Hi, Weihao here. I just finished Claris Engage 2024 and said goodbye to my friends and colleagues. It has been a wonderful three days filled with the joy of discovery, learning and sharing. I almost forgot how good it is to connect with so many people who share the same passion for the craft and the platform. I met many old friends and made new friends.
These are my Claris Engage 2024 takeaways.
Recognizing and Enabling Core Customers
Let’s start with the keynote. Claris Engage 2024 kicked off with its keynote. This year, rather than having one speaker deliver the entire keynote, we had many speakers covering different topics—you know, the Apple style.
From the get-go, Claris doubled down on their recognition of their core customer group being the problem solvers using their product. This aligns with the message they’ve been sending over the past few years. As a low-code developer, it’s nice that the platform vendor realizes that it’s less about selling licenses and more about developers using their products to create value.
The marketing department cooked up quite a few things, including customer stories that can help facilitate sales, as well as upcoming programs to help developers adopt the product and advance their careers. I’m very curious about what these programs will be.
Transparency and Feedback
I can also see Claris’ continued commitment to its agile transformation. Starting this week, Claris published its backlog on the Claris Community to help developers plan and prompt feedback to guide platform development. Do you want to know what exciting features are coming, or share your thoughts on them? Check it out here.
Claris FileMaker and AI
Honestly, the hottest topic regarding FileMaker at this Claris Engage was AI integration, and the keyword is now. Not in the future. Now. I’m amazed by the progress AI practitioners in the community have made with the current version of FileMaker. There were several AI-related sessions at this Claris Engage, and they were all good.
Truth be told, I feel a bit scared. FOMO (fear of missing out) really hit me after attending some of those sessions, but after a few deep breaths, I realized that FOMO is not going to help me or my organization. Only learning and practicing will help us progress. From an implementation perspective, it’s not that hard; it’s just API calls, but I certainly need to learn more to understand how to choose the appropriate models and structure the prompt.
Oh well, to be in this industry is to be a lifelong student. I’m ready.
There was a lot of focus on Claris Connect and Claris Studio. One of the core messages I received is that Claris Connect and Claris Studio are supposed to augment FileMaker, rather than replace it.
Claris Connect was already a mature workflow orchestration product before it was purchased by Apple and put under the Claris product line. The gap has always been to discover how it works in harmony with FileMaker, rather than on its own. Over the years, FileMaker connectors were developed to allow easy integration between Claris Connect and FileMaker.
This year, we will have the custom connector, which will allow us to create connectors that are not included by default, and we will have a Claris Studio connector, which completes the data pipeline between the three products (Claris FileMaker, Claris Connect and Claris Studio), making them an integrated platform from the data level.
As for Claris Studio, from a feature perspective, we will soon be able to make all views (not just forms) public. This means that not only can we use Claris Studio as a web form builder to gather data, but we can also use it to share data.
I often get asked, “Is Claris Studio ready?” My answer is “I don’t know. Why don’t you try it and find out?”
Claris Studio, like Claris Connect, will have a free tier for anyone with a FileMaker license (which I assume, if you are reading this article, is likely you). And just like the free tier of Claris Connect, the free tier of Claris Studio constrains usage volume, not features, so you can try to achieve what you are looking for at no additional license cost.
I attended many wonderful sessions, including one from my amazing coworker David Weiner. There is so much to talk about from these sessions that I can’t it all into this article. I’ll talk about my session recommendations and thoughts in future articles.
We Won an Award
Yes yes, we won the Advocacy Award this year. I’m sure there is an official announcement from DIS, so I’m not going to elaborate on it. It felt really good to see our and all others’ efforts being recognized.
Let’s Meet Again!
As I’m packing to go to the airport, I can’t help but feel a little bit emotional. As I mentioned earlier, I almost forgot how important it is to connect with the community. I asked many attendees how they felt about this Claris Engage, and the answer is, almost uniformly, “we are so glad that after almost 4 years, we get to meet again.” There was a great crowd, amazing vibe, wonderful sessions and so many good talks. Let’s do it again!