We all like a good party, right?
When we – as FME users – all congregate together, we learn from each other, we network, we socialize, we have a bit of fun, and massively improve our FME skills and knowledge.
We also hand out awards, meet the FME Lizard, chat with FME developers, wear our Safe socks, learn about upcoming functionality, share user stories, compare favourite whiskies, and gently tease Don about his love of XML.
But despite the photos, I’m not talking about no user conference!
Instead, I’m talking about a get-together that takes place 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
It’s Real… but Virtual!
OK, the event I’m talking about is online, I admit. But all of the activities that take place during a conference – the learning, the awards, the socializing, the networking – all occur here.
What is this magical place?
It’s the FME Community; and today we’re launching our best ever version.
What Has the FME Community Ever Done for Us?
Here’s the thing: the FME User Conference takes place only every three years, and this year it had to be postponed anyway. The community is all FME, all the time.
And it does really function the same as a user conference. We have a whole series of articles and videos that teach you about FME. We have fun contests and quizzes that educate as well as entertain you. We have very talented people – both users and Safe staff – who support you by answering almost every type of FME question you can think of. We even hand out awards and swag to deserving members.
The community has no barriers to entry. You can sign up and take part whether you’re a long-time FME expert, a complete novice, or – like most of us – somewhere in between.
No question is too basic (or too advanced) and there is knowledge, networking, recognition, and all sorts of fun community contests and events that every level of FME user benefits from.
And if you really want to browse the community, wearing your Safe socks (or dressed up as a doctor) and chat with the FME Lizard about whisky, then we’re not going to stop you.
It’s New and Improved!
Right, so we’re not just talking about community now for the sake of it; the FME Community platform has just undergone a huge upgrade, and we want to tell you about it.
- A refined and more stylish, user interface. Think of it like upgrading to the view from the Vancouver Conference Centre!
- A simpler set of topics. Each topic now has its own different forum, so no longer is every single question buried in the same list.
- The ability to access your support cases. Now you can actually log in and see the status of your Safe support tickets. You’ll see whether it’s still in the queue, being looked at, or passed to development.
- A new capability called Groups. Groups are like a separate forum for a particular purpose. We might create groups for different industries, different languages, different geographic regions, or for special events. We can even create private groups if you have the need.
- Brand new reputation and badging. Now reputation is divided into different levels, so you can build up from an Observer to become a Supporter, an Influencer, an Evangelist, or even an FME Dignitary! Badges now appear at multiple levels (grey, bronze, silver, and gold) according to your participation, and can be tied to events outside the community, such as attending conferences.
The reputation level isn’t completely new, by the way. We didn’t want to entirely wipe out previous contributions, so you carry 10% of your old reputation on to the new site, plus additional badges have been awarded for prior accomplishments.
Not related to the platform upgrade, but we’re also hoping to widen the community scope to meet the needs of more FME users than ever before. We’ll keep up the recent FME Quiz and Question-of-the-Week, and add new articles from FME experts, such as “What’s Up Wednesday?” Safe staff will generally participate more and be able to pass on their expertise in new and interesting ways.
And before long, FME training will be moved to the same platform, and benefit from the same look, feel, and integration.
The Famous Five
There is a group of contributors that we recognize, not just for their FME knowledge, but for their dedication and contributions to the community.
We call these people Community Champions.
The Community Champions are hand-selected by Safe Software and help out with community management and moderation. They’re under no obligation – because they aren’t employed by us – but are generally persons most likely to answer questions or to be able to advise if you need help with any aspect of the community.
Party On, Dudes
So, sign up or log in, and start “partying”!
Seriously, I can’t emphasize enough how beneficial the user community can be to us all. Although Safe provides the platform, and our staff engage with users as much as possible, the site really belongs to the entire FME user base.
So feel free to use this platform in whatever ways you think useful. You may have some great ideas that we haven’t thought of, and if it needs extra functionality adding, let us know and we’ll see what can be done.
So sign up and take part in the community, because together you’ll be able to advance your projects and life goals more than by staying apart.
Don’t forget to take part in the FME Hackathon 2020 as well! It’s a great opportunity to make new contacts and to show off your FME skills!
Mark IrelandMark, aka iMark, is the FME Evangelist (est. 2004) and has a passion for FME Training. He likes being able to help people understand and use technology in new and interesting ways. One of his other passions is football (aka. Soccer). He likes both technology and soccer so much that he wrote an article about the two together! Who would’ve thought? (Answer: iMark)