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.

US pricing:
$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.

Initial summary:
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.

When starting to work with Tap Forms, you will find over 20 themed and fully editable Forms to get you started, and you can also create a Form from scratch. These themed Forms initially are like Bento Libraries without any records. They are not re-usable Templates like in Bento. And there are no Themes like in Bento, which actually creates a cleaner and more consistent look, something many Bento users will appreciate. The Forms have some global settings: the fonts (right now only on the iPad), categories, and pick lists (an improved solution of Bento’s Choice field). Besides that, there are tons of customization features for each individual Form, and many special options for each field type.

The iPad screen is divided into a List View sidebar and the Form View. In the List View you will see several records at a time, and you also have access to the list of all your Forms. The Bento-style Table View is only available in Tap Forms for the Mac at this time.

Delving into Tap Forms:
The provided Sample Form gives you the chance to explore the look and feel. To create your own, click on ‘forms’ in the List View sidebar and then on the ‘+’ button, which opens a dialog box: just click on any title that appeals to you – the form opens and you are ready for data entry. To customize your form, click on the arrow next to the ‘+’ in List View and choose ‘customize form.’ Now you can change settings, add and delete fields, change the order of fields, change a field type, and edit each field’s options. There is plenty to do and explore, and the navigation is pretty intuitive, as it should be. Just take your time to study the interface elements. You can also create a Form from scratch by clicking on ‘new.’ After you’re done, the new Form is added to the master list where you can select it from.

Tap Forms provides 20 different field types.
Unique fields not available in Bento are:
Contact: pulls in any contact from the Contacts app (in Bento you need to use a Related Data list field to accomplish that)
Drawing: very nice addition – besides simple drawing tools, you can load a picture and mark it up!
Note field: a special text field that opens in a pop-up window, meant for long-winded descriptions. You can choose how many lines should be displayed in Form View.
Section Heading: this is not a field per se, but you can insert it in several places to name, divide and collapse different sections of your Form. Very nifty!

Enhancements/options added to familiar fields:
Text: you can include a custom pick list which adds the functionality of Bento’s Choice field, without needing an extra field! After you set up the pick list for a field, it’s accessible through a little icon next to the data entry.
Number: also a pick list, auto-increment, increment value.
Location: displays an editable map within the app – very nice. Example: A list of tennis court locations.
Audio Recording: you can pre-set the quality.
Useful options, available for most of the field types: mask value, encrypt value, default value, label color.

One field I am sorely missing is Bento’s flexible Media field which accepts audio, video, pictures, has playback controls built into the actual field, and can use aliases. Tap Forms has a Photo field, but for anything else you need to attach a file and you can’t view it right on the form.

Each Form can also have separate settings for List View: you can choose to display up to 5 fields and a summary row for a numeric field (using all records). Fancy sorting options are provided too, including grouping of fields in List View!
Tip from Brendan, the creator: if you drag a Photo field to the top (or right under the top Section Heading), List View will show thumbnails (3 sizes to choose from).

Enjoy extensive printing options in the Mac version and set alerts anywhere!

Final Summary:
Pros: Tap Forms offers many features Bento users have been asking for, including a clean layout and extensive, all-you-need customization options.
iCloud sync
Direct support provided by Brendan Duddridge, the creator. This is a work in progress, and Brendan works tirelessly on improving the apps.

Cons:
No Bento media field functionality. But then again, once Bento adds iCloud sync, it’s unclear how it will deal with media.
Some display quirks in List View (no consistent auto-refresh), which will probably be solved soon.

My personal recommendations: give Tap Forms a try! I already have a lot of fun with it. A good way is to start with the iPad version if you want to save some money and to test the app. If you like it you should also get the Mac version, depending on your computing habits. Like Bento, all versions work fine as a standalone.
As a Bento power-user (relying on most of its unique features), Tap Forms can’t replace Bento for me at this time, but I am using both apps side-by-side because I don’t want to miss out on Tap Forms‘ great enhancements!

Please feel free to leave comments and questions. Brendan and I will answer all of them.

