Archive for the 'Conferences' Category

FMHED – the FileMaker User Group for Higher Education

PFUG members Kevin Ayers and Jodi McClees – both FileMaker developers in higher education – started talking last spring about a new User Group focused specifically on FileMaker for developers and users in colleges and university.

At FileMaker DevCon 2014 FileMaker Inc gave space during the annual Higher Ed session for Kevin to discuss the group and propose it to folks.

The group formally kicked off this fall with an online meeting held October 15th.  The recorded webinar and meeting recap is here.

The format largely consists of periodic online meetings but they also plan face to face meetings.

If you’re in Higher Ed anywhere in the US or elsewhere you’ll find this group worth joining – go here.

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Ask a panel of design experts!

If you’re on TechNet you may or may not have been following this thread – if not, here’s the deal.

The folks organizing the 2014 FileMaker DevCon have assembled a design panel discussion.  The goal of this panel is to provide developers with some guidance about designing great solutions in FileMaker, and answer any questions people have about how to do this.

They’re taking feedback on what kinds of questions should be explored on the panel, so now’s the time to give them input!

The panelists are:


Heather Winkle

Andrew Paulsen

Don Levan

Bob Shockey

Go here to get involved:


– Colin

Philly FileMaker News

Some random snippets:

We’re using Meetup now

Meetup page is here.  A bunch of reasons why, but basically the environment’s a bit more collaborative for things like RSVPs, user profiles and so on.

Next meeting is September 26th

Topic’s still TBD, but you can RSVP here!  Usual time of 6-8 PM; a formal announcement will come out via regular email channels in a week or so.

FTS Training October 2-4: Developer Essentials

Seats are still available for ITS’s FTS upcoming FileMaker Training Series offering – details are here.

Experience and Style Conference AND FM Product Conference October 21-22

So this double header conference is happening in Chicago in late October.  Colin Keefe from ITS and PFUG will be presenting at the Experience and Style Conference on the topic of Applied Color Theory.  In general this is a pretty great opportunity to pick up new skills for design or business, and the conferences are cross-pollinating – they’re happening in the same hotel, and you can cross over to the other conference’s sessions (space permitting).

Details here:

Experience And Style Conference

FM Product Conference

We’ll come back and present findings from the conference at the November PFUG meeting.

That’s it for now.  Happy FileMaking!

Next PFUG Meeting August 22: 2013 FileMaker DevCon Recap!

Greetings FileMaker Enthusiasts,

Our next Philadelphia FileMaker Developer Group meeting has been scheduled for Thursday evening, August 22th, 2012 at 6:00 PM. The meeting will be held at the IT Solutions Fort Washington Office.

414 Commerce Dr., Suite 150, Fort Washington, PA 19034
Google Map:

Please RSVP here if you are planning to attend this meeting:

2013 FileMaker DevCon Recap!

The annual FileMaker Developer Convention was held in early August in San Diego CA.  We’ve just gotten back and can’t wait to share – by all reports this was the best DevCon yet.  We had a good showing of Philly FileMaker User Group members attending this year, so this ought to be a very lively session. Continue reading ‘Next PFUG Meeting August 22: 2013 FileMaker DevCon Recap!’

DevCon Day 1 Early Report

I arrived in San Diego early with my family last week after a bunch of hiking in the desert – red dust from Sedona and brown from Joshua Tree on our clothes as we shambled into the Hilton San Diego Bayfront – so have had a little time to acclimate to the city before DevCon kicks off in earnest.  Some random things I’ve learned about the surroundings:

  • You can apparently take the Blue Line directly to the Mexican border – file that for reference: If one of your projects goes really south, you can always head south!
  • The temperature here is always perfect.  It’s weird.  It’s unfair.
  • Have a sweater/sweatshirt handy for evenings.
  • There is cheaper food to be had if you stray from the Gaslamp District’s 5th Street main thoroughfare.  You can get a (good) beer and a slice for under 10 bucks at Berkeley Pizza (5th and Island).  Lots of Thai too.
  • Cafe Moto is about 1/2 mile away, where you can get slow drip coffee and a croissant, then go out back and watch the factory workers roast beans.  Buy yourself a 50 pound bag.

