This was just my 2nd Devcon, but I really enjoyed and learned a lot.
A shout out to Lyndsay Howarth for getting recognized for her signifciant contributions to Technet as well as coming all the way from Australia!
Probably my favorite speaker this year was Steve Winter who had a session on services outside of FileMaker making connections to FileMaker. It was a great discussion on SOAP, WDL's, Web Service Hosting (360 Works), REST solutions (POST GET, etc). Much of this stuff is not well published in the real world.
Jonathan Mickelson gave a presentation on working with other common business programs and integrating them with FileMaker. He really was impressive, had a few fun jokes, and quite a bit of whitty dry humor. That aside, probably the most useful thing I learned from him was the concept of taking a Microsoft documents such as an Excel document, converting it to XML, changing the data in it to some type of variable marker (stop code, or whatever) and having FileMake substitute data back into the XML so that the document was then opened back in Excel looking exactly like it was designed (graphics, charts, colors, fonts, etc.) with the new FileMaker data. Very impressive Jonathan!
I went to a number of SQL classes that went over everything from basic ExecuteSQL to full SQL with plugins or externally. Also some interesting warnings on record locking issues and SQL. That aside, for all the useful things learned, probably the most creative was from Greg Lane (Skeleton Key) that show incredible ways to use SQL to chart and forecase. I have to admit, I have never thought of useing an ExcuteSQL within an ExcuteSQL that gets Evalutaing externally. What a mind he has to think of such things.
FileMaker 13: Yes, it is coming and there were multiple all member sessions on it, all under non-disclosure unfortunately. While we can't say anything specific about it, I can say that I can't wait because if they implement the majority of things they showed us, it will make my life a lot easier. Then again, last year (2012), they showed us something that has never come out, which was quite frustrating to me since I want everything now (including my new yet to be made Mac Pro from Apple with three 4K monitors <grin>).
I do have to say one nit-picky frustration I have with FileMaker is that they do not take Discover Card and I do almost all my business on Discover. Funny, but I met a developer from Discover Card at Devcon! Hey, even Apple lets you use a Discover Card, but not FileMaker. Well, shout out to Austin, the FileMaker Developer, and I hope he pushes FileMaker to start letting us use Discover Card for purchases!
FileMaker has recently restructured and just a couple weeks before Devcon announced the end of Bento as well as the release of 20 employees including some that was very talented in their fields. I personally will miss Alexei Folder and Stephen Gallager. I know corporations have to reorganize and do things to keep nimble, but some of these peopel will be sorely missed. What I can say positive is that all of their R&D focus will now be on FileMaker, which is the product I make money developing with. Oh, and I hope next year that FileMaker lets more of their staff come to Devcon, particularly their inside sales reps that us FBA people deal with so much. It would really be nice to put a name with a face. I did meet briefly with Julie Sigfrinius, Business Development Manager, and she said she was working on improving communication with FBA members on the FileMaker process and who our support points of contact are.
Shouts out to a few of the people I met:
Mike Beargie (Ohio),
Kaori Arigaya from Japan,
Alex Jeane and Dennis Burnham (Dallas friends),
Austin S? (Discover Card),
Anders Monsen (PHP expert!),
Peter from Europe,
Christian Schmidt (MBS plugin - my favorite one),
Jessie Barnum (thanks for updating Plastic 2),
Gustavo Hevia from Canada,
Eric Miller (Docuwrx),
Grant Cowie (Money Works!),
the Scarpetta group guys who had one of the most fun vendor booths,
the MyFMButler guys (Jasper with ClipManager and Koen with DoSQL - all the way from Belgium or was it Denmark?),
Andrew Duncan (Australia!),
Michael Canes (Blue Dane Dataworks in Canada!),
John Langer (non profit expert),
Heather McCue (Harmonic Data - amazingly powerful layout developer),
Martha Zink (great FM trainer and from Dallas too!),
Lyndsay Howarth (Australia - so glad you finally got to come!),
Jim Kirkpatrick (Dallasite too and we look forward to a FMPUG presentation! <grin>),
Eric and Chris from NRG Soft,
and many more I just can't think of off hand right now.
I will say that I think the San Diego location was a better business conference location than last year's Miami Beach. The weather was very cool (highs in mid-70's) making it very pleasant for a summer conference. Also, it was in walking distance to many things.
I'm hoping a lot of you will want to be there next year at Devcon 2014 in my home State: San Antonio, Texas!!!!
Photo of Hilton Hotel from the docks. There were quite a few luxury yachts! Fun to see.