Comments

54 Responses to “Meet Tap Forms – A Worthy Bento Competitor”

  1. Jolin Warren on May 21st, 2013 2:27 am

    I just wanted to say that the fonts are also customisable on the iPod/iPhone version. I am a happy user of Tap Forms on my iPod and have pretty much stopped using Bento on the iPod. Tap Forms is just so much better overall. Not only the things noted above, but lots of small things make using Tap Forms so much smoother than Bento on iOS. You can have the time/date field pre-populated with the current time and don’t require a desktop version to set certain field options (like a combined date/time field in Bento). Tap Forms also has extensive export/import options.

  2. Jeff on May 22nd, 2013 11:25 am

    I will put my vote in for TapForms as well. I have been using Bento for a few years as my CRM solution, and it has served me well. I have been thoroughly disappointed with Filemaker pulling the plug on calendar, tasks, and especially contact integration. I have been evaluating CRM solutions for many years, and the idea of running 2 separate databases for my contacts does not make sense. I want to take full advantage of what works and is easy. The automatic syncing of native contacts, tasks, and events with my Mac and iOS devices is simple and it works. Bento used to leverage this in earlier versions… it was great. I have looked in to the tech issues that Filemaker faced with iCloud in trying to continue this feature… so I understand why they did what they did, but user requirements should trump tech challenges… I would say “figure it out!”. So, with this basic functionality ripped from Bento, all bets are off. Tapforms has a mild integration of contacts, but I am more interested now in ease of use, speed, and integration with other apps / features (like hooking out to Evernote, which is easy to do in Tapforms). The Mac version of Tapforms is excellent, and provides me with a very similar experience that I was getting with Bento. Add in the iCloud syncing feature, and the developers passion and immediate response to requests or bugs, and it is good switch. I would have to honestly say that I am also concerned about the future direction of Bento… doesn’t make sense that Filemaker is so quiet about the product. I really think their focus is on Filemaker Pro, and Bento was a nice experiment for them. Bottom line; Tapforms is a great product!

  3. Florian on May 22nd, 2013 1:37 pm

    Jeff, Bento still fully integrates with the Mac Contacts/Address Book under Mountain Lion. Nothing has changed there. But iPhoto, iCal, and Mail integration has been cancelled simply because “due to changes in the way OS X Mountain Lion works” (quote from the Filemaker knowledge base). I agree, the developers should have tried harder to figure it out.

  4. Jeff on May 22nd, 2013 3:09 pm

    Hi Florian, yes.. I should have clarified…. I use an iPhone, and iPad, and a Mac. When I purchased Bento for the iPad, that is when everything fell apart as far as integration with contacts, reminders, and ical. Filemaker has stated that it is moving away from this great feature for now and in future releases (whenever that may be). What gets me is that Bento, by having this integration feature, literally owned the market (no competition). By pulling it out, they open themselves to competitors… So that is why I went looking and I am happy to have found Tapforms!

  5. Pat Egan on May 25th, 2013 1:24 pm

    I have Bento 4.1.2 and have used it for years. I recently have been having a problem with Bento not closing properly. I try to close the program and get a “Saving Database Changes” bar that never ends. I then must use “force quit” to close it. It does not appear I am losing any data when I do this, but I am concerned about stability. I recently got a new iMac with SSD drive thinking that it would help, but it did not. Also, all my files have to be relinked ( I get the exclamation point). Any ideas or do I need to leave Bento for Devonthink or Filemaker or Tapforms?

  6. Florian on May 25th, 2013 4:10 pm

    Pat,
    about the relinking of files: Bento is not smart enough to ‘follow’ your file if it ever gets moved. So your files must have been moved. If not, then there is something wrong with your database file.
    Same thing for your second problem: this is not supposed to happen, of course, so there is a good chance that your database file is damaged. If you go to the Bento forums and tell them about your problems, they might offer you to repair the database file; they have helped some people with that free service.
    If you have an old back-up of your Bento data, check it out and see if it does the same thing (first back up your current data, of course). If it’s doing better than the current one, you can bet that your current datafile is corrupt.

    I haven’t looked into DevonThink much yet, but TapForms is a very good program for half the price of Bento for Mac. You can ask Brendan, the developer, about a Lite version as well.

  7. Pat Egan on May 26th, 2013 12:46 pm

    Thanks, I figured out the linking of the files issue. I sent an email request to TSGIrl to see if they can help with the need to “force Quit” every time. It is hard to imagine moving all this data somewhere else, so I keep hoping a version 5 will fix the problem!

