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FileMaker Developer Conference – July 18-21, 2016

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FileMaker Developer Challenge:
Custom Apps for Community

FileMaker Developer Challenge

Let’s share our skills where they are most needed!
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During the conference, small teams will demonstrate their creativity and expertise, competing in an informal hackathon to design simple-but-useful custom apps for three Las Vegas area nonprofits:

  • NPHY

    Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth

    The Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth is the most comprehensive service provider for homeless youth in Nevada, bringing resources, safety, and well-being to thousands of homeless youth each year. Life for on the streets in Las Vegas can be rough for anyone, especially young people, and NPHY is committed to helping them find a way out.

  • Foster Kinship

    Foster Kinship

    Foster Kinship empowers kinship caregivers through support, advocacy, and case management. When parents can no longer care for their children, Foster Kinship helps other family members to step in. Their goal is to provide the safest, most stable, and permanent placements for the children in their care.

  • The Center LV

    The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada

    The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada provides a safe gathering place for the Las Vegas lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community and its allies. They also provide much-needed services to elders, low-to-moderate income residents, and people living with HIV.

Why this event?

Last year, we heard from many DevCon attendees that they wanted a way to make a difference in the local community where DevCon was taking place. What better way to help than to use our development skills? When we spoke with nonprofits in the area, it was clear that the FileMaker Platform could transform the way they work and help their teams become more efficient.

Who is the sponsor?

Soliant Consulting, a service firm that develops FileMaker custom apps for small and large businesses, is excited to sponsor the event. They were responsible for screening a list of Apple-approved Las Vegas nonprofits and choosing the final three based on use case and technical readiness. They have been working closely with these nonprofits to gather the requirements for the custom apps. They will manage the contest at DevCon and help to present the awards. This year they also started a philanthropy program of their own.

  • Soliant Consulting

How do I participate?

The event is open to all registered attendees of the FileMaker Developer Conference 2016, regardless of experience level. You can sign up until June 30th at 6am (PDT), when we'll start to form the teams. Note that FileMaker and Soliant employees are not eligible to compete.

Sign up now >

How will teams be formed?

We will include the first 120 people who apply. You have the opportunity to tell us which nonprofit you prefer, and you can also request one teammate if you wish. We will form teams based on these preferences while also making sure that the teams are fairly balanced. This should be great way to make a difference while getting to know new people at DevCon!

We will announce the teams no later than Tuesday, July 5th. We recommend that you get in touch right away by email or phone so that you can get to know one another and come up with a name for your team.

How much of a commitment is this?

These are relatively simple projects: if the entire team puts in 10 hours overall, you should be able to create a decent working prototype. We're estimating this to be about 3 hours per person. Now that we've opened up development to the week before DevCon, you have the choice about whether to work before DevCon, at DevCon, or both.

How will the competition work?

We will post the specs for each custom app on Monday July 11th at 9am (PDT), so you'll have a week of lead time before DevCon. We'll also hold a Q&A at DevCon on Monday, July 18th at 4:30pm. Don’t worry if you can’t make it: all the same information will be posted online as well.

Please do not contact the nonprofits directly for information. Soliant is doing a great job of gathering requirements, and we want all the teams to have the same starting point.

You will use your own equipment and FileMaker platform software to develop your apps. We recommend using FileMaker Pro Advanced 15. Please do not make use of any paid plugins, since we do not want the nonprofits to incur extra expense. You can use any of your own templates, custom functions, or other frameworks. But bear in mind that the final app is provided with full access privileges for the nonprofit's free use — so you won't want to include proprietary "secret sauce" code unless you're ready to share it.

Once you get to DevCon, we recommend gathering your team at your first opportunity — the Aptitude Lounge could be a good first meeting place! Don't forget to come and get your t-shirts at Registration as well.

The working prototypes are due on Thursday, July 21st at 9am. All that day, a team of judges will evaluate all submissions, and the three winning teams will be honored along with representatives from each nonprofit at the Closing Session at 5:30pm. Evaluation criteria will include how well the app meets the stated requirements, how easy it is to use and understand, how it looks, whether the concept will scale appropriately: basically, the same standards we bring to our work as FileMaker developers, while understanding that this is a working prototype.

What's in it for me?

We hope that your first motivation is to help the nonprofits, but there are benefits for you as well. Everyone gets a t-shirt, and if your team wins, you'll be invited onstage at the Closing Session! Additionally, a story about your app will be featured on the FileMaker website, and of course you get bragging rights (and might want to list this on your resume). Finally, you'll meet new people, potentially learn new skills, and could have the chance to take a leadership role in your group.

What's in it for the nonprofits?

We are providing the three nonprofits with two-year licenses for FileMaker Licensing for Teams, and each is receiving a free registration to the FileMaker Developer Conference to get them started on the platform. They will also be featured (along with the winning teams) on the FileMaker website.

It's important to us that the winning apps are genuinely useful to the nonprofits. After DevCon is done, we hope that the winning teams will want to wrap up their work — but they have no obligation to do so. In order to get the apps across the finish line, the following three FileMaker Business Alliance members have agreed to provide 10 hours of development time each. We look forward to seeing the results!

DB Services iSolutions, Inc. Skeleton Key
Safe Place
Photo courtesy of Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth