Contact management software

Address book is good for basic contact info.

Bento is Leopard and I hate upgrading for no real reason.

Most CM solutions for which I can find actual user recommendations are much more complex than I need.

So I turn to the collective wisdom of the scriveratti to provide some suggestions. Here are the basic requirements.

  • Hierarchical structure – Think Family --> Parents --> Kids --> Pets
  • Backward association – I should be able get from Pet --> Family easily
  • Customizable templates per layer – Take the address off the kids line add it to the pet line. Change “birth date” to field to “favorite color”
  • Not ridiculously priced – I don’t mind paying for software (witness the continuing evisceration I am getting for suggesting KB increase the price of scriv) but the price needs to match the gloriousness of function/form.

For those of you who will point to OO/NeoO or other RDBM systems, I am trying to avoid that route. I am capable of writing my own, but I really don’t want to. If I get that far I will probably go the KB route and wind up writing the tool I want and offering to the rest of the world.

Anyway, any recommendations?

I, too, am looking for the “right combination”. Haven’t found it… but…

If you do write your own and offer to the world, I would be interested in looking at it. :slight_smile:

With Leopard many functions such as working with address and iCal and a few others is now easily available. That is why Bento is Leopard only because it takes advantage of these new offerings in the OS

I say that because that may be a reason down the road to upgrade to Leopard, especially if you are writing your own app.

I would suggest maybe File Maker Pro Advanced.

It isn’t cheap but it is very flexible in developing custom things for different scenarios. (Bento is based on FM).

It amy take a learning curve but in the end with advanced you can develop solutions that can run as their own separate app and give them away as a solution or even charge for them. They can run without FM being present.

Just a thought

It took 2 hours to find scriv. I am 8 days into CM solutions. Getting frustrated.

What do you want/need beyond what I listed? Are you looking for a stand alone app or a template?

I haven’t decided which way to go yet myself. A standalone will require extra work and a template (to OO or neoO) would be cross platform but require the parent app…

BAH! I hate computers.


Dang, that sounds like an MS argument :wink:

I was thinking of stealing Keith’s simple yet elegant idea of using plain text files for the data. One entry = one file. Limit the number of binary files and you increase the ability to extend…

I thought perl with TK might be an easier method for the cross platform aspect that I would like. Although objective is really the right way for a mac app. I just don’t know if I want to go this way and suffer the support head ache. Been down this road before and not sure the Mrs will support it again.

I will take a look at FMP. It might make a happy middle.

Any good reason not to go OO/NeoO for a template based solution? Just looking for opinions…

M`sieur Jaysen
Voici votra bouteille
Le D :smiling_imp:

Stand alone has some attraction. but life cycle can be a problem (not anything against you, but I have suffered the “no longer supported” or “discontinued software” syndrome). A template is is even more attractive. I have NeoOffice (using OS X 10.4.11, but in the next 2-3 weeks will add MBP with Leopard to the line-up) as well as FMP 7.0, but have never really used it for much. I have not spent any time “developing” anything even in FMP because 95% of my work on the Mac relates to writing, with some page layout, etc.

Also, I begin a new position in April (President of Seminary), and have to integrate with people who barely understand Windows, with no IT dept; so cross-platform will be beneficial. Also, need to look at integration because our National staff is spread throughout the US, so coordination, calendaring, sharing documents, etc. is important. But we don’t necessarily want Google’s approach because of some of the sensitive information with which we deal.

Keep in mind that when I began college 41 years ago, my method was 3x5 cards, scraps of paper, and a manual portable typewriter. So, while I have mastered the word processing, much of my pre-planning, project planning, and integration still follows the old habits. :slight_smile:

Now THAT is a bottle!


You need to be a little more precise about your needs. “Contact Management” spans a huge range. Your example mentions simple editing and hierarchic relationships. The former is easy; the latter can be excruciatingly complex.

For example, do you expect to have 200 contacts or 20,000? Is it for family and friends or your prospects for the next blockbuster? Do you need mail merge for Christmas cards or an auto-emailer for twice-monthly updates to your 5,000 favorite clients?


Let’s say less than 1K total family groups for a total of 4K entries.
Entries will be a mix of business and pleasure.
I abhor mail merges, but expect that no more than 4 per year at peak.
I also need to be able to run reports like

  • all Anniversary for month where anniversary is grouped by type: wedding, employment, recovery from disease, getting published, concert, event X etc.
  • all birthdays for month grouped by age range:1-8, 9-12, 13-15, 16-20, 20’s, 30s, etc.
  • all folks in vicinity x
    Email address should be recorded but are not used to automatically generate merged messages.

At this point I am half way between an business oriented CM and a PIM. Cm for business is too big, PIM is too small.

Are any of these (CRM for Mac) in that category?

Holy smokes! Your forbears have been prolific!

You’ve two choices.

Any old address book kind of thing with a few keywords and the occasional grumpiness; Filemaker and a whole bunch of work with fine results that may not be so useful when contemplating the time spent on it versus, er, writing, or weeding the garden, or cooking that fine moussaka for a few friends.


Thanks for the links.

These demonstrate the problem that I ran into myself. These are all too big and too pricey. I don’t think that I need industrial strength nor do I need all the business specific features.

Ahh… you confuse family with family group. Think of the group as an association of linked individuals. A group may be the dafu household or associates in the dafu company. Hence the need to be able to make sub groups inside other groups. Ex the dafu household might be a member of the dafu family.

My forbears were relatively prolific by todays standard, but that had a tendency to be unfit for relationships and either killed each other (Granny shot her brother) or uglier than the backside of a ___. I think I just let you fill in the blank there. Let it suffice to say the genetic material that is represented by my existence is one generation from extinction. This will be a great event as my line has not produced much that is worth living through.

The any old address book lasted 25 minutes. I was unable to get the dates play nice nice in searches. I may opt for a simple business solution and try to live with ignoring most of the unneeded features.

I did DL the filemaker pro demo and will see what it is like. I am likely to just revert to some OO or completely home grown solution though.

Apparently I refuse to just do things the easy way.

Well, if that’s the case . . .


Daylite is the world’s most complicated contact manager that works great if you ignore 90% of the features.


Now you are just rubbing it in.

Contactizer is good. Having said that, I’ve gone back to Address Book. Most of my contact info is sprinkled through DevonThink, and AB holds mostly personal contacts.

One alternative that is not mentioned is Contactizer.

If feels like a work in progress and not a polished product, but it has a lot of potential.

FileMaker does seem like a great option.

Contactizer is more than a work in progress. Very solid and well thought out. I just don’t use it anymore …

Well, with 3 updates in November, 3 updates in December, 2 updates in January, and a few updates to their 3.6 beta I say it feels like a work in progress :slight_smile:

Additionally the product has been around for a few years now, and there’s no manual, screencasts, tutorials, etc.

It’s not a bad program, and that’s why I’m mentioning it. I would say it has a lot of potential.