  8. Taus on May 30th, 2013 11:20 pm

    Og you synchronize calendar with iOS
    calendar you get 5 Stars from me.

  9. mohmoh on June 28th, 2013 7:11 am

    hello,
    is there a calendar on tapforms app?
    because i have pocket informant app too, and i dont know what would i do with the PI app.
    i dont see a calendar on tapforms app.

    thanks

  10. Florian on June 28th, 2013 7:44 am

    Hi,
    Tap Forms does not have a built-in Calendar app. It does have Date and Time fields with alerts.

  11. Joe on June 29th, 2013 8:46 am

    Hi all – I’ve been using Bento for a few years now and have had good use from it.

    My opinion of FM however has nosedived of late. Bento as it is – mostly works, but software needs to keep evolving … getting more mature and more useful regularly to stay useful and relevant.

    Bento’s a great idea – and a good market. How could an Apple company be so crap at pushing it forward.

    Many aspects of Bento as it stands currently are functional dead-ends … and some aspects seeming quite broken. (eg : I bought the iphone version to sync with my Mac, it keeps crapping itself and is therefor useless to me).

    The problem Filemaker have in my opinion is two-fold : A. they’re no longer hungry and B. they have to protect FMPro sales (Yes filemaker that flexible, complex and wholly overpriced bit of kit that is too unwieldy for us ordinary folk).

    So Bento will likely always be hobbled for all but the most undemanding users.

    I give them until Mavericks’ generation of Mac app updates come out this Autumn and will then gladly dump Bento for something like TapForms which clearly has tight, dynamic development – and who work hard and better deserve my money.

    By the way – in TapForms, can we do any reporting – I am looking for weekly and monthly reports and ideally some simple charts.

    Apologies and thanks for listening to my rant,

    Joe

  12. Florian on June 29th, 2013 10:30 am

    Hi Joe,
    I still like Bento and I have some nice archives that will always be keepsakes. But I totally agree with you – FileMaker is not keeping up with the support or upgrades. Bento 5 is long overdue and might never come.
    I don’t think that Tap Forms has real reporting (except for good sorting, searching, and smart collections), but I would have to double-check. For feature requests please go to their blog.

  13. Joe on June 29th, 2013 4:00 pm

    Hi Florian

    Whether or not they have something cooking, they have done a rubbish job of keeping people interested and inspired. I also like Bento, but it doesn’t deserve to succeed in a market where presumably one-man-band operations like TapForms can inspire.

    I like to work with people who feel like they are going somewhere – Bento does not feel like that.

    Joe

  14. Florian on June 30th, 2013 8:09 am

    Joe,
    Again, I totally agree with you. But I have worked with Bento from the very beginning (Bento 1). So I will still support it until the bitter end, when FileMaker might officially announce the end of the project…
    At this point I am using Bento and Tap Forms side by side. Tap Forms will possibly evolve some day enough to replace Bento completely. As of this moment, I still rely on certain Bento features which Tap Forms doesn’t supply.

  15. Grace Suarez on August 1st, 2013 2:21 pm

    Well, now that FM is pulling the plug on Bento, what will you do? As someone who organized her whole life with Bento, I am quite distraught.

  16. Florian on August 1st, 2013 4:12 pm

    Grace, old friend, nothing will change for me. I will always work with Bento. The developers were limited as to adding new features anyway, because FileMaker, Inc. wanted to be sure not to create a real competition for their flagship, FileMaker Pro.
    Did you have specific expectations for the future?
    One good thing is that they will not make good on their threats about curtailing Bento even further in future versions, since those versions will not come. The threats included: eliminating the Message field, severing the Address Book integration, and eliminating the use of aliases in media fields.

  17. Terry on August 3rd, 2013 12:00 pm

    I have a couple of relatively complicated related databases of student info, marks and assignments created and working well in Bento.
    Q1. Can TapForms be structured like Bento to work with related databases?
    Q2. Does TapForms have better print capabilities (e.g. form creation)?
    Q3. Is there a converter to turn my Bento databases into TapForms – something more complete than simply exporting my data as CSV and importing it into TapForms? Q4. The reason I ask is that I’ve put a lot of time and effort in to the UI of my Bento databases – can they be “reproduced” in TapForms?

