I'm very grateful that for the last two years Filemaker considerably improved it's developer relations by opening up a bit. I got invited to FM12 early preview, the new technet, and that latest PM Q&A, all of which are much welcome and are much needed. It also helps to think that FM Inc is on the right track for the future. Here's some of my thoughts on how to improves things even further.
Features requests :
- Make sure there's only one way to submit new feature requests (to my knowledge actually there's 2)
- Make this process modern that means being able to send pictures, links and attachments.
- Make it public and interactive : with some technology that can let people vote for ideas, like http://www.uservoice.com, so FM Inc can knows the popularity of a feature request.
- Make it searchable (of course !)
- Have FM Inc feedback on some, we need to be sure we're listened too. It helps commitment to the platform.
- Moderate them : for instance if some are just already covered by techniques or workarounds, put some pointers to those.
- Checkmark them when done
Ok, I know some are covered by the feedback section of the public forum, but that's kind of a mess. Lacks attachments etc.
Paid Technet advantages : all covered by NDA
- Sooner pre-release software in the dev cycle, and especially dependable way to submit bug / issues for those ß. Also have a private section for discussing it amongst paid technet users. For 11 and 12 their wasn't ways to do this. Not only this is counterproductive, but that gives the strange feeling that FM Inc doesn't care
- Private forum : Ask the engineers.
That would be a forum where we could ask very technical questions and get real highly technical details from an engineer. We may ask question "in a calc like table1::f1 + table1::f1 + table1::f1, is table1::f1 actullay fetched 3 times or only once", or in FMS 12 would 8 server side scripts running at the same each use one of the core of my 12 core machine.
Not only this would save us a lot of time doing experiments, this would help us to better optimize our solutions, but also would help FM Inc to realize better what are our concerns. Making an engineer to look in a process in detail, some of processes being old code, might actually help them to optimize some code. Those would alos lead to white papers
I understand, and we'll understand that those reply might are not commitments from FM Inc that the behaviors would stay the same in feature releases, you can put a big red disclaimer at the top of the forum
- Searchable Bug reporter : Yes one list that we can see all the bugs already submitted, those solved, etc. Yes under NDA. Don't let the community waist time on re-running in the same bugs. Of course bug report submission in a modern way, with attachments allowed, ability to add some comments.
- More devcon video session : not all can travel to devcon, I'd wish like apple does for it's wwdc some months later all devcon videos would be online for paid technet members.
- Audible webex sound : what about this terrible terrible sound in the webex conf. Ditch the phone, use voice other IP, we're in 2012, do something it's terrible (french webex sessions are much better sounding)
- Bring back the XSLT library, not it's not there anymore, I know that XLST is deprecated for web, but that's only one use of is, we rely on it for exports and imports. In this library in the past there was great examples.
- A technique repository : The web is full of filemaker techniques to do some stuff, but it's scattered everywhere. Having a moderated clean repository, for techniques, custom function, XLSTs would be great. Plus Filemaker could see those as feature request also (if some are read / downloaded a lot that means it may miss from FMP. If such techniques would translate as feature it would show a great deal how FM Inc listen to its customers. I'd made this available to all users, it would helps newsbies tremendously. Let the techniques beign signed, with link to the author blog (this will create motivation)
- And of course do some ask the PM sessiosn like this one !
Don't fret about some of this new openness, openness leads to confidence and commitment to the plattform, that translates into loyalty. Plus it help us to do more stuff with FMP, so it takes FMP in new areas, expanding it's market.
Don't be afraid about some human involvement, and bear in mind that there's plenty of technet members eager to be moderators