Imagine if the FileMaker platform had an enormous music festival each year (like “Coachella”), where the best and brightest speakers, sessions, and vendors converged to show off the latest in technical and business topics. That is exactly what the annual FileMaker Developer conference is. Each summer, all manner of smart, passionate people share their knowledge, inspiration, and experiences with the amazing FileMaker technology platform. The Angel City Data team was in attendance at the August 2019 “DevCon” and we have our own keen takeaways from this “festival”, which we rate as the most significant conference in over a decade.

Back in the Eighties…

Circa 1987 new bands like A-ha, Nu Shooz and Bruce Hornsby were breaking out on the charts. Meanwhile, Apple Computer had a quiver of desktop software applications, under their newly-formed “Claris” software label. Included in this group of applications was FileMaker Pro, desktop database software. After a number of years, “Claris” folded and “FileMaker Inc.” was spun off as its own company, where it was guided by the steady hand of CEO, Dominique Goupil. For many years the company experienced product improvements, customer growth, and consistent profitability under his tenure.

The Band Gets a New Frontman

In March of 2019, Dominique stepped down as CEO and was replaced by FileMaker’s former Vice President of Worldwide Sales, Brad Freitag. Brad had spent the previous years strengthening and optimizing the Sales department, and many were interested to see what his effect would be in his role as frontman. His impact was felt immediately. As the new CEO, he has already shown that he’s bringing new ideas and fresh energy to the stage. The 2019 Dev Con will most certainly be remembered as Brad’s coming out party. Watch Brad’s opening keynote here.

Getting the Band Back Together

At the opening keynote of the conference, Brad turned his amp up to 11, plugged in, and with his opening power-chord, announced that “FileMaker Inc.” was no more. The company was changing; it was acquiring new products, embracing innovative technologies, and amplifying successful strategies. The new entity he was forging no longer fit under a one-product name. After deep exploration of other options by Brad and his team, “Claris” continued re-emerging as the clear choice and final winner. The name comes with a new logo and a modern direction, but also carries a strong connection with the company’s beginnings. We think this brand name is brilliant and adds focus on future visions, while maintaining a healthy sense of nostalgia and comfort. If you don’t think retaining a great name is smart, ask Metallica what they think.

New Release Dropping Soon

The FileMaker platform is a classic that continues to get richer and more powerful with each new release. The conference punctuated that point with the majority of sessions and content centered on FileMaker Pro Advanced, FileMaker Go, FileMaker Web Direct, FileMaker Server, and FileMaker Cloud. However, one of the key announcements was Claris’s recent acquisition of the software company “Stamplay”, a low-code technology platform that allows people to integrate many of their business applications together. Newly renamed, “Claris Connect”, it is slated for release in early 2020. This ingenious tool will actually magnify the power of apps like MailChimp, Dropbox, and FileMaker, by letting them work together to perform clever, automated tasks, in concert with one another. This new product will serve as a sort of “intelligent glue”, that can bind a business’s disconnected applications together, into seamless, productive workflows.

B-b-b-baby You Just Ain’t Seen N-n-n-nothing Yet…

Brad made a strong impression as the new CEO and frontman for the organization. However, that’s not the only change to the Claris “band” personnel. Srini Gurrapu was inserted into the newly created “Vice President of Products and Design” position. He spoke at a number of events during the conference and shared the Claris vision for the future of its products. He highlighted the company’s acceleration into web, artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things, and other innovative pursuits. He also hinted at additional, future acquisitions that could help further catapult the company forward. His passion and execution will be fun to watch in the coming months. His visionary keynote can be found here.

Party on, Garth!

At Angel City Data, we continue to be strong proponents of the FileMaker platform. With the strong guidance being provided by the new leadership, the acquisitions of smart, complimentary platforms and products, and the renewed focus on the technology of tomorrow, we feel this platform has enormous upside potential. We can’t wait to amplify our customers’ systems with the latest and greatest features that the leading Workplace Innovation Platform has to offer.

We’re all in.