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.

This post is part of the continual evaluation of Bento 4. The following issues are not new, but since they still have not been addressed or commented on by Filemaker, Inc., I have to mention them again. I’ll never give up hope, you know.

Let’s face it: The Bento List Fields are pretty ugly, but they are even uglier with scroll bars. Whenever possible I am trying to avoid them.

The Simple List field contains a bug (or to put it nicely: an oversight) that makes avoiding horizontal scroll bars very hard:
The rightmost column is always called “new column.” It’s very unsightly because it’s like constantly displaying the edit-mode. Even though you can re-size it like the other columns (making the words disappear), Bento does not remember the new column size! It always expands back to the full size if you click on a different form and then go back. Only the sizes of the active columns are remembered.
This also falls into the category “Unexpected Results,” because first Bento let’s us resize the column, then later just ignores that action and reverses it!
Dear Filemaker: please fix this or at least tell us that you won’t. If you never address these valid concerns you are giving us the impression that you simply don’t care. Bento is branded as a database designer’s dream. Unsightly problems like these spell trouble in paradise!

Another Simple List field bug – same Category: unexpected results.
You can copy data and paste them into a Simple List field. But even though the Simple List field looks and feels exactly like Bento’s Table View, it acts differently all of a sudden:
You can not paste into multiple columns, and first you have to create the correct number of empty cells before you can paste anything!
In Table View on the other hand, you can simply click into the last row (the one with the “+”) and paste muliple columns!
Dear Filemaker: please fix this. Thanks.

Next issue – Category: missing basic feature.
For a while now, Smart Collections can also be used as Related Data fields which is very useful. But they still won’t be filled automatically with records to match the functionality of the Smart Collections. This feature is so logical that I really don’t understand that it hasn’t been implemented yet.

Finally, I really wish the option of creating a one-line Related Data field would be re-implemented, therefore eliminating the need for an ugly List field in many situations.
Dear Filemaker: why did you not reconsider this yet? The initial design of this feature had so much promise, and many users had requested it.

[Submitted by Daikoma, German guest-contributor]

What about your New Year’s resolutions: stop smoking, going to the gym, taking a yoga course to get more relaxed? Are they still on track?

Finding motivation to keep healthy habits is often hard. In my opinion, Bento can help you in an easy way: create a simple Check Box  field in you iCal Events Library! And check it in Bento when you’re done with your task. It helps me personally a lot.

My tips for a sports calendar

  • Create a calendar in iCal called “sports.” Than create a simple Smart Collection for the “sports” calendar in Bento and add a check box called “task completed.” Move it into the first column in Table View.
  • Create dates when you want to go to the gym. If you’d like to add notes use the notes field or an Encrypted field, then the notes are not displayed in iCal (Bento 3).
  • Let iCal remind you one day in advance so you can get your gym bag ready the night before.
  • When you come home from the gym, check the check box in Bento. I recommend using Split View, then you can see your progress over the last couple of weeks. Feel satisfied and proud!
  • This also fits, for example, when you maybe paid for 20 massages or something else: you know your dates, when you were there, and when the package will end.
  • And if you are a young man living on your own, it maybe helps with the housekeeping ;-)

Why encrypted notes in a calendar?

My gym, for example, is health-oriented. It’s not so much for body-builders, but to motivate people who sit in the office all day to get some exercise. Or to help people with back pain. So there’s a doctor, a physiotherapist, and special instructors in my gym. That’s why you might want to keep your notes private.
They won’t appear in iCal, so your colleagues at work can’t see them when they look over your shoulder, and you can look at them at home in Bento for Mac or iPhone. This is the advantage of the iCal integration in Bento: you can add a personal touch & convenience to your calendar!

Hey, at his very moment I’m running BentoUsers all by my own lonely self. I know, I know, it seems I have this huge supporting staff behind the scenes. But that’s just a rumor. All I have is some people I can ask questions if I’m totally desperate. But I’m the only one publishing things and coming up with the ideas. That has to change! After all, the site’s main motto is:
Written By Bento Users For Bento Users. I clearly detect the plural form here and it wouldn’t sound very good to change it to the singular form…

I’m calling out to any other user, starting with my friends Dan and Barb, you know yourselves, how wonderful you are! I do appreciate the templates users have contributed. Keep them coming! But now I’m also looking for (regular?!) contributors. It could be a weekly column, the occasional tip or trick, special usage ideas, workarounds… pretty much anything. Even just someone who scours through the posts and leaves some comments on a regular basis. Point out the errors of my ways, make suggestions!

I hope I gave you some starting thoughts how to help out. Come out of the woodworks, get famous and help change the (Bento) world!

Thanks for listening…

Yours Truly, Lonesome Florian.

Sandra Hall is the editor of a magazine and in this article she explains how she uses Bento to keep track of submissions, pictures and ideas for articles as well as keeping track of what needs to be done to get an item ready for the magazine, permissions to be sought, proof-reading tasks and more. Read more

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