Bento

Another entry to the catchall applications. This one is from FileMaker.

bentotrial.com/

It’s interesting and flexible to a point, like a scaled down FileMaker Pro with modifiable templates built in. I can’t say that I’d use it as I much prefer DevonThink Pro’s ability to give me separate databases. But it may be useful to somebody out there.

Dion

Yep, I wanted to download it (the name attracted me, half of my family being Japanese), but all my data-basing needs are met by Scrivener and DT pro for now.

Looks very well made, though.

Well, I just had to download Bento (thanks for the hint!) and give it a try. I would not classify Bento as in competition with either Scrivener or DT, because it is a relational database program – made by FileMaker “for the rest of us,” people who may have cataloging needs that go beyond the Address Book, but who don’t have the skills or desire to use a fully-fledged database program. What is compelling for me about Bento right now is that it reads the Address book (and iCal) databases directly, which means that, if you select the option which is on by default, all your address book contacts show up as records in your database. I have always been on the lookout for an easy-to-use, affordable (we’ll see about that when it comes out) way to manage my students’ records. In Bento, I can add fields to the address book contacts of my students and have them appear in a (very attractive) layout. Only the fields built into Address book will affect the address book entries. For example, I would like to know what courses a student has taken with me and what program he or she is in. So I can have a custom field for the program (or any other attribute) and a relational link to my library of classes I have taught. So if I add a student to the student list in the record of the course, her record shows that she took the class and vice versa.

I can imagine that similar types of relations could be useful for a character database, for example. Or for someone who needs a simple, customizable contact management solution. Since Bento also reads iCal events and tasks, you can assign events and tasks to contacts etc. It does not directly interact with mail as far as I can tell, but I am sure that’s not outside the reach of the program as it develops.

I have to say I am quite impressed with it. It is really easy to use and has beautiful graphics. I wouldn’t commit critical data to it just yet because it does still have bugs and such, but I will definitely keep an eye on it.

Best,
J

Warning for those who don’t want to spend money unnecessarily! It only runs on Leopard.

I’m still on Tiger but does anybody know if one can easily export a Bento database into a format that can be used with any major database program out there? I know that Bento builds on Filemaker but that does not mean that I would NOT be locked in (if the marketing department has a say in it).

Also, I haven’t seen pricing announced.

Prion

Hi Prion,

Bento (the Beta version I’m testing right now) has only one export format, but its csv, which most databases should be able to read without problem. The same goes for import.

I saw pricing somewhere, but unfortunately don’t recall where; it’s supposed to be about 50 $ US as far as I remember (you know 49,95 probably).

Best,
Jeanne

A quick note for those testing/trying/being-tried-by Bento. A new beta was posted today on the website.