that hopefully this post ends up at the bottom of a dusty long-lost thread.

There are some complex Live Apps that are slow to load pages or render a table or a half-dozen other areas. That is a different project being worked on separately than the performance and reliability issues mentioned above. We are in the very early stages of mapping out a plan that offers the most beautiful, functional, and modern (but non-breaking) Live App experience.
I do not have a timeline for this yet.

I have read comments that rightfully so, ask us not to release any new features and only focus on performance. I deeply understand that point of view, and would like to reassure you that any new feature development is absolutely not taking away from the laser-focus on performance and reliability work.
That is solely a product of me joining Knack in mid-October and being able to partner with fairly new front-end (think user-interface/user experience) engineers who have a different skill set and background than the back-end engineers. It didn’t take long for us to create a backlog of ‘friction points’ that we could quickly start knocking out, in conjunction with planning the future state of Knack.

If you have read this far, I thank you. As someone fairly new to Knack, one of the reasons I joined Knack and am excited to come to work every day (from my living room) is because I saw how deeply
Knack users and Knacksters care about Knack.

I’m not on the Board, I’m not an executive, I’m just the new product team. And I sincerely give a shit about what pains you and delights you. I have learned so much from those of you I have already met and I am excited to learn more.
I would love to open my calendar up to everyone, but I am also trying to build out this team, starting with a Product Designer :smiling_face:
I am very proud and humbled that I was able to join Knack. They are super smart, dedicated, and care deeply about each Knack user. From my end, I promise more transparency from Knack from this point on - you’ll get sick of me quickly, I’m pretty certain.

If you want to chat, please email product@knack.com.

Kara

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@Kara - Thank you for taking the time to share this detail with the forum. I appreciate that you have only recently joined and have been working tirelessly to get under the skin of Knack. We’ve talked on many occasions and I’m sure that with your product management and increasing team, these issues will be addressed over time.
As a partner, I’m always keen and willing to assist wherever I can to help drive this forward.
Personally, I’m thrilled that you’ve joined the team. :rocket:

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@Kara I also want to thank you for sharing this. In the short time I have known you, I have been delighted to see that you truly care about Knack users and the quality of Knack as a product. I can confirm you do really and truly give a sh** about Knack users, partners and the performance of the platform. Because of that I’m more hopeful than ever about what Knack will become after tackling the challenges you’ve laid out in your post.
It has been a fresh breeze in my sails to finally feel like we partners and users have an advocate that is fighting for us. @Kara, thank you so much for that.
I am also willing to help in any way to help you and Knack succeed!

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@Kara Thank you for sharing. To echo my fellow Knack partners, we are thrilled to have you and feeling optimistic about the future. Please let me know if I can help in any way.
Rooting for you and the entire Knack team.

Ian

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@Kara Glad you’re here! Your attention and care gives me more confidence in the future of Knack and the quality of my apps.

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@Kara Well phrased. Knack is a unique platform. TBH, it is that uniqueness that has kept me from moving on. Glad to hear concerns are being heard and steps are being taken to address these issues. I also sincerely give a shit. Wishing you the very best of luck and I’m promising to offer support and constructive feedback wherever possible.

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@Kara Thanks for this Kara. Really appreciate the honest feedback. We all love Knack and what it can do for us and our clients, but it has been concerning of late to see the various issues and more importantly the lack of open communication to us as customers. I think we all understand there will always be issues to resolve from time to time, but when these are not communicated honestly (or ignored), the frustration and concern begins to set in.
Anyway, much appreciated, and heres to a positive future!
Craig

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Been a client for almost a decade now I believe. I always thought Knack had greater potential than many other products I have tried but the pace of change in compared to the competition was gruelingly slow as you are now aware. The equity investment was badly needed to reinvigorate the system. I have a large and complicated app that I want to get out into the market at some point, but I need more things to evolve, improve and become more reliable and I am willing to keep riding forward with the new team. We aren’t worried about a bug or something being messed up, we know that happens. We worry when the problem isn’t openly discussed or can’t see that a solution is being worked on. It is refreshing to see transparency and active communication. Welcome aboard!

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I trust the benefit of working face to face with a team is also in the future for Knack as you alluded to working from home.

Hi @Christophe68135 - Knack has always been a remote company, whether this will change in the future I can’t say: Knack: Careers

You had us at ‘shit’. :wink:

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Thank you for the update Kara, your attention and caring goes a long way. Keep up the good work and thanks for putting some timelines in place to help us manage expectations.

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Kara, Great to see you join the Knack product team!
Am now more optimistic than ever.
Happy Holidays!
Tom Gerry

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@Kara - I appreciate your post from December 22nd. It is now January 18th, and we have still not seen any improvements since these issues arose several months ago. Are there any more updates or an ETA on when the issues will be resolved?

Hi @JasonCarte41769 ,
We have released many improvements over the past month (short summary here ).
Without knowing more details about what you are experiencing, it’s tough to say what specific resolution will help out your account. Do you have a ticket open with Support with some more detailed information I could take a look at?
Thanks,
Kara

Silver replied

Jan 19, 10:32

Hi Kara,

Well, the backend transition of your database technology system is what caused all the problems for us in the first place. We’ve been talking with Bill about this.
We use a lot of inline editable tables and the response time is excruciatingly slow. This has cost us a lot of money in time lost over the last months and we have a very frustrated team here. Unless this can be fixed in the very near future we’ll be forced to change database platforms, something I’d rather not do.

Looking forward to hearing from you.
-silver


Silver Sorensen
Co-Owner | Atomic Disc
production@atomicdisc.com
(503) 610-2929 | 1288 Liberty St. NE | Suite 170 | Salem, OR 97301
www.atomicdisc.com

Knack Community Forum sent a message

Jan 18, 15:18

2248_2.png Kara Knack Team
January 18

Hi @JasonCarte41769 ,
We have released many improvements over the past month (short summary here ).
Without knowing more details about what you are experiencing, it’s tough to say what specific resolution will help out your account. Do you have a ticket open with Support with some more detailed information I could take a look at?
Thanks,
Kara

Thanks for the info - I will chat with Bill and get back to you.