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FileMaker DevCon 2017: Day 1

Contrary to my last post, the sky wasn’t clear for most of Day 1 of FileMaker DevCon. It was cloudy, cool, and rainy, the kind of rain that might dampen enthusiasm for an upcoming event. But that didn’t happen here.

There was no stopping the excitement that over 1,600 developers (a conference record) brought to the FileMaker developer conference. Day one, in particular, had many fun events for attendees.

FileMaker Developer Conference Training Day

FileMaker hosts a training day for the first day. There’s the typical beginner, intermediate, and advanced sessions. (The advanced session was led by Soliant Consulting’s CEO, Bob Bowers). However this year, FileMaker added two courses allowing many more to get involved: A project-management course led by Soliant’s Sara Severson and a training session called, “Connecting FileMaker To the Web,” led by Todd Geist. The wide scope of these sessions gave many more people a reason to attend.

Sara Severson’s session called, “Demystifying Agile Development: Practical Tools for the Risk-Averse,” gave the very-important project managers in the FileMaker community a place to learn and grow their skills. One of her assistants, Annie Tobiasiewicz, had this to say:

Sara did a fantastic job teaching and promoting agile methodologies to be used for projects. The FileMaker developer conference training session was a nice size that allowed for discussion between attendees in small groups. Not only was Sara able to cover all her planned material, but she was also able to answer questions that came up throughout the day. Attendees gained a larger understanding of agile in hopes that they can try it in their projects when they return home.

Bob Bowers’ advanced training session was extremely useful to all who attended. Beth Bennett reported that Bob’s session covered such advanced techniques as JSON, using card windows in creating pickers, virtual lists, Perform Script on Server, and ExecuteSQL. The attendees participated in many activities that gave them a taste of all that can be done. Tweets flew out of that session filled with the very awesome tips and tricks that were presented. Tweets from actual birds also bounced around the room as birds, taking up residence in that space, conversed together about the topics in the session and occasionally flew up to the screen to get a closer look.

FileMaker DevCon Keynote Session

After a long day of training, sitting, and participating, you’d think we’d be done and ready for food. But no. The main event was yet to come. At least an hour before the doors to the grand ballroom opened, people were waiting in the hallway, ready to get in and get the best seat for the opening session. People were ready – they were excited to hear about the current platform and what’s yet to come.

And boy, is the future bright and awesome.

The content of the keynote was great. Six numbers represented the current state of the company:

  • 16: the Current version of FileMaker
  • 1,600: FileMaker DevCon Attendees
  • 3,000,000: Downloads of FileMaker Go
  • 78 quarters of profitability
  • 1,300,000 subscriptions of the platform
  • 40% of FileMaker expenses spent on Research & Development

Andy LeCates, the Director of Product Evangelism, gave another chapter in some amazing customer stories from around the globe, including Soliant Consulting’s story about the Luke Commission with Ross Johnson and Josie Graham. He also spoke of the commitment of FMI to the platform for businesses of all sizes. Andy discussed the concept of bimodal IT, as well. If you’re interested in learning more about that topic, check out insights on bimodal IT from our CTO, Steve Lane.

And then of course, the FileMaker Product Team got up to talk about the future of the platform. I can’t share those details quite yet, but there are some exciting features ahead!

The keynote was great and filled with amazing ideas. But what struck me the most was the passion for the platform that each FileMaker team member — from the president to the director to the project managers — had in their own way. Each person brings to the platform their heart and soul to make sure it is the best it can be for the citizen and professional developers. It’s exciting to see where they want the platform to go, keeping it strong for advanced developers and making it easier for new developers to come to the table.

FileMaker DevCon Evening Reception

The night continued in the welcome reception area. Food and drink were stationed all throughout the large exhibitor hall, within an arm’s reach. And it was a time to say hi to old friends, meet new friends, eat, and simply enjoy time with fellow developers around the world.

As I was heading back to my room to practice and remember what I want to say in my session on Tuesday, I walked by many people still milling around the bar, in the lobby, and basically, anywhere there was space. Everyone was talking about FileMaker, continuing to catch up, and getting to know others.

The excitement that started on day one is sure to carry over into the rest of the week, allowing the sessions to be fun, engaging, and full of great content. I can’t wait to attend some sessions and to present my own (and get mine done with!)