First thing’s first: FME 2017.0 is officially here. Go get it! Thank you to everyone who downloaded the Release Candidate in January/February and provided us with feedback over the last few weeks. Your beta testing prowess was so valuable in helping us iron out kinks in all this brand new functionality before the official launch.

See What’s New and Download FME 2017.0

The FME World Tour 2017 kicked off yesterday with a live broadcast from Victoria, BC. The theme of this year’s event is magic — so you can be sure the demos involved plenty of potions and enchanted castles. (I was promised the presenters would be wearing wizard robes and carrying wands, but… I guess I’m ok with the generous number of Harry Potter references.)

If you’re still wondering whether to register for the FMEWT stop in your city, or if you’ve registered and want to know what to expect, here’s a point-form look at what was covered yesterday. The full talks will be shared as webinars after the FMEWT is over, so stay tuned for that and sign up for our mailing list to get notified of upcoming webinars.

Opening Session

One lucky FME World Tour attendee gets a free pass to the FME UC. (Details)

Your Data and FME (Useful Spells and How To Cast Them)

This segment focuses on common data workflows. At FMEWT Victoria we shared tips on how to use various databases to your advantage.

Depending on time, other FMEWT stops might include talks on managing attributes and/or performance tips.

Automating Everything (The Real Wizardry)

Building an FME Workspace is the first step, but automation is where the real magic lies. This part dives into using the power of automation, including new FME Server and FME Cloud capabilities.

Customer Presentation: Extracting Text from PDFs

When faced with the challenge of pulling text from PDFs, Tim Albert of the Victoria Airport Authority tried several methods of getting FME to do this. Unfortunately, PDFs are huge conglomerates of information, and FME can’t inherently do this (yet). There’s so much stuff jammed into these files: text, vector drawings, raster images, imaging models, header info, mapping info, etc.

“I needed a hero.”

Tim realized he had to enlist the help of a tool outside of FME. Tools to extract text from PDFs exist, and with the right transformers, FME is able talk to them. Tim found a command-line tool called PDFtoText and built an FME custom transformer to interact with it via the FeatureReader and FeatureWriter. His advice: If you need to do something outside of the range of FME, put it into a custom transformer and upload it to FME Hub.

Try Tim’s custom transformer for PDF reading.

His next step was to use FME Server to automate all PDF-to-text conversions. After that, he focused on how people were going to get this data, and built a data delivery solution with FME Server.

Tim’s was an impressive and inspiring demo of what’s possible with a few transformers and FME Server. When he discovered a shortcoming in the functionality he needed, he was able to tie in an external library and build a totally automated solution. Not only that, but he also shared it on FME Hub for others to use.

Nice work, Tim! We’ve got tons of stories like this at FME World Tour stops around the world, and about 10x that at the upcoming FME UC, so be sure to check them out.

See also: Integrating Third-Party Tools with FME (No Coding Required)

Expanding FME Frontiers (Dark Magic)

Technology moves quickly, and it can be a challenge to keep up with it. This section has talks focusing on the vast and mysterious data challenges of tomorrow.

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Sound like topics you’d like to learn more about? Register for the FME World Tour stop in the city nearest you. If you can’t make it, stay tuned for our upcoming webinars on all of the above topics.

About FME Fme 2017 FME World Tour

Tiana Warner

Tiana is a product marketing manager at Safe Software. Her background in computer programming and creative hobbies led her to be one of the main producers of creative content for Safe Software. Tiana spends her free time writing fantasy novels and riding her horse, Bailey.

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