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.

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.

Urgent recommendations to all Bento users who are not in the habit of doing so:
Check the Bento Forums regularly (link on the sidebar) for any known issues, look at recent user posts, and report all technical issues there as well.
These forums are moderated by Filemaker employees who have extensive testing facilites and personnel and are not afraid to use them. We don’t have any resources like that at BentoUsers.

Let me repeat the most recent issue:
Before you migrate from Mobile Me to iCloud or otherwise turn on on iCloud,
do this:
Make sure you have Bento 4.06
Launch it.
Quit Bento.

After that, you should be ready to surf the new Clouds.

Since Mobile Me will be available until June 30, 2012, I personally am not in a hurry to get OSX Lion and iCloud. But since there are very few issues which have been reported in the Bento forums, I have to assume that Bento is generally ready for the transition. That doesn’t mean that the problems reported here on BentoUsers are not real. But they are not the norm, but rather horrible bad luck.
Still, let’s all keep our eyes and ears open…

I get many emails through our contact form at BentoUsers describing specific Bento project dreams… mostly ones where people have trouble finding existing templates for. Some new Bento users also have a problem getting started with the program. I found out that it’s much easier and faster to do personal one-on-one iChat sessions with screen-sharing to tackle their problems rather than going back and forth with emails.
That way I helped several people in recent months to get a good initial grasp of Bento and/or their projects.

So today I would publicly like to offer my bilingual iChat services (English or German). If you’re stuck with Bento or any project, just leave a comment here and I’ll email you to set up an online meeting.

As promised, today we’ll talk about importing “dirty” Bento Templates.
As a reminder, a dirty Template mostly includes unwanted Collections and Forms from iCal and/or Address Book.

Most important tip:
don’t just import a Template into your main (maybe only) database file!
For this purpose I keep a “fresh” Bento 3 database file on hand, in my Bento back-up folder. Then I save (back up) my current data and revert to the fresh database. Then I import the Template. Since I’m not using any Address Book Collections, I don’t have to worry about them. If you are using Collections (Groups), then make a list of them first, so you can check which new ones are added during import.

If you don’t have a fresh Bento database file, here is how to create one:
back up your current database file, quit Bento. Find the main database file at: user/library/application support/bento. Delete the bento.bentodb file. Re-start Bento; a fresh database file is automatically created. Now back up that file and call it “Freshbento3Data” or something similar. Now you can revert to a fresh database file any time you need to.

After you import a Template into a fresh Bento database file, check for strange Collections in Address Book and iCal. After you make sure which ones might be used by the Template, delete the stray Collections. Same goes for Forms.
In addition, you might get all Address Book/iCal Fields from the creator’s Bento. It’s too much work to deal with that issue in detail, just don’t be surprised if you run into some strange Field names once in a while…

Now you can re-export the cleaner Template and import it into your main database or any sub-set you’re using.

Happy templating…

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