Assuming the day format is kept the same as this year I would like to suggest adding several topics for a class session on the first day. The session length would be 2 to 2.5 hours each. Each attendee would pay the same amount for the first day sessions but would have to confirm their attendance prior to the conference (no changes allowed). They could choose one session and then attend the rest of the day at other sessions or any combination but for these interactive sessions, they would need to be confirmed prior to conference.
The selected topics are derived from the questions submitted to the Filemaker Community.
Each session could have two or more instructors. This will be an interactive training session with pre-requisite study/lessons that must be accomplished prior to DEVCON. Each attendee will need to bring a computer capable of loading the latest release of Filemaker Advanced prior to the session.
The Filemaker Community Members are more than capable to instruct these sessions. Filemaker could have multiple ways available to compensate the instructor/s.
SSL Certificates: One of the frequent questions pertains to SSL Certificates. I suggest contacting some of the major certificate issuers (they probably would offer discounted SSL Certificates to attendees) to allow a training session in applying, configuring and troubleshooting the Certificates. They only draw back would be is having enough computers configured with the Server OS (MAC/Windows) to allow this type of training (maybe Microsoft and Apple would supply configured Servers for this).
Before it is pointed out that the SSL Certificate must be done for each Server, I’m aware. When the attendee returns home they would then apply for the SSL Certificate using a special code for a discount provided by the SSL Companies that participated in the training.
Data Synchronization: One of the most difficult processes (especially for newer folks learning Filemaker) is the data synchronization process. I suggest having a simple two to three table database that each attendee would create from pre-requisite material provided upon registration. The session interactive session would walk the attendee through the process under an instructor/s guided session. Other sub-topics would be the various error trapping procedures and suggested direction to avoid problems.
New Stuff: Each version that is released has introduced new functions, script steps, and technology. In version 16: Geofence, iBeacon, cURL, JSON, data API, OAuth 2.0, and Filemaker Cloud were introduced. Pre-requisite tasks/material would be required prior to attendance based on subject and instructor suggestion/s. This session would provide a hands-on to implement some or all of the newer features introduced. The general session that covers new technology/functions as a large group loses many people. Although informative, it just is not sufficient for a majority of attendees to comprehend the session.
Depreciated Functions: As Filemaker evolves; select functions and script steps are depreciated. This session would list the depreciated items and provide suggested solutions/alternatives to replace depreciated items. Pre-requisite submissions of how the attendee/s solved their own issues would be reviewed by the instructor/s and presented to the session for group review. The session as a group could also compile an informative document to be reviewed and posted on the Filemaker web site as a White Paper on their suggested findings (with FMI approval).
The last day of DEVCON: The last day of DEVCON this past year offered FBA members an additional day of training. What I suggest is to open this day up to members of the Filemaker Developer Subscription (FDS) and other non-members of the Filemaker Community. As I understand it, FBA members are free to attend. Why not allow FDS and non-FDS members to attend on a sliding cost scale. There is a lot of valuable information presented and might also result in additional memberships. Some developers are in-house and would not qualify for membership in FBA. Either way, DEVCON is all about learning!
Adding sessions for the first day and opening up the last day would solve some of the concerns expressed in the Filemaker Community forum about the conference being reduced to two days (this years first day topics might not of excited many people).
All about learning...