People are really starting to stream in, and the usual informal conversations that make DevCon so great have already been percolating.  I’ve already picked up one idea at 6 AM this morning.  At DevCon I usually keep an Evernote Note just for ideas that seem to rise up out of nowhere, and then pick through it after it’s all over…and I’ve already got a page of notes running.

That’s the informal running commentary, I guess.  I did promise to do some reporting, and I thought I’d share a conversation I just had with Joe Scarpetta of The Scarpetta Group down in the Starbucks.

The Game

Over the years folks have made various marketing gambits at DevCon in an attempt to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack in some way, with a lot of creativity (Talking fish and wasn’t there a go-cart or something?).

The Scarpetta Group’s opening effort in this category of marketing, The Game, is ambitious and clever.  It’s basically a FileMaker Go based competition/questionnaire/geocaching treasure hunt with social media tie ins and real world interactions.

From a programming standpoint The Game makes use of iOS based Go specific features and so demonstrates the power of Go in a real world use case at a convention where Go features very prominently – so it’s an effective marketing tool in that sense.  But it also encourages real world interaction between players of The Game and the makers of the The Game – which has a lot of promise for building the kind of rich interactions with people that we all hope for when we come to these things.  In that way it works very differently from a Vendor booth, where the interactions are many, light and – more often than not – non-repeating.  That’s why I think as marketing gambits go, this is a pretty neat idea.

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Players are provided with a way to download a link which sets up a provisioning profile on their iOS device – the end result being an icon on their Home screen that, when pressed, opens Go and launches a hosted Game file.  They then create an account and log in.

Players accumulate points which act as “tickets” which earn them chances for a set of prizes including:

  • (1) 32gb iPad mini wi-fi with 1 year device insurance from Mobile Rhino
  • (1) Apple TV 3
  • Certificates for FileMaker Coaching Services
  • T-Shirts, goodies and other random prizes.

You don’t have to play to win – you can enter by logging in or going to the Scarpetta booth – but your chances increase the more you interact with The Game.  What you do have to do to win is be present for the drawing – and the location of the drawing is revealed over time during your interaction with The Game.

Joe Scarpetta, his brother James Scarpetta and Jeremy Bante designed and built the application.  The Scarpetta Group is based in South Carolina.  They’ve also launched a FileMaker User Group that meets in Simpsonville SC, so if you’re in the area look them up:

It’ll be interesting to see how The Game plays out.

Philly FileMaker News – August 2013

Hello everyone!  A few highlights in the coming month – mostly DevCon, some group news, and training stuff.

Philly FileMaker at DevCon

PFUG Breakfast

As usual we invite everyone from our region to join us for breakfast in the Sapphire Ballroom Tuesday August 13th at 8 AM.  This is the common breakfast area.  If it’s your first time at DevCon come join us and we’ll get you situated.

We will do a group photo somewhere photogenic at 8:45 AM.

Please email me at to RSVP if you haven’t already, just so I know to include you in email if there are any plan changes.

DevCon Coverage

We’ll be providing coverage of DevCon on the following channels:


Follow, like, etc if you want to keep up.  Enough said.

Meeting Schedule Change

We are moving from the 4th Tuesday of the month back to the 4th Thursday of the month.

Next Meeting

The next Philly FileMaker meeting will be our usual DevCon Recap – those of us who made it to DevCon and lived to tell the tale will, um…tell the tale.  We’ll have a roundtable conversation about what was learned.

August 22nd 2013
6 PM

RSVP here:

FileMaker Training

IT Solutions Consulting, PFUG’s sponsor, is holding its next FileMaker Training Series session October 2 – 4, 2013.  Details and registration here.

FileMaker Stories

So we didn’t have enough social media in our lives and decided to add a tumblr:

This tumblelog is about you and your stories.  We all came to FileMaker from many different paths, and this is a place to share how you got to where you are now.

