Claris Engage Review

I’ve never been to the US DevCon, mainly due to our inability to support our Asian clients from that time zone, but have attended multiple UK and a Scandinavian one. All of which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.

I fully appreciate that this hosted version of Claris Engage was severely compromised due to the current pandemic, but I wondered what people’s thoughts were on this format and the content provided?

My own quick summary was that the Claris staff came across well, offering an inclusive attitude. The only negative would be the adoption of the infuriating Apple ‘I’m so excited....’ phrase. Also, the other positive was that this brought information to people who would not normally have the opportunity and it was free.

We obviously had single tracks, and I felt some of the panel discussions were light on detail. As ever, it is rare to sit through something like this and not identify one nugget of gold that will help. This year was no exception for me.

The most obvious negatives are the lack of meeting people face to face, the fun and the relative times of sessions depending on where in the world it was viewed from.

I’ll go on the record to say thank you to Claris. For a first effort I thought they did OK. The WebEx video restriction wasn’t really an issue as often the sound and video was poor, which I don’t believe was our connection. The keynote and Srini’s sessions were pre-recorded for YouTube and came across much better than the WebEx sessions. If I were to criticise this, or many previous events, it is the annoying habit of starting a session with the same slides and information from an earlier session.

Other than that. Well done!

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My first DevCon was last year so I feel I have very little to compare too. When I came back from last years DevCon I was energized and excited. That is a feeling that continues to get rarer as I get older and I was taken back that a DevCon could excite me like that.

I saw about 80-90% of the DevCon and while I found it all interesting it lacked the excitement and I feel I learned a lot less. In part because I learned a lot from just talking to other people while there but also in part because the panels just seemed less interesting.

  • I am excited about Android support but we got no demo and really all we did get is one sentence saying it is being worked on. Well that and it will have most of the same features as FileMaker go witch is big. As a non Apple user it would be amazing to be able to make things I can use on the go. This has been one of the main reasons I have considered developing on a different platform.

  • Converting a document/form to fields by dragging a scan could save me some time. Will be interesting to try once it is released.

  • I like that they continue to be committed to onsite as well as the cloud. My whole business model requires offline access. I continue to fear that in time onsite will be phased out.

  • I did the training sessions last year and missed them this year. The shortness of the classes and the amount of people in them limited my ability to cement what I learned but it still gave me all kinds of ideas that I later dug into more and implemented into my applications.

Over all I feel like they did a decent job with what they had to work with. I am not at all sorry I took the time to participate. I am very happy to see the next DevCon being on the West Coast. Alaska is a long ways away from Florida.

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I visited a few. The conference day usually starts with getting up early, doing some work with EU clients before going to breakfast. This is doable for a week.

I hope they can stream sessions in future. Apple shows it's possible, e.g. for WWDC '19, where a few sessions were live and others available within an hour after they finished the session.

The panels could have more diversity, especially more women and more Europeans/Asians and not so America centric.

For the first virtual conference, this was great and better than expected. I hope the technicans from Apple can support them on live streaming with HTTP, so we can watch them all on an Apple TV with big screen.

And great was the chat website hosted by Geist interactive. That is something, the Claris Community should include for events. Including all those special virtual rooms. The community itself was rarely used while the conference.

So in future, in-person event with live streaming and video availability quickly, a chat website for all people and we could have much more people active. If 1000+ people come in person and 5000+ people could watch live, we would get a much bigger portion of the 50000 developers engaged.


Anyone knows if they partner with LiveCode or build their own stuff?

Sounds great indeed. But this was probably a simple example, well tested and prepared. Will have to check with real world forms.

I tried LiveCode when I was at the last DevCon and they never could get my solution to work. I have no idea if Claris partnered with them or not.

My guess is that Claris develops internally and that it will be some kind of FileMaker GO for Android.

If you know a partner, you may ask him, and maybe he is not under NDA.

I watched a few sessions each morning. I found the panel discussions interesting even though I wanted to have more depth/detail. I was watching alone (because getting together for 4am breakfast isn't popular in NZ), so there was no hype. No chance to talk or meet people.

The stale, pale male demographic was evident to me too ( and I fit into that group! ). That says to me that the product isn't getting out enough. It needs to make some new friends.


There are some other US found products that have conferences in US and Europe (also other continents). European conferences typically have more diverse speaker setup.

Well it’s sort of obvious because Europe is not a country. But anyway.

FileMaker has very limited set of people who give talks. But that is also true for other tech communities. I would guess that it is most difficult for potential speakers to get accepted for the first time (like first job).

I’ve been participating in different online confs in last few years and for me the issue in online is lack of engage :wink: Meeting people and networking is 90% and conference talks are 10% of the gain.

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I was talking to a fellow UK developer yesterday, who went to bed at 03:00 (you could have almost had breakfast with him Malcolm :wink: ) who said that after the presentations Matt(s) Navarre and Petrowsky had a ‘washup’ online session that included the likes of Wim Decorte, Andy LeCates amongst others, which he said was very good. Also the CxO session, which I skipped.

Also keep in mind that you have only seen 1/10th of Engage. The rest is still coming. :slight_smile:

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I joined a few sessions. At the beginning, I had the problem that I did not receive a link to the sessions I booked. I was very happy to get the youtube life stream links!

The sessions I visited were somewhat 'robotic' and not much meat on the bone.

But the main problem was the language - for me, it showed how important a local conference is, in my own language. This is not a problem with the devcon - but with my language, I'm not good enough in english

As the European conference in Lisbon will also go virtual and that one is planned as far as I know with multiple languages, you may get some German speaking tracks.

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ok... since the 'Malbun' conference was canceled for this year, I can join the 'Lisbon' conference (both were planned at about the same dates)

Hopefully, it goes also via youtube live-stream - the quality was very good!

Thank You!

I hope you can sign up for the new date:

the current reservation for the hotel and the fee for the conference are still valid, so no action needed imho (if one want's to join in 2021)

Is 90% of Engage yet to be revealed? When will that happen?

Yes. All the other sessions will be released over time ( over the next several weeks as they get them edited ).

Ah! That's more like it.

I think by having less sessions and more speakers in each session allowed them to focus more on technical stuff and make the sessions more content-rich, which I appreciated. What at least doubled the value, however, was the initiative of Geist Interactive, as @MonkeybreadSoftware mentioned. We have just published a recap on our web, after having an internal after-conference, you all are most welcome to come and read it

after-team1-1320 .