My experience at FileMaker Developer’s Conference 2019
Author: Chuck Merkle
I'm Chuck Merkle, a Senior FileMaker Pro developer since 1998. This year I was fortunate enough to attend the FileMaker Pro Annual Conference, and below is my take on the excellent event.
The 24th Annual FileMaker Developer's Conference was held in Orlando this past week, and by my estimate there were well over 2000 people in attendance. This was my first FMDevCon in over 5 years, so I made sure to attend as many sessions as possible. As with any tech conference, this was an experience similar to drinking from a firehose. So much great information, so little time to take it all in. Fortunately, there were a lot of talented folks around me to discuss the new technologies and tools announced this week.
The conference keynote was delivered by Brad Frietag, Filemaker's newly appointed CEO. He started the week with a bang by announcing the company's name change from FileMaker to Claris. This received applause and chuckles from the attendees - since Claris was the original name of the company that created FileMaker in the late '80s, back when many of us first started developing with FileMaker. It was interesting that up until the name change announcement the old FileMaker logo was nowhere to be seen throughout the conference, not even on our ID badges. While the keynote ran, the halls and signage in the conference center transformed, revealing the new Claris logo for the attendees to see. The announcement came as a complete surprise.
The actual product 'FileMaker Pro' will continue to keep its name and will continue to be a primary focus of the new Claris. However, the company also plans on growing their business with initiatives focused on Cloud-first, Mobile & Web, Integrations, and Emerging Technologies like AI and Augmented Reality.
The next big announcement at the conference was the rollout of the company's newest offering — Claris Connect (formerly Stamplay, acquired just a month ago), which is an API integration service used for automating workflows across cloud-based services. Claris Connect should be available this Fall or early next year. They also showed FileMaker exploratory technology demos of authoring in a browser, Siri integration, AI using coreML, and NFC reading with IOS devices.
There were a lot of great vendors in the marketplace area as well as "lightning sessions" where the vendors demo'd their products. I spent some time looking at the new LiveCode for FileMaker compiler for Android, for potential use in one of our current projects. I also met and thanked Matt Petrowsky - a FileMaker Magazine author and trainer, as I've spent much time on his site over the past 6 months.
With Brad Frietag now at the helm, more than 50,000 customers, over 1 million end-users, and 80+ profitable quarters under its belt, the FileMaker business appears to be on track to dramatically increase its business over the next three years. Their philosophy of empowering problem-solvers with approachable "low-code" tools to help build smart solutions for their businesses is a winning one. Moreover, as Capitol Tech Solutions grows into the FileMaker market, I look forward to using my experience in API's, SQL, and Integrations to build on our software development business.