Submissions can be as brief as a single sentence, or you can tell your life story.  Submit under your own name or anon.  They will be edited, so only nice stories or stories with no names, please.

That’s it!  Hope you all have a wonderful rest of the summer, and see you at DevCon or at the August meeting.


Colin and the PFUG team.

FileMaker DevCon 2013: My Shortlist


One of the joys and frustrations of FileMaker DevCon is having to select from the smorgasbord of session options (though it’s a dilemma whose pain has been eased by the fact that many sessions are now recorded).

A shortlist of sessions one plans to attend is bound to be as unique as the individual DevCon participant, but I thought I’d share mine – with some background discussion for why those sessions speak to me.

This will be my 5th DevCon, I think – I haven’t really been keeping close track.  I’ve gone in different capacities – as a longtime solo developer newly exposed to the larger community, then as a DevCon Speaker, and finally as a Project Manager representing my employer of the past eight years: IT Solutions Consulting (an FBA Platinum Partner and completely employee owned through an ESOP.  Yes, our business has 50 owners.  It’s pretty freaking awesome.).

As my role has changed, so have my objectives for attending DevCon.  In the beginning I attended purely coding and design sessions; then I began to be more interested in the networking opportunities DevCon afforded.  This year I’m mostly going to be attending Business Track sessions with a few forays into UI, and my Shortlist reflects that.

Have your own favorites?  Add them in comments.

– Colin


9:00 AM      The Elephant in the Room – Yousaf Shah (DataTherapy)

At ITS we are increasingly seeing business workflows that involve mobile – clients are either coming to us requesting it directly or we’re observing the need and offering it.  This is a business space that we see growing, so I’m going to sit in on this session focusing on the changing landscape of mobile.


10:45 AM     How to Create a Professional Development Plan for FileMaker Developers of all Skill Levels – Molly Connolly (Thorsen Consulting, Inc.)

For this one I’m interested in the general topic more than the particular resources Molly may talk about – we have .NET and Salesforce developers too, not just FileMaker developers, and the topic’s germane for all of them.  Molly’s a fantastic speaker and I’m looking forward to this one.


1:00 PM     Grow your Development Business by Joining the FileMaker Business Alliance – Julie Sigfrinius (FMI)

IT Solutions is already an FBA Platinum member but I may sit in on this as a refresher.


2:00 PM     Be a Consultant Not Just a Developer – Kristy Lapidus (Soliant Consulting)

My main interest with this one is from a SLDC perspective – all things PM are like crack to me.


3:45 PM – NO IDEA!

FileMaker Inc. has apparently chosen to torture me with no less than 6 sessions and a Feedzon Vendor Demo in this time slot, so I refuse to give FMI the satisfaction of informing them of my choice in advance.

Take THAT, FileMaker DevCon Planners!

I’m going to wing this one…or attend all 7 for 5 minutes each, learn nothing in the process and kick myself for it later.


9:00 AM     The FileMaker Platform, What’s Next? – Company Staff (FMI).

The most interesting (and only) game in town in this time slot.  A must-attend.


10:45 AM     Project Management Techniques – Building Solid Client Relationships – Jason Mundok (Jason Mundok LLC)

Did I mention PM stuff for me is crack?  I think I did, but if I didn’t…crack.  Crack!

Besides, Jason is a former colleague at ITS and my predecessor in a PM role here.  Very much looking forward to this.


2:00 PM     Grow your Business: Building and Leveraging a Closer Relationship with FileMaker, Inc – Phil Smith (FMI)

I’ll be going to this as a refresher, but if you don’t currently interact much with FMI this is likely going to be an eye opener for you and you should put it on your calendar.  It’s going to be an enlightening window into how FMI’s Sales, Marketing, Developer Relations and Support departments work, and how to build relationships with each.


3:45 PM     Create Your Own Starter Template, Before it is too Late! – Jonathan Mickelson (Thought Development Corp.)

I’ll be lurking this one to see if there are any ideas I can pass on to our team.  Sometimes with sessions you go in with expectations but hoping for surprises – the half dozen things that you or your team never considered – so you always enter with an open ear, in listening mode.



