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It Happened in Vegas, But I Can’t Leave It There

It’s just too good to leave behind. What am I talking about?

FileMaker Developer Conference 2016, of course. Yes, we were in Las Vegas, Nevada, again this year, at the same venue (The Cosmopolitan) as in 2015. (And boy, does it get hot in Vegas in July!)

This was another really good conference. I had the privilege of participating in some “extracurricular” activities this year, such as being invited to be one of 5 initial Community MVPs. The MVP program is a recognition of individuals who have given frequent, quality contributions to the FileMaker community (mostly, the developer community forum). That was an honor, and really very flattering. I was able to meet with FileMaker representatives and the other MVP who attended the conference, Mike Beargie of MainSpring.

Beyond that, I was able to attend the Breakfast of Champions to celebrate the FileMaker Champions program. This program aims to increase awareness of the FileMaker platform and its benefits. Worth checking out if you’re a developer, or just curious about how FileMaker can benefit your business.

(As an aside, I missed my connecting flight in Dallas due to some weather in Columbia, SC and because we had to wait for a plane to push away from our gate. Plane left 10 minutes before I did. Sigh. But big-time grateful shout out to American Airlines for handling the situation really well. Not only did they set me up on a later flight, they already had me booked before I landed. Well done, guys!)

Okay, on to the conference itself. Three and a half days of networking, technical presentations and sessions, and vendor demonstrations. Really a rich experience. If you’re a developer and have never attended DevCon, I urge you to find time and money to go. It’s hugely beneficial.

What did we learn this year? Well, here are some of the highlights of the sessions I attended:

On Monday, we had the Custom Web Publishing User Group, headed by Joel Shapiro. He’s done this User Group at DevCon for the last 10 years, and it never fails to please. Web publishing experts from all over the FileMaker community give their tips and tricks for pushing FileMaker data out to web pages, generally using the PHP API provided by FileMaker (although other methods are also showcased on occasion). For example:

Andrew Duncan of Databuzz gave several tips and tricks for building pages, such as how to use a grid view, how to mimic native FileMaker tools like editable drop-downs, tab controls, and popovers. (Hint: JavaScript)

Also demonstrated at the CWP User Group were mapping applications (including soil maps for agriculture), JavaScript web publishing, and syncing web solutions to FileMaker Go for offline use. Very, very cool stuff.

Right after the CWP User Group, we had the keynote. Some of what was discussed is under a nondisclosure agreement, but let’s put it this way: FileMaker is not sitting still.

On Day 2 (Tuesday), there was a general session to discuss a major new offering, coming soon from FileMaker. Currently, we use Internet hosting services such as to host solutions “in the cloud”, as it were. Well, it seems FileMaker is getting into the hosting business. They announced a new service known as FileMaker Cloud, partnering with Amazon Web Services to deliver scalable, user-manageable hosting. There will be a new version of the Admin Console for Server, specifically designed for the cloud, the ability to scale up or scale down the server resources dedicated to your FileMaker instance, and much, much more.

Other notable topics at the conference included how to manage electronic payments with FileMaker; JavaScript web publishing (Todd Geist of geistInteractive melted my brain – again – with this one); managing FileMaker in a corporate IT environment; best practices for documentation and standardizing your code; security; “under the hood” FileMaker design and behavior; performance; design; usability; and much, much more. Some truly excellent content was there, and I’ll be following up with additional blog posts about some of the techniques. So come back for more detail!

As you can see, DevCon offers a wealth of content for developers of any skill level. A really worthwhile event. Hope to see you next year! (I’m strongly considering presenting myself. Finally thought of a good topic or two.)

In the meantime, here are some photos from the event. Enjoy!