FileMaker 2016 DevCon Wrap Up

We’re all back from an exciting week of seeing the latest and greatest FileMaker advances and starting to settle in to “normal.” Taking a full week away from work is tough but worth it in so many ways. There were many people to meet and new things to learn. It really was an inspiring time to see what is being done with FileMaker all over the world.

Here are some of my highlights of the conference:

DevCon 2016 Las Vegas Balcony View

  • This is my 15th consecutive DevCon…and with it was the release of FileMaker 15 earlier this year. It’s been a valuable part of every year.

DevCon 2016 Tim and Brenda Name Tags

  • Seeing the future of FileMaker in the opening session is exciting. There are so many possibilities and advances that we look forward to. It feels like we’re just getting started with what we can do.

DevCon 2016 Aptitude for Apps Chelsea

  • We strengthened our partnership with FileMaker through several meetings with the FileMaker Business Alliance and key FileMaker personnel. We continue to appreciate the honor of being one of the elite Platinum partners in the U.S. It was a busy time with barely a moment to relax.
  • Well deserved attention to the YWAM FileMaker iPad mobile app solution created pro-bono for a great cause by our friend and peer Marty Thomasson from Gearbox Solutions.

YWAM Mobile App Screen 1 YWAM_Marty_OR15198 YWAM_Marty_OR19326 YWAM_Marty_OR19783

  • We met up with our local FMPUG-MN group for lunch on Tuesday so we could see all the Minnesota/midwest people gathered there.
  • Don Clark of FileMakerProGurus.com interviewed Brenda Cimbura (COO), Nick Ciske (VP Web Engineering) and myself (CEO) about the latest advances in the FileMaker world and Cimbura.com, Inc. The NEW video interview should be available soon. (Here’s the interview from last year’s DevCon 2015)
  • Developers from Cimbura.com spoke at the Unconference on WordPress and GIS and FileMaker. We will soon have these presentations available for a larger audience via webinars. Sign up at the links above to get notified when they are available! We also provided a short preview of some of our work at the CWP/PHP (Custom Web Publishing) User Group meeting on the first day of the conference.

DevCon 2016 Tim and Nick WordPress FileMaker

 

  • Brenda participated in the Women of FileMaker luncheon in which Cimbura.com was a sponsor. The community of women at DevCon is growing and making a great impact.

DevCon 2016 Women of FileMaker

  • Several of our developers volunteered at the Visionary Bar offering free consulting to attendees.
  • The party at Big League Dreams was a lot of fun. A few of our developers got out on the field to swing a bat and hit some home runs! While playing outfield, Jon Lung hit a ball directly at me while I was taking video. I had to drop the iPhone to catch it!

DevCon 2016 Party Baseball Field DevCon 2016 Party FileMaker Racing Car DevCon 2016 Party Matt Baseball

NPHY Solution

  • Despite rumors to the contrary, we were able to conclusively prove via the following photo that Dominique Goupil (President of FileMaker) and Bill Epling (Chief Administrative Officer and President, FileMaker Japan) are not the same person.

DevCon 2016 Dominique and Bill

  • We ended our DevCon trip by seeing a live funny show by ventriloquist/comedian/singer/impersonator Terry Fator at the Mirage.

Here are summaries of the best of the show from several of our Cimbura.com developers who attended:

Jon Lung – For me, the best of DevCon included the opening session which focused on a couple of very interesting philanthropic efforts by FileMaker Developers. One of which was a YWAM (Youth With a Mission) team in Papua New Guinea, that built a custom app, in the jungle, to help facilitate medical efforts in the area. The other effort involved helping an organization called the Luke Commission. FileMaker Inc. also announced a partnership with Lynda.com to produce a Learning Path called “Become a FileMaker Custom App Developer.” This could be a great tool to help attract new developers and turbo boost their path to becoming a proficient developer. I also attended a session dedicated to a panel discussion on attracting new, young developers to the platform. This was of particular interest to me since my college age son, who is a computer science major, is just becoming familiar with FileMaker.

