This is my final post on this site and I will not even open it up for comments. It has been fun as long as it lasted, and I am thankful for all the good people who were seeking help and who appreciated my efforts. A final thanks also goes to Simon Wolf, who started this whole endeavor.
Bento has shortcomings which could have been fixed. But the developer team had set limits because of the big rival in their own family, which shall remain nameless. Without that limitation, Bento would have become the greatest Mac database ever. This way it didn’t.
That said, Bento has many unique features I can’t live without. Luckily, it works alright with OSX Mavericks. Still, I am creating many PDFs of my Libraries should Bento ever totally fail. This is also my very last tip for Bento users: with PDFs edited in Preview, you can combine many Bento forms to a wonderful full screen booklet of your databases, after fiddling a little bit with the layout in Bento and the print dialog.
So far, none of the so-called Bento alternatives have come close to replacing Bento, and I am predicting that they never will. For example, a Bento importer will never work for complex Libraries because of the built-in limitations of the other programs. You would have to build a Bento clone-app to make that work, which is impossible.
Still, some of the other database programs, which have recently surfaced, are worth a look if you are willing to abandon Bento altogether and start your projects from scratch. I am not. But I am using some of the other program’s iPad versions for simple projects; just for some variety. Most programs let you try them out before you buy, like Bento did. Just make sure you really give them a workout.
This site will possibly be archived; you can still contact me for questions about Bento (no syncing questions) by leaving me a message on my Facebook Musicians Page (after you Like it, of course…) at:
The Entertaining Salzburger. That’s the real me. Ta-Ta.
Important information for Bento customers
FileMaker, Inc. is increasing its focus on FileMaker Product Line software. Thanks to the ease of creating iPad and iPhone solutions, our customers’ use of FileMaker on iOS is growing rapidly. Our increased focus will create an even better experience for these customers.
As part of our sharpened focus, we will stop further development of the Bento consumer products.
Bento for iPad, iPhone and Mac will continue to be available on the FileMaker Store, and the App Store and Mac App Store, through September 30, 2013.
We will provide technical support for Bento products through July 30, 2014.
We thank you for your support of Bento. We know that many Bento customers will be disappointed.
FileMaker Pro, our powerful yet easy-to-use business database software, will be appropriate for certain users of Bento for Mac. We encourage Bento for Mac customers to visit our “Is FileMaker Pro Right For You?” page to understand the differences between Bento and FileMaker Pro and to download a free trial of FileMaker Pro.
Read the Knowledge Base answer for more information on the Bento transition.
© 2013 FileMaker, Inc. All Rights Reserved. FileMaker is a trademark of FileMaker, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries and the file folder logo is a trademark of FileMaker, Inc.
FileMaker will stop offering Bento Sept. 30, 2013, and will increase focus on FileMaker Product Line
No additional comments needed. We will keep this site open through September 30, 2013. After that, the site will be converted into static pages and I can still be contacted through My Facebook Musicians Page, as long as you Like me first… If someone ever UnLikes me, I will discontinue the free support…
Florian Keller, BentoUsers.com
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.