It’s been a couple of months since the FileMaker DevCon in Dallas. Although we wrote a bit about the highlights before (including LuminFire winning an Excellence Award!), here are a few more thoughts from some of our developers that attended as we prepare for the release of the DevCon 2018 presentation videos on the FileMaker Community site October 9th.
The 2018 FileMaker DevCon was great for many of the same reasons it was great in the past. We were able to meet many wonderful people from all over the world that share the same passion for FileMaker.
The Gaylord Texan Resort in Dallas was beautiful and BIG (like everything in Texas, right?). We got to do a lot of walking between sessions, which was a great complement to sitting most of the day in sessions. We enjoyed delicious Texas BBQ as well!
FileMaker presented a couple of sessions where you were able to ask questions directly to the FileMaker engineers. Clay Maeckel, Chief Software Architect at FileMaker, Inc. presented a session called “Under the Hood: Storage and Queries”. Clay, who has been working with Apple/Claris/FileMaker since 1986, gave fascinating insights into the what actually happens in the process of file maintenance and recovery, and how FileMaker was designed to handle these tasks.
Many of the DevCon sessions were quite informative about some of the more advanced FileMaker features and development techniques. Steve Winter provided an excellent introduction session on the FileMaker Data API.
It was exciting to get a glimpse of the roadmap ahead for FileMaker enhancements. One of the most intriguing developments we heard about didn’t have anything to do with new features. It was the unveiling of a new way to position what FileMaker is and how it can help transform productivity in small and medium sized businesses. FileMaker defined the Workplace Innovation Platform category. FileMaker has always been the leader of this space but now it’s easier to describe what FileMaker is and what can be done with it.
It was wonderful to meet so many other people in the FileMaker universe. Other developers, FileMaker innovators, and movers and shakers from FileMaker headquarters (or “the Wedge” as it’s known to FileMaker aficionados).
There was wealth of great integration focused sessions at DevCon 2018. Many speakers demonstrated the kind of techniques we use at LuminFire to talk with web services every day but a couple sessions really stood out. The first was Jesse Barnum’s “Beyond Virtual Machines: Tapping into the AWS Universe of Services” in which he demonstrated how to authenticate requests, upload a file to S3, translate speech, and log changes made to record–all from a demo FileMaker app. Authentication (using Amazon’s complex v4 signing method) and S3 file management are two features that LuminFire’s fmFlare already supports but it was nice to see how other people go about it. The speech recognition using AWS Transcribe was really impressive–think performing a find in FileMaker with your voice or recording a memo on FileMaker Go that automatically gets recorded in your solution as text. Finally, Jesse outlined a conceptual change logging technique using a combination of AWS Kinesis and S3 Data Lake to record changes to FileMaker records with a single HTTP request and no FileMaker Database writes. Traditional audit logging can really increase demand on FileMaker Server and this technique would offload a majority of the processing to AWS allowing FileMaker resources to stay focused on business logic, not logging. Stayed tuned for an AWS Audit Logging fmFlare module in the near future ;-)
The second session that really stood out for me was Chris Irvine’s “Crypto Building Blocks for FileMaker Developers.“ In this integration agnostic session Chris broke down all the different essential crypto concepts FileMaker developers must be aware of and know how to use to both keep solutions secure and interact securely with external services. Some of these we often take for granted without really understanding what is going on behind the scenes. With a deeper understanding it is easier to prevent problems and ensure acceptable levels of security within our applications.
The sessions were only topped by the new branding and feature enhancements FMI announced–all of which I’m really excited about. And of course the BBQ, can’t not mention all the delicious Texas BBQ!
Shawn A. Krueger
#FileMakerDevCon… or is it #FileMakerDevCon18? Whatever hash tag you use, it was a great time, with a lot of great people sharing knowledge, BBQ, chocolate, coffee, and a few beers. This was a fantastic year, with so much content that it is hard to pick my favorites.
For the other half of training day, I attended Bob Bowers’ (Soliant Consulting) session on integration. It is a topic that we already do a lot of at LuminFire, but more practical experience with different APIs is always handy.
As usual, the opening keynote was full of sneak peaks that we can’t talk about just yet. But FileMaker, Inc. has been a lot more open about their plans for the platform lately. Watch for updates to the Roadmap on the Community forum, and the Roadmap webinar coming up this fall. We are very excited about things to come!
Other session highlights include “cURL in the Wild: How One Button Gave Us a Giant Toolbox” by- Salvatore Colangelo of Goya. The changes to this script step have opened up a whole new world of integration possibilities.
“It’s a Trap! Errors in Scripting” by David Jondreau was chock-full of best practice tips to keep you out of trouble… and Star Wars references, so how could I resist[ance]?
And for a deeper understanding of how our favorite tool works, look for any session with “Under the Hood” in the title. Clay Mackel and other FileMaker engineers were very generous this year!
Besides all of the learning, it is great to see so many people in person that I spend all year chatting with on Community, Slack, and Twitter. Already looking forward to #FileMakerDevCon 2019 in Orlando at the Gaylord Palms!
Also published on Medium.