 

Matt Larson – This was my third year attending DevCon. It had a very positive vibe to it, even more so than last year. The highlights to me were the new feature sneak peaks showcased in the keynote and Todd Geist’s “JavaScript is Eating the World” session. FileMaker continues to mature as a development platform. I’m looking forward to the new features we saw in the sneak peaks of future versions. Steven H. Blackwell continued to impact security-focused sessions. Looking forward to Phoenix and the lazy river next year!

 

Dan Timlin – This was my first FileMaker DevCon, so probably the biggest highlight for me was being able to see and meet such a large, international FileMaker community. The next biggest highlight for me was the kickoff general session. It was exciting, and helpful as a developer, to get such a detailed roadmap of what’s in store for FileMaker in the coming months and years. The sessions that covered the iOS SDK were very helpful. I also particularly enjoyed learning more than I already knew about our own Cimbura.com world-class GIS capabilities.

DevCon 2016 Welcome Sign

Michael Moore – Todd Geist gave a very animated presentation (JavaScript is Eating the World), making the case that JavaScript is the language you should use on both the server (with Node.js) and in the browser (with React.js). Impressively, he coded the whole thing live, in front of a big crowd. He managed to code, explain what he was doing and why he was doing it at the same time. If you’ve ever tried to write and talk at the same time, you understand how challenging that is. I got the feeling that he was really pushing the envelope with his techniques, and I wouldn’t recommend using Node.js to interact with FileMaker without evaluating it very carefully. It did seem very powerful and flexible though, so it likely has valid uses. The most important takeaway of the session was probably “JavaScript is the only language with native support across the entire FileMaker Platform.” If you need to target MacOS, Windows AND iOS, then JavaScript is your best option. You might not end up using Node.js or React.js, but odds are good that you will end up using JavaScript with FileMaker in some capacity, and it was interesting to see how far you can push it if you need to.

DevCon 2016 Andy and Michael GIS FileMaker

Shawn A. Krueger – This year’s FileMaker DevCon was amazing! You could tell by the session topics that “the little database that could” has grown up to become a real development platform. Many of the sessions didn’t necessarily talk specifically about FileMaker, but rather, ways that you could connect FileMaker to other services, APIs, and technologies. The focus of DevCon this year was on how to build “Custom Apps” with FileMaker. Some of the really exciting content is under NDA, so we can’t share that news just yet. There were so many good sessions, and some hard choices had to be made. I know I’ll be eagerly anticipating the session videos to catch the ones I missed. Here are some of the highlights of the sessions I did catch: Todd Geist had an impressive demo where he built a Node.js server with JavaScript to serve FileMaker data on the web in his “JavaScript is Eating the World” session. Ken d’Oronzio showed us how to trigger real world actions from FileMaker and how to capture data in FileMaker from external triggers using services like IFTTT and Zapier in “FMoT: The FileMaker of Things.” Alexis Allen, Susan Prosser, and Jordan Watson gave talks on UI/Design that could mostly apply to any development platform, but are good reminders to keep us focused on a great user experience. All around, it was a very energetic week, filled with great conversations and connecting with people that we normally only see in the virtual world. Everyone I talked to seemed very excited about the direction of the FileMaker platform and how it will continue to help us build apps that solve common business problems.

DevCon 2016 Shawn FileMaker Visionary Bar

Andy Walz – On the flight home from Las Vegas, after attending FileMaker Devcon 2016, it dawned on me that I have never been more excited about the FileMaker Platform. Yes, it helps to spend a week with other developers who use and love FileMaker Products but what really inspired me was the wealth of information shared by FileMaker employees and speakers from the FileMaker community. Right out of the starting gate, at the opening keynote, we were tantalized with demos of powerful features to be released in upcoming versions of FileMaker. While we can’t talk about them yet we can plan for them and let’s just say we can’t agree more with the directions FileMaker is headed–there were quite a few standing ovations from the Cimbura.com team. Success stories such as the FileMaker app built to support YWAM ships operations in rural Paupa New Guinea and an app challenge to donate software and services to local charities made us proud to be part of the FileMaker community. Sessions on security, performance, design, and web integration were very helpful. Highlights included Clay Maeckel’s brief history and explanation of the Draco Database Engine that powers FileMaker and David Head’s Cryptography lecture. The insights provided by these two FileMaker engineers will surely help us all build more secure, high-performing solutions. Additionally I learned the ins and outs of the iOS SDK, syncing with mobile devices, and deploying to the web using REST and JavaScript. There are so many great ways to build and deploy custom apps with the FileMaker platform, we can’t wait to put what we’ve learned to work for you.