  18. Florian on August 3rd, 2013 3:06 pm

    Terry,
    Q1. Yes.
    Q2. Yes.
    Q3. No converter. Just CSV, at this point.
    Q4. Brendan is working on a great freeform editor, so eventually they can be reproduced.

  19. Don Pederson on August 6th, 2013 9:01 pm

    I am going to start using Tap Forms ipad 3.
    Will I be able to print mailing labels sheets – 30 per page?

  20. Florian on August 7th, 2013 12:46 am

    Don,
    Please ask that question at the TapForms website. I am traveling in Europe without my computer, so I can not check on details. Thanks.
    Brendan will always try to add features if you ask nicely, should there be something missing.

  21. pvonk on August 8th, 2013 12:35 pm

    I’ve been looking over the TapForms site and can’t find any information regarding calculation fields. I read through the user manual and the fields listed for TF don’t include this.

    Have I missed something?

  22. Florian on August 9th, 2013 1:51 am

    Pvonk,
    Lucky for you, you missed something: every numerical field can be a calculation field, it is under Field Options.

  23. Brendan Duddridge on August 10th, 2013 12:42 am

    Pvonk, let me clarify for you. Tap Forms has a specific Calculation field type which can reference Number, Date, Rating, and Boolean type fields that you’ve setup in your form. You can build your formula using simple mathematical operators.

    Don, there is no support for printing mailing labels. But since Bento had that and I’m starting to receive requests for that, I’ll add that to my to-do list. But don’t expect it anytime soon. I am busy working on my new layout engine plus an update for iOS 7.

  24. pvonk on August 12th, 2013 8:49 am

    Do the formulas include boolean (if-then-else) operators as part of the “simple” operators?

  25. Jeanie Kilgour on August 12th, 2013 6:26 pm

    I am so disappointed that TapForms is not available for mountain lion, This is a pretty serious deficiency,, In my opinion. I hate to have to move to Excel, but
    . . .

  26. Florian on August 13th, 2013 8:28 am

    Jeanie, TapForms is available for Mountain Lion. I do not know who told you that it was not…

  27. Florian on August 13th, 2013 8:29 am

    Pvonk,
    No Boolean operators yet. But Brendan, you might think about implementation…

  28. Dragan on August 13th, 2013 1:49 pm

    Thank you for a great review.
    Coming over to TapForms guys, former Bento 4 user on Mac & iPad but we never really hit it off. Maybe my lazines was triggered by Evernote’s quite OK abilities to hold a pretty simple database of some 40 students, but in the end, I really want to use EN only as a reference material database, knowledge well and not for GTD or CRM etc etc.
    Looking forward to knowing more about TapForms

  29. daikoma on August 25th, 2013 7:30 am

    Thank you for you friendly support for us at bentousers.com, Florian. And good luck! Now since Bento is abandoned, I will have a look at Tap Forms, too.

  30. Bruce Burkhart on September 6th, 2013 12:09 pm

    I NEED a mailing label capability similar to Bento as I manage several mail contact lists. I will limp along with Bento for awhile, but I will give TapForms a look.

  31. Charles Scalfani on September 10th, 2013 10:31 am

    There is another alternative to Bento called Dabitat. We initially developed it with the idea of replacing Excel spreadsheet databases and to create a cloud version of Bento with emphasis on sharing and collaboration.

    Checkout the explainer video: http://youtu.be/WceOr90sHWM
    And our Getting Started video: http://youtu.be/MiZiKNPhfxI

  32. William Wong on November 15th, 2013 6:58 pm

    We are getting close to releasing Qollector a native iPad app and Bento alternative with much more. Qollector will help you collect and organize anything, see it everywhere, share with anyone, and find it anytime! Take a look at our website and introduction video:
    http://qollector.com

    There are already users sharing their stuff with friends:
    http://qollector.com/public/cards

  33. Dennis May on November 17th, 2013 9:15 am

    I’ve been using Bento for several years now and manage all of my invoices, accounts receivables, inventory, and asset management in Bento. I’m not looking for new development, Bento for me is great, I use it on my Macbook, iPad and iPhone. AND just because Filemaker is dropping it, doesn’t mean it will quit working… but I understand the fear of using a product that is no longer supported, I too will be taking a look at TapForms.

