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 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

Have fun!

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.

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…

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