The evolution of the FME user community.

The evolution of the FME user community.

Hard to believe the FME user community started all the way back in 1998. Where has the time gone? Over all those years, it’s evolved from a simple email list through several (E-Yahoo-Google) groups, and then 3 years ago to a Salesforce-hosted knowledge base.

We are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve our customer service, and to that end we have upgraded our community again. It’s better than ever. More than just a place for questions, it’s a network of FME users, a library of resources, and a venue for submitting ideas to Safe developers. Check out this Knowledge Base article to see some of the great new features and how to get started with your user profile.

Why are we so excited about this?

A few of our top FME community users.

A few of our top FME community users.

The focus of the new Knowledge Center is on the amazing community of FME users. We want to connect with you, and connect you with each other. Community Answers is the place to share advice and tap into the knowledge of FME experts. That’s why everything has comments and voting, so you can choose (and give feedback on) the best questions, answers, ideas, and articles.

The second focus is to provide FME users with all the resources they need. With the updated Knowledge Base, we are able to continually publish new tutorials, videos, and workspaces. The use of Topics and Spaces/Categories mean we (and you!) can tag everything with the keywords that will help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Finally, we’ve had some form of an “idea board” for a while. (We even had a physical one at the last FME World Tour.) Now it’s official. Ideas Exchange lets you suggest new ideas for FME Desktop, FME Server, and FME Cloud. We take these ideas seriously. The Knowledge Team, Don, and I take the time to browse them and add comments. So please let us know what you’d like to see in our next release, because your ideas help determine the future of FME.

The secret behind our best Knowledge Center yet

Migrating our growing network of users, resources, and other content is always a challenge. We nearly always lost most, if not all, of our content with each migration we’ve done in the past.

Not this time.

With the help of FME and REST APIs, we were able to migrate our data to the new Knowledge Center without losing a thing.

The new Knowledge Center is threefold, and so were the data sources. We had Knowledge articles in Salesforce, a larger-than-ever user community, and a whole bunch of ideas posted in two separate Trello boards. Thankfully, these apps had comprehensive REST APIs, and FME has stellar JSON support. Using FME, we were able to merge users across systems based on their names, bring in human-curated Topics from an Excel spreadsheet, move Salesforce-hosted images into Amazon S3, and import from the other (mostly JSON-based REST API) sources. With all that data integrated, we then pointed FME at the powerful REST API of our target web service application (AnswerHub) to create the users and import all the content, right down to re-casting their votes for ideas and re-submitting their comments and questions.

The new FME Knowledge Center is the result of sending the old idea boards, articles, and user profiles through FME.

The new FME Knowledge Center is the result of sending the old idea boards, articles, and user profiles through FME.

Why am I telling you this?

This migration proved something about flexibility. With integration technology readily available, we’re all free to use the best apps for the job, and free to evolve with technology. Identify your specific need, find the best app for it, then integrate it with your system. If you find something better, throw away what doesn’t work, move your data over and integrate with what does.

What we re-confirmed is that with FME, you’re never stuck in a system. As long as there are REST APIs to read from your old system, and write to your new one, you’re free to use the best solution available. And that’s pretty groovy.

“One thing I can tell you is you got to be free. Come together …”

The Beatles serenade disparate software systems. (I’m sure John Lennon had JSON-based REST APIs in mind when he wrote this classic in 1969.)

About FME Knowledge Base Knowledge Center Resources User Community

Dale Lutz

Dale is the co-founder and VP of Development at Safe Software. After starting his career working spatial data (ranging from icebergs to forest stands) for many years, he and other co-founder, Don Murray, realized the need for a data integration platform like FME. His favourite TV show is Star Trek, which inspired the names for most of the meeting rooms and common areas in the Safe Software office. Dale is always looking to learn more about the data industry and FME users. Find him on Twitter to learn more about what his recent discoveries are!

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