  34. Florian on November 17th, 2013 10:24 am

    Dennis, my opinion exactly. I have so much info and so many nice custom templates with Bento that I couldn’t stop using it. One safety (backup) tip: I am creating PDFs of databases with customized (page-filling) print layouts. I also combine different forms in one PDF. Lots of fun.
    I am using TapForms on the iPad for simpler tasks.
    BTW, I am downloading OSX Mavericks on my laptop right now to see if Bento will still work after the upgrade…

  35. Brendan Duddridge on November 22nd, 2013 4:32 am

    I am nearing completion of Tap Forms for Mac 2.0 which will be a free upgrade for all current Tap Forms users. Aside from my new layout engine, I’ve also created a Bento Template Import routine which will not only import your fields and data, it will also import your photos and create custom layouts based on the field positions you’ve already setup in your current Bento database. Bento Choice fields are also converted to Tap Forms Pick Lists and assigned to your fields. Templates that contain multiple forms are also imported along with any related data linking different forms together.

    I plan on releasing it at the end of November. So really in just over a week.

    Thanks!

    Brendan

  36. Dennis May on November 23rd, 2013 3:52 pm

    I can’t seem to import my bento data into tap forms. I have set up bento to export csv files, and created the file. I have turn on web server, I’ve uploaded the file to tap forms, it shows on the tap forms window, but when I select the file the file uploads on the screen but nothing is in tap forms.

  37. Dennis May on November 23rd, 2013 7:43 pm

    Well I finally figured out how to get my Bento data into Tap forms. FIRST, you have to buy the full version, it won’t work with the trial version, so you get sucked in to spending $9 before you can really test out Tap Forms. The import worked very nicely. But as I suspected, it’s no where near as user friendly as Bento, it’s certainly not intuitive. I can’t figure out how do anything more than a simple search. I’m very frustrated and feel that I got ripped off.

  38. Dennis May on November 27th, 2013 11:20 am

    11/27/13 UPDATE
    This was just a case of me not know how. Sorry Brendan, Tap Forms is quite good and works well. This is a lesson for all of us that post something because we don’t know how to do it right. Operator error. BUT the most important thing that I can add is that customer service for this company is the best I’ve ever experienced. I emailed Brendan with my issue and he emailed back within minutes, and this went back and forth at least 10 times until I had Tap Forms working smoothly. While Filemaker had good customer service it wasn’t as personal as it is with Tap Forms. 5 Stars + for Tap Forms.
    Please learn how to use before bad mouthing. This is a great app.

  39. Florian on November 27th, 2013 2:33 pm

    Dennis,
    Thanks for your comments. I was going to suggest that you should contact Brendan directly. There is one big shortcoming with TapForms that it does not have a complete users manual, digital or otherwise. I hope that it will be added soon.

  40. Florian on November 27th, 2013 2:36 pm

    Dennis,
    Thanks for your comments. Contacting Brendan directly was the best course of action. I hope that he will soon add a users manual to TapForms, it needs it!

  41. Brendan Duddridge on November 27th, 2013 11:28 pm

    Thanks Florian! Yes, I agree a user manual would be a good thing. I do have some Youtube videos which explain how to do lots of things in the Mac version. also, my comments above are awaiting moderation, but I do have version 2.0 coming out soon which will help ex-Bento users to convert to Tap Forms very easily with the new Bento Template Import command.

    Thanks!

    Brendan

  42. daniel on November 28th, 2013 2:09 am

    Hi! I have been using Bento to organize my projects consisting of photos (jpg), music (mp3), scores (sibelius or pdf formats) and of course some text note. I was quite happy with it and I am considering switching to TapForms now. I have the following question:

    I am working with a project partner and it would be great if he could have access to my database too. Is there any chance I can upload and share my stuff with him?

