1 2 Previous Next 29 Replies Latest reply on May 18, 2016 10:38 PM by jfletch

    Upcoming DevCon panel: Attracting New Developers to the FileMaker Platform

    mark_baum

      Dear FileMaker Community,

       

      At DevCon this year, FileMaker employees Andrew Paulsen (engineer) and Ro Parry (project manager) will be leading a panel discussion about attracting new developers to the FileMaker Platform. They see a deep pool of untapped talent out there and believe that as more developers join our community, it will increase the visibility and perceived viability of the platform, generating more work for everyone and ensuring that the platform continues to be adopted by new users.

       

      The goal of the session is to inspire all of us to start thinking creatively about this question and to learn from one another's success in this area. The panel will include speakers from key regions around the world to ensure a global perspective.

       

      Below are some of the questions that the panelists plan to explore. What are your answers to these questions? What else would you like to hear about? What ideas do you have for increasing the number of developers working with the FileMaker Platform?

       

      Thanks!

       

      Mark

       

      ——

       

      Panel Questions

       

      • How did you get started with the FileMaker Platform? What challenges have you encountered, and how did you overcome them?

       

      • What obstacles do we face in attracting new developers today?

       

      • What have we tried that hasn’t worked, and what have we tried that has?

       

      • What individuals and/or companies come to mind when you think of mentoring and developing new talent?

       

      • What practical & realistic things would you like to see FileMaker, Inc do in this area?

       

      • What practical & realistic things would you like to see your peers in the community do?
        • 1. Re: Upcoming DevCon panel: Attracting New Developers to the FileMaker Platform
          john_wolff

          Hi Mark,

           

          The obvious one is for FMI, and whoever else they can garner support from, to offer scholarships to attend Devcon at a heavily discounted price for up and coming developers. Then publish their appraisal of the Conference and especially how it has helped their development skills.

           

          It would not be hard to set criteria for worthy recipients.

           

          I don't know anyone who is not blown away after attending their first DevCon. It will be the content of the Conference and the fellowship of attending developers that will make them realise the strength of the platform, increase their desire to continue developing, and make them want to return as often as they can.

           

          Cheers,

           

          John

          • 2. Re: Upcoming DevCon panel: Attracting New Developers to the FileMaker Platform
            Vincent_L

            Well, to augment filemaker developpers, you have to lure new ones, and keep the existing ones !

            That don't work with marketing, but it comes in the long term with quality.

             

            About the product

             

            For this you've convince them that Filemaker is a powerful platform, not just an easy one, that scales well.

            Filemaker is perceived as a cool tool for moderate needs, but that will eventually need replacement later.

            For that => improve it's performance drastically

             

            Then you have to recognize that the approachability of filemaker which it's main strength, can also be it's weakness in the sense that's it's GUI is not productive.

            Granted FM 14 was a good step-up in the right direction, but there's still so much stuff that's terribly unproductive.

             

            And finally SQL : This is a very common language known and loved by many. And those who knows it will feel much more at home with Filemaker if it has good, strong & fast pervasive SQL. Also many will just reject filemaker if they don't think there's SQL ("a database without SQL ? Blah").

            Yes, since 12 we have ExecuteSQL : but it has many shortcoming, and terrible performance in most of the non simplest queries. So FMI should make it's SQL much more powerful and pervasive.

            (I'm an in-house FM dev, we also have PHP/SQL devs, they Filemaker opinion clearly changed when I told them about SQL, and also it helped a king of code interoperability )

             

            By no mean I'm saying to make Filemaker harder to approach, but just allow more powerful stuff fo those who needs it.

             

            For instance, the Foreach idea ForEach[Values] new script step for major performance boost  is a way to both make filemaker much faster and easier for newbies. Would it have existed, newbies would have mainly used this simpler looping structure, which is the most optimize one for most of uses, and never encountered performance problems when their dataset scaled. Here offering power would help scaling and simplicity (not to mention the lost of time looking for faster alternatives that are super-complicated and not perfect)

             

            About the company

             

            FIX BUGS :

             

            Having the established reputation of NOT fixing the bugs in the timeframe of the version that introduced them, and basically fixing (some only), in the next PAID upgrade it certainly not an enticing policy.

            Not to mention that having to suffer from bugs for month or years is not a pleasant experience

             

            NO HALF ASSED NEW FEATURES :

             

            It's certainly a filemaker habit to introduce features with just the right amount of limitations  to make them useless.

            And leave it in that unfinished states for years. Some very few examples :

            Filemaker Server side scripting was too limited in 9, it only became useful in 11.

            Perform script on server : doesn't work reliably if several files are involved due to authentication issues

            PSOS : no way easy and fast way to re-establish context on the server like foundset

            Filemaker 12 : so slow layout engine I had to skip it

            Script maker 14 on Mac : non resizable script list areas : can't see the script name in full

            Filemaker 13 field picker : not resizable, can't see name of fields that are truncated, no evolution in 14

            Filemaker 14 advanced : not unified GUI everywhere (no search for picking fields in data viewer)

             

             

            Complete ignorance of 99.999% of feature requests :

            Maybe this will improve with the well appreciated ideas section. We'll see what the next release will have taken from it. But so far : horizontal portals (asked since portal appeared), show dialogs with dialogs that scales to display it's text, filed picker resizing, alias names for fields in exports, fixing the relationship graph nightmare (asked since it's appearance in 6 or 7).....

             

            CARE ABOUT PERFORMANCE :

             

            In many cases its seems that FMI does' care at all about performance, introducing features that are not optimized at all or bound to be slow.

             

            11's autosort in list view was a terrible performance killer,

            quickfind on all fields even unstirred one without optimizing the search (by first search in indexed then in un-indexed)

            Portal filtering that are known to be slow

            ExecuteSQL which I love but dread the slowness with GROUP BY, LEFT JOINS, HAVING (unusable)

            Webdirect 1.0…

             

            Sometime there's burst in the right direction (PSOS but see above), but It wouldn't say that performance is a constant care. It's more like an afterthought.

             

             

            So I'm sure some will find the post as trolling, but it's not. It's an honest critic from someone, a solo in-house dev that came from excel to a solution that runs a whole company, that loves the product. But that would have trouble to advise it to someone due to the above shortcomings.

             

            But' I'm hoping for the best, that topic, and the ideas section, the new community forum seems to show a new FMI, but there's a lot more to do.

             

            Thanks and please be bold in your changes.

            2 of 2 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Upcoming DevCon panel: Attracting New Developers to the FileMaker Platform
              beverly

              How many colleges (even high schools) teach a FileMaker course? If it were offered as "Custom App Development" (as seems to be the trend), would it attract more?

              beverly

              • 4. Re: Upcoming DevCon panel: Attracting New Developers to the FileMaker Platform
                wimdecorte

                Vincent_L wrote:

                 

                 

                 

                For this you've convince them that Filemaker is a powerful platform, not just an easy one,

                 

                Or not just a sexy one...

                 

                I see a little too much emphasis on the easy and sexy (read: Apps) that is not entirely warranted and may attract people but then repel them instead of keeping them.

                • 5. Re: Upcoming DevCon panel: Attracting New Developers to the FileMaker Platform
                  wimdecorte

                  mark_baum wrote:

                   

                   

                  • What individuals and/or companies come to mind when you think of mentoring and developing new talent?

                   

                   

                  I fully agree that there is a big untapped resource of very good FM developers, especially those in-house that are not exposed to the community and may not get to go to Devcon.

                   

                  A good mentoring program here would be a real boost.  Even something like a virtual internship.

                  • 6. Re: Upcoming DevCon panel: Attracting New Developers to the FileMaker Platform
                    wimdecorte

                    Vincent_L wrote:

                     

                     

                    CARE ABOUT PERFORMANCE :

                     

                    In many cases its seems that FMI does' care at all about performance, introducing features that are not optimized at all or bound to be slow.

                     

                    To be fair here, FMI does care A LOT about performance.  They have to because of the FM Go and WebDirect experience.  So don't call them out as if they don't care about performance.

                     

                    They have made huge improvements over the recent versions.

                     

                    So instead of calling this out as a blanket statement, be a little more specific and spawn another thread on how performance is hindering you.

                    • 7. Re: Upcoming DevCon panel: Attracting New Developers to the FileMaker Platform
                      mark_baum

                      Jumping in here to say that while people's recommendations to FMI on the product and marketing front are clearly important, for this panel they are one aspect of a much broader discussion.

                       

                      Please also reflect on your own power -- and our collective power -- to attract new developers to the platform, and return to the original post to see the range of questions that we posed about this.

                       

                      Thanks!

                       

                      Mark

                      • 8. Re: Upcoming DevCon panel: Attracting New Developers to the FileMaker Platform
                        wimdecorte

                        Thanks for the redirect, Mark.

                         

                        Following up on beverly' suggestion: trying to get FM into schools would be a good thing. 

                         

                        Equally important would be a mentoring program for in-house FM devs that would otherwise feel left out.

                        • 9. Re: Upcoming DevCon panel: Attracting New Developers to the FileMaker Platform
                          Vincent_L

                          I gave some examples. And you can read practically all my posts. Don't want to divert here.

                          • 10. Re: Upcoming DevCon panel: Attracting New Developers to the FileMaker Platform
                            beverly

                            Rather than DevCon (or in addition to), perhaps smaller regional gatherings. The number of session is overwhelming, when "focus" gatherings may be more beneficial. Beginners, Web, IT, etc. (specific groups). Travel expenses would be more reasonable, the focus would provide the knowledge that the person(s) need instead of information overload.