9:00 AM     Marketing Your FileMaker Solution or Products – Beth Nagengast (FMI)

I’ll be bringing back anything I glean from this to our marketing team at ITS, Jim and Andrea.


10:45 AM     Making the Case for FileMaker – Jason Fiske (FMI)

Jason did an early run-through of this for the Philly FileMaker User Group, and it was fantastic.  He’s got some seriously thoughtful insights on using ROI and value propositions in a very direct way to prove you (and your work’s) worth to clients.  Unless he’s dropped us on the cutting floor an IT Solutions project should be one of the case studies reviewed.


2:00 PM     Best Practices for Software Development: The Agile Development Process – Jason Mundok (Jason Mundok LLC)

ITS has been practicing Agile for seven years now – since Jason was with us – and I’ve lived it from both a developer and PM perspective.  Iterative development – with coherent and consistent processes built around it – really produces success.  Obviously I’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid here, but seriously, if you don’t have any process in place for managing your projects, come to this session for an eye-opener.


3:45 PM     Great Interface Design Patterns for FileMaker Go – Ernest Koe (The Proof Group)

Ernest always delivers, and this session fits my interest in mobile.



FileMaker DevCon 2013 is Upon Us!


The 2013 FileMaker Developer Conference is less than a month away!

Which means it’s time to prepare for your preparatory preparations.  Here’s a handy checklist:

Get DevCon2Go13

DevCon2Go13 is is a handy scheduling utility that runs in Go or on your desktop.  You’ve seen it in previous years; this year it’s even better, with interactive hotel floor plans, recorded session indicators and automatic retrieval of schedule/room updates or changes.

Get it here:

Get on Twitter

Follow @filemakerdevcon, obviously

oh and I hear these folks occasionally have something to say…

and of course follow the #filemakerdevcon hashtag –  It’s relatively quiet at the moment but will pick up during the actual convention.

Watch for updates here

I’ll be tweeting and blogging as time permits on whatever moves me to write.  It probably won’t be deeply technical in nature, more reportorial and general thoughts on the direction of FileMaker as influenced by what  I see.  Observations will be from the perspective of a former developer / now project manager.

Remember DevCons Past

Want to know what the 1998 DevCon in Monterey was like?  Ask Douglas Adler, who posted this article last year – originally published in 1998 in The Computer Paper.

Want to know where every DevCon has been held?  Ask Tim Cimbura, who has kept track in a database you can download.  Read about it in his update here.

Philly FileMaker Breakfast Returns!

For folks in the Philly metropolitan area (South Jersey, DE, and all of PA!), we’ll be convening somewhere on the dining floor for breakfast.  Date/Time TBD; if you’d like to be included and updated on plans, email me at colin.keefe [at]

Edit: also read this excellent guide, again from Tim Cimbura: FileMaker DevCon Tips for the Newcomer and Veteran!

Happy FileMaking!

– Colin

FileMaker Developer Conference 2013 – Schedule Announced

Go here.

Please Join us August 28th: 2012 FileMaker DevCon Recap!

The Philly FileMaker Crew at DevCon 2012, l to r:
Jerry Salem, Bryant Minard, Kevin Ayers, Colin Keefe, John Bolles, Dan Stein, and Dean Weisman

Greetings FileMaker Enthusiasts,

Our next Philadelphia FileMaker Developer Group meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday evening, August 28th, 2012 at 6:00 PM. The meeting will be held at the IT Solutions Fort Washington Office.

414 Commerce Dr., Suite 150, Fort Washington, PA 19034
Google Map

Please RSVP here if you are planning to attend this meeting:

2012 FileMaker DevCon Recap!

The sixteenth annual FileMaker Developer Convention was held in mid-June at the Hotel Fontainebleau in Miami Beach FL. We’ve just gotten back and can’t wait to share. We had a good showing of Philly FileMaker User Group members attending this year, so this ought to be a very lively session.

But probably not this lively:

Continue reading ‘Please Join us August 28th: 2012 FileMaker DevCon Recap!’