I’ve not been to any of the European conferences, so I don’t have anything to say about that.
I have been to the US DevCon, and I was a speaker last year. Being that FMI is based in the US, that also allows for more representation from the engineering and Product Management teams. Many under-the-hood sessions. And plenty of FMI staff to talk to about the things you run into in FileMaker.
Will those things change you mentioned? Probably not right away. The production cycle simply doesn’t move that fast. However, a few things happen as you have those conversations:
- FMI gets to hear directly from it’s customer base about the things that are important to them. This is vital. It allows them to ask questions, and pose thoughts you maybe haven’t thought of.
- You will get a really good sense that FileMaker is listening. And that they understand the problems being faced. And that they will add your thoughts and concerns into the conversations they have with the engineering team.
- You will also get a sense that, sometimes, your request just isn’t as easy as you think it is. Story about this below.
One of the things that has always been an annoyance for me, is how button bars don’t work the same for copy/pasting styles in the inspector. I had a few conversations with the PM about it. Some interchanges through a mutual friend with the PM also. And the PM went straight to one of the engineers to talk to him about it. They started working on it. And in early testing, it was there. The feature had been extended to work with button bars. But there were some unexpected behaviors, because button bars, to oversimplify it, are just a very different object.
Fast forward a little ways to FileMaker 18. That feature was pulled back out, because there were some complexities that required some more work to make it solid. But the work is being done. They do listen. And with some tasks there is a level of complexity that requires more time to work out.
Going to DevCon made me a better developer. That effect, was worth so much more than I paid to go. And I spent a lot of time sitting and talking with developers from Canada, Australia, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, UK. I picked up more from those conversations than any sessions I attended. And don’t get me wrong, the sessions were great. They were innovative, forward thinking, and sufficiently technical. By far, money well spent on my own professional development.