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.

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’m glad I didn’t upgrade to Mac OS 10.7 (aka Lion) yet.

TS Gal, the main tech person on the Bento forum, confirmed that we have an unsolved problem. Here’s a direct quote (response to user report):
I am able to replicate the problem (=frequent crashes) under Bento 4.0.4 and Lion, as it works properly under Bento 4.0.4 and Snow Leopard. During the time the beach ball was spinning, I ran Activity Monitor and captured a sample. I sent this file along with your data file to our Development and Testing departments for review…” So now we wait.

Simple recommendation:
If you haven’t adopted Lion yet, hold off until Bento 4.0.5 is released.

P.S.: BTW, I had failed to report that Bento 4.0.4 under Snow Leopard seems to be more stable than 4.0.3 – I don’t experience any more crashes.

In the 4.0.3 update, the Bento team tried to fix several user-reported bugs and made Bento unstable again in the process!

With Bento 4.0.2, I had absolutely no crashes, and I worked with it extensively almost daily. But 4.0.3 quit unexpectedly several times. And the strange thing is that it quits over night, while I’m not working on it at all. That same problem existed with an earlier version of Bento, but had been fixed. Now it’s back!
There are no indications that the datafile gets corrupted, thank God. Bento always works fine after I reopen it. And I used two independent datafiles: both trigger overnight crashes, but both work fine afterwards. And Bento 4.0.3 hasn’t crashed on me while I’m working on a database. Only while I’m actually sleeping…

Sorry Bento 4.0.3, but you’re not a sleeping beauty!

I can only hope that the next update comes soon and that it will fix this problem!!

Additional observation: at least Bento has learned to bow out gracefully. When the buggy 4.0.1 version crashed it didn’t even quit. Now the program quits and the little pop-up even has a “reopen” button. Nice. Thanks, Filemaker, Inc., that you gave Bento 4.0.3 a nice funeral. It still counts as an improvement.

Besides the new label printing in Bento 4 and several helpful printing options, Bento has a very basic flaw when it comes to printing:
No Page Guides on Forms! That makes it very hard to get the most important kind of printout: The famous WYSIWYG!

You are taking great care designing a form that looks great on your particular screen – be it a 13″ Macbook or a 27″ iMac. Then, big disappointment: the printout looks horrible. Why? Because Bento automatically squeezes any screen layout into whatever paper size is selected in the print dialog, therefore often making text sizes much smaller. In most cases that kind of printout is frustrating and not usable at all!

Bento needs page guides that should fetch the current print settings. It should be possible to switch them on and off.

Dear Filemaker: Thanks for listening.

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