Every year, usually during the summer, FileMaker hosts a massive global conference for their developers. Like most customer/user conferences, the goal is to experience the product in different ways and explore new product features, in a supportive and fun environment. But leave it to technology to create a common developer dilemma – to go or not to go to DevCon. FileMaker, Inc. will eventually share most, if not all, of the session materials – including videos – within the FileMaker Community. So why not save the registration and travel expenses and wait until the materials become public?
Well, The Support Group has participated in DevCon in different capacities since the very first event in 1996. Yes, it's been that long and we can certainly tell you that it's worth it every year! We even share some of our own DevCon experiences during and after the conference. I cannot adequately capture the essence of why we go to DevCon, but I will try to capture a few of the main benefits.
This is the place to learn the most cutting-edge techniques in the FileMaker Platform. The FileMaker product engineers themselves will discuss and demonstrate how the platform is designed to work and how to optimize its capabilities. In addition to learning what to do, fellow developers will share what not to do within the platform. I'd be surprised if you left the conference without having learned at least one new technique that will improve your development process. Last year, we were really impressed with modular programming with FileMaker Card windows techniques.
Personally, I find the presenters to be very approachable so you can feel comfortable asking them specific questions throughout the conference. This is a great opportunity for developers, beginners and advanced users alike, to learn from one another.
What's more, you'll get a sneak peek into the future of the product and the company. Of course, this information is protected by nondisclosure agreements, but you'll be among the first to know where things are headed. This can help in terms of planning for future projects and other client work.
So much of the event is about all the amazing things you can do with FileMaker. Even if you're the most advanced developer out there, I'm sure you'll see new techniques and different ways of doing things that you've never thought of before. You'll come across example after example of people doing things with FileMaker that will inspire your own work and practice. In the past, I've been inspired by data API integrations that I wasn't previously aware of, new sync models that recently became available and sleek user interface approaches. Warning, it will be hard to contain your excitement and you'll want to try the new techniques immediately.
Beyond the many breakout sessions, there are keynote events, an awards ceremony, on-site tech support, a dinner party and other activities where attendees can broaden their horizons and mingle with other developers. A sense of camaraderie forms just by virtue of being surrounded by other people who do what you do, have similar goals and are on a similar journey. Personally, I feel welcomed and validated just by being able to talk about FileMaker all day. It's a chance to make connections with those you can help and those who can help you.
All of this culminates into a truly rewarding experience, both professionally and personally. You'll grow as a developer and as an individual as you step outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to learn new techniques and meet new people. You can further challenge yourself to apply all the new knowledge and inspiration you gathered to your applications. And if you get stuck, reach out to any of the new friends you've made for support. Learn more about DevCon now.
This article is also published on FileMakerProGurus.com.