I’d have difficulty imagining a conference that could have gone much better. Egbert Friedrich was a super host, very kind, gracious and made sure we were all welcome in Berlin. Talks were exactly what you’d have hoped to see. Almost all were a bit chaotic and loads of audience participation. Everyone wants to do this again.
Hotel was in a super location right on the bank of the River Spree, in the former East Berlin. There are several sections of the wall right by the patio area along the river. Previously this was right in front of the wall.
Sessions that stick out for me:
Did a superb presentation on using the grid system for FileMaker layouts. When I say presentation it was very much in the Pause style, loads of questions and discussion. This ran for three hours rather than the scheduled one and a half hours. Would have gone longer, but we were getting quite thirsty so it moved to the hotel bar. Probably the best talk I’ve ever seen on FileMaker user interface.
His FileMaker tool for calculating grids is available for download at http://www.infografix.eu/gridmaker/
Set the bar by having only one slide! He showed a screen shot of a single script, which was argued about for nearly two hours. We discussed what was right with it, what was wrong with it and in the end it proved a really good example of how a script that looks superficially good can actually have many problems.
Very good presentation on running scripts server-side instead of client side. Good examples of benefits and possible problems.
His presentation was very dry, but his incredibly incisive questions and observations in everyone else’s talks made us all think very hard about the topics at hand. At the end of Crispin Hodge’s Sync presentation, Volker asked a question that diverted the topic from FileMaker Go sync to how do developers from different countries deal with estimating and quoting. A very lively discussion ensued lasting another two hours. At which point we were all thirsty so the arguments moved to the bar – a repeating theme!
Detailed thorough talk on FileMaker SQL. Very wide ranging talk, with loads of discussion. Key points that I wasn’t aware of – using prepared statements with FileMaker means that FileMaker will ensure that data types are respected. That’s not the case if you execute an SQL string with embedded data that’s not the case. Andries Heylen has come up with an awesome custom function that will return the SQL errors if you try the sql in data viewer – http://www.fmfunctions.com/functions_display_record.php?functionId=335 . The other thing Peter discussed was how there’s no way for server side plug-ins to separate the memory they use from the memory used by other plugins. Sounded pretty scary and I’d now be less inclined to use multiple plugins server side.
Since Christian Schmitz from Monkeybread was there, syntax highlighting in colour was de rigeur among the presenters as almost everyone was using the MBS plugin. It’s an incredibly impressive plugin, but it seems to do so many different things that I suspect most users find it overwhelming.
Must confess that I wasn’t quite confident enough to try my presentation without Keynote, so used it to lead into my session. As expected discussion ended up on a slightly different topic than I’d started on – refactoring existing code. Transition between the two bits could have been better, but we did have a good discussion that dealt with approaches for taking over existing systems with new customers.
Berlin is an amazing city. We stayed a couple of extra days to explore. Quite interesting seeing the remaining bits of the Berlin wall. The main Holocaust memorial is huge and disorienting. Many thanks again to Egbert for all his hard work in making this happen.