    Thanks for getting back to me, I appreciate your help and I am looking forward to using your program.

    best
    daniel

  43. Florian on November 28th, 2013 7:23 am

    Lieber Daniel,

    Außer TapForms erscheint noch eine andere neue Datenbank, die Alles hat, was Du Dir wünscht, schau mal hier nach:
    http://www.qollector.com/

  44. Dennis May on December 6th, 2013 4:37 pm

    Well after a couple weeks with TapForms the one thing missing for me is a summary row, where I can get all the totals for my records i.e. how many rentals, how many $$, how many etc.. without a summary row and totals capability, I can’t use this. Totals are absolute must for me, because I use this as a business tool not just as a hobbyist, or collector,of info. I emailed Brendan and he says it’s coming, he just doesn’t know how soon. He’s very responsive, but I think he has a very full plate, so some things may take awhile. But he is constantly working on it.

  45. Florian on December 6th, 2013 5:44 pm

    Dennis, I agree, a summary row like in Bento would be great. Just to make sure you know (you probably do): TapForms has a summary row for one field of your choice, it’s called ‘Calculation.’ That’s separate from a calculation field.

  46. Dennis May on December 7th, 2013 2:42 pm

    Thanks Florian, I did know about the summary row calculations. The problem is that one of the forms I use has 30 different number fields that are all totaled, and yes I could probably do without some of those totals, but which ones?
    I have a rental business where I put carpet cleaners in Ace Hardware for their customers to rent. I run a regular route to all 40 stores monthly and enter all data into my iPhone and when I return to the office, I sync to my mac. The table view in Bento then tells me how many rentals I had for the month as well as how many of everything else that I rent or the chemicals that I sell, then I know what to order for next month. I also use Bento to keep track of accounting, i.e. amount due, amount paid, outstanding balances, etc. And I keep track of where each piece of equipment is located, over 794 items in all.
    I can use tap forms for the accounting functions and for equipment locations, but not for the business tracking, though I could keep it in a spreadsheet, numbers or excel. That’s what I did before Bento, but I like using a database because of all the different ways to look at the numbers. With Bento I have 102 active smart collections. Basically they are saved searches that update as the data changes.
    If or when Bento crashes, I will probably use tap forms and numbers, or maybe by that time tap forms will have truly and completely replaced Bento. We can only hope, because it seems like the only other choice is Filemaker Pro, I just dread the learning curve.

  47. Brendan Duddridge on December 18th, 2013 10:44 pm

    I have made a user manual now for Tap Forms. You can view it here:

    http://www.manula.com/manuals/tap-zapp/tap-forms-mac/2.0/en/topic/introduction

    Plus version 2.0 is out now, with the new Bento Template Importer and layout designer.

    Thanks!

    Brendan

  48. Florian on December 19th, 2013 6:54 am

    The Bento template importer is at best a shy attempt. It is totally useless for me:
    It creates new, arbitrary & inconsistent white space in the layout,
    It does not preserve the field label position (it puts them all on top of the field)

    It does not import any pictures in image boxes that don’t have a title (which most of them don’t!)
    Update: after several program crashes and re-import of the Bento template – now the images showed up. Strange… but images with lower resolutions can’t be displayed full size in an image box! Also, images can’t be zoomed in or repositioned, like they can in media fields – this is simply an oversight it seems…

    It does not preserve the carriage returns in text boxes (one garbled mess)
    It does not import the Simple List fields! This is the most useful, flexible and most used field type Bento offers!
    It does not import the Message List fields
    It does not import the Location fields
    It does not preserve the original view of a Related Data field (Bento grid view – very useful and beautiful)
    It does not import any Themes, the main part that creates the special look of a Bento database; therefore just plain white background, no shading, just two arbitrary fonts.

    Update: the layout titles can only be very short, because there is no way the full name will be displayed, not even with a Layout selected – totally unusable. The only time you can see a layout title is in edit view.

    I’m sure I would find more problems, but that’s enough for starters and I will update this comment with new finds.

    How can you release such an unfinished and unstable program, Brendan?

  49. Jack Dry on December 19th, 2013 9:44 am

    Hi,
    I have an issue with my Bento database being trapped in my iPhone. I can’t sync to Bento on my mac anymore. It says “sync interrupted” and if I sync to a new computer it erases all my info on my iPhone (good thing I used iCloud backup to restore).

    1) Could anyone help on this?
    2) Is there anyway TapForms could import my iPhone Bento Database?
    3) I got TapForms for my iPhone and Mac and imported my Template from Bento but none of the images got imported.

