Has anyone tried the new Bento? Is it any better than their first attempt?


Haven’t tried it. I’m a bit miffed that they do not offer a lower upgrade price for owners of the previous version… of which I am one. Sure $50 isn’t so much to spend on software, it’s just the principle of the matter. Doesn’t seem like a caring way to treat existing customers, and that makes me suspicious of the whole enterprise.

i agree with you about the upgrade price. i think apple does the same thing with iwork and ilife.

so far as the things i do are concerned, bento 1 lacked basic functionality. a database which won’t print labels or merge to do a mailing? sheesh.

thanks for your reply. maybe someone else knows if bento 2 is more complete.


I’m a bit miffed on that score too.

So far Bento 1 has served my purposes so I’m going to hold off to Bento 3.

With a bit of luck Bento 3 will be part of iWork 09 (or 10); that would make my day :smiley: but I won’t hold my breath either.

I was just reading some of the reviews of Bento 2.0 at Versiontracker. They are eye-opening:

I had gone over to the Bento site to look once again at the demo videos, and was mildly impressed enough that I was considering buying the upgrade, but those reviews changed my mind. Too bad, the idea of Bento is great.

I was going to leave this thread after my previous post but then I started reading the vitriolic reviews on versiontracker and they got my back up a bit over people’s unrealistic expectations. Yes I was annoyed when I found out the upgrade was a paid option, but that’s Apple for you. They do it with iLife and iWork. What annoyed me more was people’s unrealistic expectation that they’re get the power and versatility of Filemaker for less that £50. Filemaker Inc/ Apple is NOT going to undercut Filemaker Pro sales by making Bento too good.

To answer the OP’s question, I guess it depends what you want. For me I wanted something cheap and cheerful that I could setup easily to manage personal projects. I personally think it’s quite good at that; in fact I can’t fault it. I’ve loaded it with some pretty large tables (Sources) and it hasn’t complained once. Yes I’d love data merging with Pages or Mail, yes I’d love better printing options, but it’s not a deal breaker; there’s always work arounds if you are prepared to roll up your sleeves and get busy with Perl.

A lot of negativity on the bento forums and versiontracker is from people who are looking for a business-oriented database at a rock-bottom consumer price. Bento is and never was meant for that; that’s was filemaker is for. Some of the more bitter critics should step back a moment and reflect.

Bento is under-powered, under-featured and is pretty much stuck in a sandbox. Everything you should expect from a consumer db program.

When I want power, stability and extensive import/export options I use MySQL. It’s free, extremely powerful and supports multiple connections. When I want to keep track of personal projects, my movie collection or my characters, I use Bento. It’s a pretty simple equation.

For people who want business workflows, try OpenOffice3, its datebase app is pretty good and it works seemlessly with the rest of the suite.


I’m a great fan and user of Bento.

It is for storing personal data and I find it to be most excellent for this purpose.

One use I have for example is a pictorial database for the plants in my garden. I cannot remember the names very well so when I buy one I take a picture, and in neighbouring fields I put common name and latin name.

I think Bento is a marvellous implementation of the FileMaker way of displaying fields graphically in a “form” view so that meaningful visual relationships can be established for them.

It is not a database designed around production of mailings etc.

I think the complaints about the lack of upgrade price are valid however the program is very cheap I think given how effective it is at its role as a personal database program.

The FileMaker company is a large and impersonal thing. The customers are not going to get the cosy feel of a small company from FileMaker. It would be great if they did and large companies managed to not be so impersonal in their dealings with people but unfortunately that is not the case.

What I am looking for is a replacement for Act, not Filemaker Pro. I have Filemaker Pro, and I suppose that I could make it function as an Act replacement, but it would be more work than I want to expend.

I have a database I use in my work which does well with Filemaker. I also have a large-ish contact list. I have several hundred names in Address Book, while my secretary has probably 1,000 in Outlook. The whole thing is unwieldy and troublesome – especially for her.

I thought perhaps I could combine these lists in Address Book and use Bento as a front-end for them. That wouldn’t solve everything, since my secretary uses a pc, but it would lift a lot off her. (If your secretary’s not happy, ain’t nobody happy.)

I got Contactizer in one of those pay-one-price-and-buy-all-these-softwares promotions, and I don’t like it at all. I’ve looked at Daylight, and don’t care for it, either.

I do think that printing labels and merging for mailings are basic database functions, not high-end, high-dollar ones.

Does anyone have any thoughts? Is there a software to replace Act on the Mac?


Perhaps in this direction? Open source/free or commercial

Sugar CRM



exegete77, thank you for these excellent suggestions!

looking at them opened my eyes. i can see ways to apply these solutions to other – much more important – things than just my secretary and i.

again, thank you.

also, those of you who tried to tell me that bento was the w-r-o-n-g place to look, you were right.


That’s great, Rebecca. Glad to help.

Let us know how you do with them.