                            beverly

                            1 of 1 people found this helpful
                            • 11. Re: Upcoming DevCon panel: Attracting New Developers to the FileMaker Platform
                              Vincent_L

                              Aside from my first post, which focuses on the core of Filemaker, which is the most important thing,

                              I think FMI should use it's exceptional community work better :

                               

                              - Hosting on this website a CURATED Custom function, code snippets repository

                              - Hosting on this website a CURATED how to's repository

                               

                              The community is exceptional and passionated, but its' a bit daunting and time consuming when you look for solutions. When you're a in-house dev, what matter is the business solution. It's terribly time wasting to stumble on a Filemaker hurdle and fin out solution tapping in the many FM related websites and blogs. And as most issues are encountered again an again, having a simple and unique repository would be awesome.

                               

                              I would dedicate one FMI employee to scout the web, blogs, forum post to find what issues and need FM users encounter, test the available solution techniques, maybe improving them with help of FM engineers, and publish the best one(s).

                               

                              This would have tremendous benefits :

                               

                              - Huge time saving for newbies. And will help Filemaker be a faster RAD.

                              - Filemaker users will feel supported by a company that cares about them and care about providing them quick solutions

                              - Would credit and encourage technique posters

                              - Would offer better guidance to FMI for user needs when they decide feature sets

                               

                              P. S : at one point there was a XSLT repository at filemaker's website, it was a great tool to promote XML. Sadly it got killed by FMI…

                              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                              • 12. Re: Upcoming DevCon panel: Attracting New Developers to the FileMaker Platform

                                While you are focusing on attracting new developers, it's just as important to keep existing developers.

                                 

                                In my case, I used FileMaker as my primary tool from about 1992 until last year when I couldn't take it anymore for several reasons. I communicated this with FileMaker with no success privately and then publicly. We still help our our existing clients that use FileMaker, but we won't be creating an new solutions unless things change, which is doubtful. This is coming from a former kool-aide drinker. I still feel like I lost my best friend.

                                 

                                Main issues:

                                - The pricing has increased dramatically since version 12. Server used to be $3000 max for unlimited use. Now it's thru the roof.

                                - There is no developer program only a sales program. I was a member of the FBA, but the 'partnership' was a one way street. We sold FileMaker to our clients and FileMaker Inc would constantly contact our customers behind our backs to sell upgrades rather than working with their 'partner'. FieMaker Inc would also email our clients about webinars and such effectively telling our clients about other developers.

                                - Communication from FileMaker Inc is terrible. Once example was a recent webinar hosted by Dominique that was cut off around the 40 min mark during the Q&A portion. There seemed to be no intention of answering questions. At the end, they said something about how there were many more questions and to contact them directly.

                                - Slow development progress. One example is ExecuteSQL which still does not have Insert, Updates, or Deletes.

                                 

                                In order to retain existing developers and attract new developers you need to treat them as a real partner. My experience was that all FileMaker, especially the FBA, cared about was selling.

                                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                • 13. Re: Upcoming DevCon panel: Attracting New Developers to the FileMaker Platform
                                  Vincent_L

                                  Oh the pricing : at first I didn't want to discuss about it but that's  terrible : they went crazy with 12 & 13, their ridiculous filmmaker hosting killing, the runtime fiasco. In my view they killed the developer business, they did  everything for that : here's two stories that happened to me.

                                   

                                  1. in the 11 days a good friend of my boss started to create a solution for his business. I helped him a bit, and we had passionate discussions. It was fun. He finished it in 12. He then wanted to distributed it and sell it to colleagues. 13 / 14 came out and we looked about the prices, plus the runtime deprecation thing. We noticed than the Fmi taxes was so much that he would have made 0 margin to have acceptable price range. So now he's developing in php / MySQL.

                                  Filemaker cloud hosting would have been a solution but FileMaker new hosting policy killed that, not to mention that WAN with FileMaker is still too slow. In the end FMi only got 3 license from him for 3 years.

                                   

                                  2. A customer came to me to advise him about filemaker. He was a church inthusiast that wanted a very simple database to help his church community. Probably 5 people would have used it some days a week. FMS hosting was a good fit as a 10€ a month company for small files was available. But new FMS hosting project kills this : end result 0 sales for FileMaker

                                   

                                  Also, to me webdirect is useless due to it's bulk licensing scheme : I wanted to use it expand the use of FMP in my company, but for that I would have needed 2 connections, not one, not five. So as we can't by per connection, only in bulk of 5, I decided that I wouldn't dare to show the bill to my boss telling him that he needed to pay 2,5 times what's needed.

                                  1 of 2 people found this helpful
                                  • 14. Re: Upcoming DevCon panel: Attracting New Developers to the FileMaker Platform
                                    DavidJondreau

                                    This is a great idea.

                                     

                                    My local community college takes offers from people who want to teach (I had a class accepted in a completely unrelated field a couple years ago).

                                     

                                    I would 100% set up and teach a class on FM development at the Santa Fe Community College if FMI provided curriculum.

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