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!

Long time ago, my fellow Bento gold digger Barbara sent me a screen shot of a funny custom Theme she had created. Initially I didn’t see anything unusual. But after all this time I happened to run across that image again and all of a sudden I noticed that the Theme included a visible Column Divider. Interesting, I thought… No regular Bento Theme has that. The Column Divider usually only becomes visible in edit-mode and it just looks like an outline.

Today I figured out how my friend created a Column Divider image!

Here is the solution:
When you edit a theme to customize it (see my tutorial on theme creation/customizing), the plist file contains this line that I had never even noticed:
<key>columnImageScaled<⁄key>
<⁄true>
… which is very similar to this line:
<key>separatorImageScaled<⁄key>
<⁄true>

… which refers to the image of the horizontal separator you can add on a form. That image is called Separator.tif. That told me everything I needed to know…

So this is what I did to create an image for the otherwise invisible column divider, and it worked like a charm:
I opened the Separator.tif image in Preview and simply rotated it to make it vertical. Then I saved it under the name Column.tif. That was it!

After re-starting Bento the column divider became visible for that theme – like Magic!

Have fun!

Several people expressed interest in displaying a company logo in the background of a Bento form. That’s another relatively easy theme customization.

Again, go back to the Resources folder in the package content of our test theme Starfield Casual in the sample ThemePack file. There you’ll find the picture file Background.png. That file makes up the main background of the theme. That particular picture is a customized photo I used myself as a test. You just have to replace that Background picture with your logo picture (in the theme you want to customize). But that’s not all…

You need to know that Bento tiles the background picture – similar to the tiling option for the computer desktop wallpaper. So if you just want one logo displayed (like a letterhead) then, first of all, you have to make your picture big enough to fill the whole Bento screen so it can’t be tiled. You could place your logo at the left top, for example, and then expand the rest of your picture background to the right and down.

Finally, to make your logo look as close as possible to the original picture, several background parameters in the .plist file have to be adjusted, which is a bit tricky. The test file (Starfield Casual) demonstrates the following changes.

First you should normally turn off the transparency of the title banner. If you don’t, your background picture continues as a mirror image in the title banner, as used in the Swimming Pool theme for effect, and in some other themes as well.
Find the <key> named bannerFill. The <string> below gradientColorBottom and gradientColorTop has four parameters. Change the fourth parameter of each to “1.” The first three make up the actual color.

Next I would change the <real> parameter of the first two keys in the .plist file: backGroundBrightness to “-0” and backGroundContrast to “1.” To be safe you could also change backgroundHueAngle (0) and backgroundSaturation (1).
Finally change backgroundTileScale to “1” to make sure your logo doesn’t look skewed.

That’s it. And please, give me feedback, ask questions. Have fun with your new logo!

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.

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