    Thanks a lot for any help.

  50. Florian on December 19th, 2013 10:32 am

    Jack, I can’t help you with the syncing. I rarely used that feature myself, and with OSX Mavericks not officially supported anymore, I think you’re in big trouble.
    I just use Bento on my iMac (with Mavericks) and it’s mostly fine. Still, I am creating PDFs of all my important Libraries, which is actually a fun process, since you can include different forms in one file.
    All the TapForms questions are up to Brendan. See my previous post about the poor implementation of the Bento template import. I didn’t have any media fields in my first try, but none of my image boxes included any pictures after the import. Even the pictures in the related data field didn’t show up correctly, but they did get imported into their own Form in TapForms.

  51. Jack Dry on December 19th, 2013 4:13 pm

    Thanks anyway!
    Hope I won’t have to rebuild my database by hand…

  52. Brendan Duddridge on December 23rd, 2013 2:52 am

    Hi Florian,

    My apologies for the troubles you had with the Bento template importer.

    There is a bug with the current importer where it doesn’t automatically create the Photos folder for you before it does an import. I have fixed that for the next update. The workaround is to simply add a single photo to any form in your database by hand. That will tell Tap Forms to create the Photos folder it needs to be able to import the photos from Bento.

    I have written up a manual which describes the process:

    http://www.manula.com/manuals/tap-zapp/tap-forms-mac/2.0/en/topic/bento-template-importer

    That glitch is mentioned in the Bento importer.

    There are obviously some differences between Tap Forms and Bento. I wasn’t simply attempting to re-create Bento when I built Tap Forms. Tap Forms is its own product which has a life of its own.

    There are some things that Tap Forms does do which you said it doesn’t. For example, the Location field type. Tap Forms does import locations from Bento.

    Also Tap Forms does preserve carriage returns during import. But Bento doesn’t distinguish between Text and Note fields like Tap Forms does, so what I do is look at the height of a field and if it’s greater than a certain height then I automatically switch it to a Note field. Otherwise it stays as a Text field. So if you simply switch the field in Tap Forms to a Note field, you’ll see your carriage returns.

    Tap Forms has access to the full array of fonts. It just uses standard Helvetica by default. But you can change that all you like. Bento’s Template.xml file had no information about the font that was being used, so that wasn’t something that I could replicate.

    I did choose to put all the field labels on top rather than position them the way they were in the Bento template. But that’s something you can change very easily. In fact, you can put labels anywhere you’d like in a form, unlike in Bento. I thought I remember reading an article you wrote about some awful workarounds you had to do related to field labels in Bento.

    I think a lot of these criticisms would be appropriate for converting to something like FileMaker Pro since they are privy to the internal workings of Bento and should be able to re-create an exact copy of your Bento templates. Tap Forms is a completely different product that isn’t just trying to re-create Bento. And I have no access to the internal workings of Bento so I am merely doing the best I can to make Tap Forms the best product that I can. If I can help ex-Bento users in the process, then that’s great.

    I do things differently and I think that’s ok. A lot of customers are happy with the way Tap Forms works so far. It will only get better with time of course. I’m already working on a bug fix release to fix some of the issues that have come up since release.

    Thanks for your feedback. It’s really important to me because it helps me to make Tap Forms better.

    Thanks!

    Brendan

  53. Brendan Duddridge on December 23rd, 2013 3:50 am

    Jack,

    If you add a photo to any form in your database by manually selecting one and then try your Bento importer again, Tap Forms should import all your photos. This is caused by the bug I mentioned above where the Bento importer wasn’t creating the Photos folder where Tap Forms stores its photos. I’ve fixed that for the next update. The workaround for now is to simply add a photo manually to any record. This will cause Tap Forms to create its Photos folder. Then the Bento importer will import the photos.

    Thanks!

    Brendan

  54. Brendan Duddridge on December 23rd, 2013 3:52 am

    Also, for anyone that needs help with Tap Forms, please visit my forum at http://www.tapforms.com/forums/ and post a message there. Or email me at support@tapforms.com and I’d be happy to help you out.

    Whenever I respond to your messages here, my responses go into a moderator queue so you are not able to receive my responses in a timely manner until they are approved for display.

    Thanks!

    Brendan