DevCon 2016 GIS Session Sign

Nick Ciske – This was my second time attending DevCon and my first time speaking in an unconference session. I was glad to see the continued focus on connecting FileMaker to external APIs and the continued evolution of the FileMaker server platform. (I wish I could give you specifics but I can’t, because of the NDA.) It was a blast to meet other like-minded people at our session on connecting WordPress and FileMaker and the session presented by my co-workers on FileMaker and GIS. I saw some development practices that made me cringe — security/authentication on web facing apps continues to be a place the FileMaker community needs to adopt best practices (as developing on the web is very different than the FileMaker sandbox). My favorite session was Todd Geist’s session “Javascript is eating the world” as he always pushes the envelope as to what you can do with FileMaker as a backend for a web application — in time, it looks like we’ll see more and more of this as it’s really the only way to break out of the workgroup limitations of FileMaker server.

“Purpose” was a big theme at DevCon this year. I did have a new and profound experience this year. I went to speak, learn, and network… but I was not expecting to feed the poor and have my heart broken by stories of loss and heartache.

This year, I brought my wife and 4 month old daughter to DevCon. Since my wife was going to be spending a lot of time in the room with the baby, we went out Monday night to get her some food from the local convenience store. The scene on the street was pretty wild (as you’d expect in Vegas) and the store catered more to getting drunk than feeding a nursing mother… so early Tuesday morning we made the trek down the street to a different store with a better selection. Along the way, we noticed a man sleeping on the pedestrian walkway. Our heart went out to him, and the others we met that morning… so instead of just walking by, we decided to do something.

I purchased some breakfast food and we went to each person we could find in need. We gave them breakfast (a great ice breaker), asked their name and story, and offered to encourage and pray with them with the baby in tow! The act of stopping, offering them the opportunity to be known and cared for, and holding their hand broke the invisible barrier that usually exists when you see someone in need and just drop some change in a cup. It was a moving experience: tears were shed, my heart grew a few sizes…

We decided to repeat this each morning we were there, and found people every morning in need of food and acknowledgement. My wife and I were moved by their stories and in the way it changed our perspective of our time there. Instead of the glitzy hotel and buffet lunches feeling normal, they seemed a bit surreal when just outside the hotel doors there was real need. It was an odd transition each morning as I walked back into the hotel to get ready for my day at DevCon. I found myself being grateful for the life I get to lead, and the daily blessings that are “normal” to me and my family.

We donate to charities, I’ve done pro-bono work in the past, and we’ve encountered poverty before, but there was something different about taking a hour out of each morning of a business trip to do something “with purpose” that has really stuck with my wife and I. It made me realize that in the hustle of building a business, going on trips, and the frenzied pace of modern life in general, there’s something powerful in stopping, not to smell the roses, but to humble yourself and help those you see in need: wherever they are.

Our challenge now is to keep up the practice as we settle back into our daily life in Minnesota. We don’t have homeless people immediately outside our door anymore, but there are people in need everywhere, we just have to open our eyes to see it and be willing to sacrifice part of our day to do something.

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From all of us at Cimbura.com, we are excited about what we learned, but mostly we are inspired by the idea that we are privileged to make a difference in our world. It is meaningful to us to take the time to attend DevCon, because it helps us to grow as people, and ultimately as a team. We can’t wait to see what solutions we can innovate and build in the months ahead, and know that there is a lot of fun and meaningful work ahead of us.

DevCon 2016 Cimbura Team 1 DevCon 2016 Cimbura Team 2 DevCon 2016 Cimbura Team Lunch

About Us 11

Tim Cimbura – CEO and Software Engineer

Tim is an expert in creating custom business solutions that make your work more effective, productive, and profitable. He specializes in FileMaker application development (certified in versions 8-15) for Mac OS, Windows, iPad/iPhone as well as integration with the web using WordPress, PHP, and AppleScript. He knows Apple technology and Windows systems inside and out.

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