To all unhappy Bento users, take a good look at another database software, called Tap Forms, developed by Canadian Brendan Duddridge. Like Bento, it is available for the Mac, the iPad, and the iPhone.
$24.99 for the Mac version (one half of the price of Bento 4; requires OSX 10.7), and $8.99 for each of the mobile apps; all available at the app stores.
On their website, TapForms.com, you will find a blog (with some recent screenshots of the Mac version) and a forum, moderated by Brendan himself! Also see recent iPad and iPhone screenshots in these Dropbox folders.
I am mostly reviewing the iPad version, because it is the most polished one at the moment. All three versions are tailored to their respective platforms but interact seamlessly. A big plus: full iCloud sync is supported – read all about it under the ‘support’ tab on TapForms.com.
Tap Forms provides many features Bento users already rely on, but adds more useful field types and a bunch of needed and fun customization options. Brendan is also working on a free-form editor like Bento has, but the apps work fine without it. There is one big problem: besides a Quick Guide for the iPhone version, at this point there is no in-app help available and no user guides. For that reason I will go into more detail in my following review/description.
This is an addition to my tutorial about customizing Bento Themes. I don’t know anymore why I didn’t play with this extensively before… the wonderful tip comes from Jakob Joergensen: he calls himself a professional Bento user, and he is a globetrotter of Danish descent.
Yes, you can hide the field labels on a form for a printout, but you are NOT gaining back the space they are taking up. By editing the LabelFont in the pList file of a theme you can set the FontSize to ’1′ and when you choose the smallest label size on a form in Bento, the field labels disappear and you regain the space they took up! That gives you the chance to create beautiful, tighter form layouts without the distraction of field labels onscreen AND for a printout. I remember that many users were asking for this functionality. By changing back to a regular theme, you can get the labels back anytime.
Finally, you can also use this edit to make the field labels larger and change the font face! You have to play with this: I found that font variants do not seem to work in this case, and some two-word fonts won’t either. For example, Lucida Handwriting did not work, but Colonna MT did.
Note: to learn the details of editing themes (how to get to the plist file mainly), you will have to revisit my original tutorial at:
Customizing Themes in Bento
Step by step, Bento developers are severing the ties to the integrated apps. I don’t know the actual reason, because Filemaker doesn’t tell us, as always. I’m assuming they can’t handle iCloud consistently.
So the new Bento for Mac 4.1.2 update cuts off iPhoto. When you start it for the first time, they also recommend throwing away the ties to iCal, but you don’t have to do it at this time if you don’t want to. The migration of the data to standalone Libraries works without a hitch, and the app itself seems to be more stable. Just to be sure, I kept a copy of Bento 4.1.1 (by renaming the app) and its associated data files. I recommend you do the same – that way you can use either version, though it’s a hassle, because you carefully have to juggle Bento data files, renaming them constantly. I myself never really used iCal as a standalone app, so it’s not a big problem for me. The iPhoto integration was nice, but you can still add images from iPhoto to a media field.
It is funny that they give it to us in small doses: this time it’s iPhoto’s death, next time it probably will be iCal, then Address Book… very strange, because we know it’s coming, so why not do them all at once? It doesn’t make sense to use integration for any new project anyway.
Users who heavily rely on the integrated apps which was a big selling point for Bento to start with, will have to stay with version 4.1.1. We’ll see if Bento 5 will ever happen now – in my opinion it doesn’t even make sense. I’m predicting that the ride is over.
Filemaker, Inc. is offering a free Web Seminar on two different dates.
For more info and to sign up go to:
Meet Bento 4 For iPad!
They might address some of your concerns as well.
I don’t have an iPad (yet), but I am excited about the new version coming out today. It looks beautiful (I wish the desktop version would look that nice) and offers a lot of new useful additions/improvements.
Bento 4 for iPad: Price is $4.99 until July 31, 2012, $9.99 thereafter. Bento 4 for desktop is also on special until July, 31, for $29.99, $49.99 thereafter.
If you’re using Bento 4 (desktop), you should also get the free 4.1.1 update; it assures compatibility with the new iPad version.
I can’t give you an honest review, since I can’t test it at this time, but here is a summary of all the new features: