Tim Dietrich

Custom Software Developer

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FileMaker DevCon 2014: Day 2

Day 2 of FileMaker DevCon 2014 was packed with more great sessions, and one rather huge surprise.

Layouts, Styles, & Themes: Under the Hood
By Andrew Paulsen of FileMaker, Inc.

I'm a big fan of the "Under the Hood" sessions, especially when they cover areas or features that are particularly complicated. In this sessions, Andrew did a wonderful job of explaining how styles and themes are applied, when they are applied, and perhaps most importantly, their impact on performance. If you are struggling to understand how styles and themes work, and have an opportunity to review this session, then be sure to check it out.

One of my favorite quotes from the session was, "Keep layouts simple." Love it!

One very interesting fact that Andrew shared in the session: The older version of the DevCon2Go application had 121 objects in it. The new one has only 60. I think that clearly shows how the improvements to the design surface, especially things like themes and styles, and the newer layout objects, can have an impact on our solutions. (And by the way, this year's DevCon2Go solution is really cool. Check it out!)

A couple of other take-aways:

  • The Refresh Object script step is much less expensive than refresh Window. But it does not refresh related data sets.
  • Shadows are very expensive. Use with care.
  • Even invisible objects have a cost.
  • Objects offscreen have less cost.
  • Objects in inactive panels and invisible have even less cost. (Building them is deferred.)
  • The Refresh Window script step really does work now. (It completely tears down the view and recreates it.)

And one more very important thing that, hopefully, we all already know: Object visibility is not a security feature.

Under the Hood with Database Encryption and FileMaker Server 13
By Jon Thatcher of FileMaker, Inc.

Again, being such a big fan of the "Under the Hood" sessions, I couldn't resist this session - and boy am I glad that I attended it. Jon actually gave us two sessions in one, covering in great depth the new Encryption at Rest (EAR) feature, as well as several very informative and helpful FileMaker performance tips. One big take-away from this one (and there are many): When EAR is in use, all of the temp files, on both the server and client side, are also encrypted.

FileMaker WebDirect Under the Hood
By Vin Addala of FileMaker, Inc.

There is no doubt that WebDirect is an amazing and impressive technology. It is even more impressive when you think about everything that is going on to deliver the FileMaker experience within the context of a browser.

In this session, Vin gave an overview of all of the components that make WebDirect possible, and walked through a couple of examples if how they work together when common tasks (such as opening a database or logging out) are performed. He also demonstrated a few tools that he and his team use to analyze the rendered pages and the interaction between the browser and the server.

There was a lot of useful information to take in from this session, and I'm going to be sure to review the slides and recording at some point to really wrap my head around it all.

Getting Started With FileMaker Synchronization
By David Head of FileMaker, Inc.

Having developed EasySync, and knowing everything that went into making that possible, I was curious to see how David would approach the challenge of synchronization. His overview of the challenges, and how to overcome them, was very well done - with just the right amount of theory and details. And, needless to say, it was quite a surprise to see him demo a mobile sync solution that uses EasySync. If you are thinking about creating your own sync solution, or using either a commercial solution or open source solution, then this session is a good way to determine what approach might work best to achieve your goals. Highly recommended!

I mentioned that Day 2 also included a "rather huge surprise," and that is an understatement. At the FileMaker Business Alliance (FBA) Business Meeting, the 2014 Annual FileMaker Excellence Awards were announced. I was absolutely surprised, and incredibly honored to have been awarded the Development award for EasySync. It was a surreal experience, and I don't think it has fully sunk in yet.

DevCon 2014 Day 2 was every bit as good as Day 1 - and that big surprise and honor was like the icing on the cake.