FileMaker Releases Bento 4 for iPad

With the debut of the original iPad back in March 2010, Apple subsidiary FileMaker released an iPad version of Bento, the company's personal database software. But while the app has received a few updates since that time, major changes have been relatively few and far between even with the release of Bento 4 for Mac in March 2011.

That all changes today with the release of Bento 4 for iPad [App Store], a significant upgrade for the personal database app. Macworld has an overview of the new app:
Past versions of the Bento for iPad have limited creation tools and have focused on acting as a means to access and modify existing databases that were initially created on the Mac. The new Bento 4 for iPad adds a complete set of tools to allow for the creation of Bento databases on the iPad itself.

“You don’t need a Mac,” Ryan Rosenberg, FileMaker’s vice president of marketing and services, told Macworld. “You’re actually building and constructing your own apps on the iPad.”

Bento 4 for iPad includes 25 customizable templates for various database types, along with 40 new themes optimized for the Retina display on the third-generation iPad. Other improvements include a new Table view for database entries and a hideaway library list for full-screen viewing of records.

Bento 4 for iPad is not an update to the previous Bento for iPad app and must be purchased separately. Regularly priced at $9.99, Bento 4 for iPad is on sale for $4.99 through July 31. Bento for Mac [Mac App Store] is also on sale for $29.99 through the end of July, down from its regular price of $49.99.

Top Rated Comments

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33 months ago

I'll third that one. I have always been intrigued by this software, and at the same time, I have no idea how I'd use it. I don't know how it stays profitable. Is there anything it does better than separate apps? I'd seriously like to know.


I am a bit of a software collector and try a lot of tools. This one does do some things very nicely. It is basically FileMaker for users. FileMaker is a database tool. It allows you to create databases as simple or complex as you like. However it means programing. For most, that is not an option. Bento takes all the programing away and lets you create a database with most any field you want: photos, date, email, text, notes, document links, etc.

I use it to manage people who donate to my organization, our computer systems in the organization (users, OS, age, software installed, etc), our video archives, and more.

It is a nice balance between the power of FileMaker and versatility of separate apps. It puts a good amount of power into one tool.

That said FileMaker as a company is not my favorite. They did some really sketchy stuff with Bento v1. It was buggy and had some documented issues with main features. They did fix them...and called it v2. Oh, and you get to pay full price again. There was quite an uproar from the v1 users who realized they paid to be beta testers. Management's response: too bad. Seriously. They forums lit up and FileMaker staff said management was meeting to discuss the issues with v1 and how to fix them. Their official response: buy v2. No discount either.

So the product is decent, the management (if it is still the same) stinks.
Rating: 7 Votes
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33 months ago
Not nice that they force current paid users to pay again.
Rating: 4 Votes
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33 months ago
Very nice update and certainly worth the $5 upgrade IMO.

It finally has ota sync with the Mac version versus the annoying wifi sync.

Encrypted data fields are nice when dealing with passwords or other sensitive data.

Love the form creator. That just may be worth the price of admission. Actually creating forms on the previous iPad edition wasn't very practical. You pretty much had to start the form on the Mac version and then sync the file over to the iPad.

Drag and drop fields looks nice with good sorting options.

Think of Bento as a Swiss Army knife. I've seen many small companies use it to do their CRM (Customer Relations Management) because you can have a record of customers that encapsulates notes, past emails, photos and more.

Introductory pricing is good to July 31st so it looks like Bento 5 on the Mac may be a further away than I had originally though.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
33 months ago
To all the folks who can't imagine how they would use a database:

Do you have boxes in the attic? What's in them? Wouldn't it be nice to have a list somewhere?

Do you work out? Where do you keep your records? Wouldn't it be nice to have them in one place?

Do you have pets? Where do you keep track of health, weight, veterinary visits, vaccinations?

Do you have projects? Where do you keep track of them?

Want more? See the template list at http://solutions.filemaker.com/database-templates/index_home.jsp

I've used every version since it was released. It's an important part of my auxiliary brain.
Rating: 2 Votes
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33 months ago
I think I'll wait for the reviews to come in. I wont touch any filemaker products until they are tested after the Bento v1 => v2 mess!
Rating: 2 Votes
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33 months ago

Exactly! Its was originally expensive to buy Bento for iPad and now they are basically saying it is limited in itself, so buy the new one......no bleeding chance!


Fair enough. Even so developers used to make money by offering upgrades. Not sure why this must change with the appstore.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
33 months ago

I am a bit of a software collector and try a lot of tools. This one does do some things very nicely. It is basically FileMaker for users. FileMaker is a database tool. It allows you to create databases as simple or complex as you like. However it means programing. For most, that is not an option. Bento takes all the programing away and lets you create a database with most any field you want: photos, date, email, text, notes, document links, etc.

I use it to manage people who donate to my organization, our computer systems in the organization (users, OS, age, software installed, etc), our video archives, and more.

It is a nice balance between the power of FileMaker and versatility of separate apps. It puts a good amount of power into one tool.

That said FileMaker as a company is not my favorite. They did some really sketchy stuff with Bento v1. It was buggy and had some documented issues with main features. They did fix them...and called it v2. Oh, and you get to pay full price again. There was quite an uproar from the v1 users who realized they paid to be beta testers. Management's response: too bad. Seriously. They forums lit up and FileMaker staff said management was meeting to discuss the issues with v1 and how to fix them. Their official response: buy v2. No discount either.

So the product is decent, the management (if it is still the same) stinks.


I have been using Bento as my Contact Management software for well over a year. Believe it or not, Filemaker won't sync with the Address Book and Bento does... or did... read on.

For over a year, I've been able to have synced databases between my computer, iPhone and iPad... all linked to my Address Book so I didn't have to maintain multiple contact lists. Before Bento, I used Excel spreadsheets. Bento made it very easy.

In this new incarnation, they made the interface pretty... but took away the ability to sync with the Address Book. It is now absolutely useless as a CRM tool... and, therefore, useless to me for anything. The other things I use it for are only ancillary to its primary function. Without CRM, the program is useless.

I called Bento. The tech agreed that the functionality was removed and didn't know why. He directed me to the iTunes Support area to get a refund.

God willing, my old Bento continues to work. Slick UI or no, it does what I need on a basic level.
Rating: 1 Votes
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33 months ago
So if you get to create new databases on your iPad, do you also get to port these to your Mac?

I love the comment about Flemaker management being "Captain Hook in suits"! That's exactly what I felt when I was told I had to pay full price for an upgrade. I don't see why Apple hasn't closed down Filemaker as a separate outfit long ago, and converted it into a component of iWork. Certainly the addition of an integrated database program would give iWork a distinct competitive edge over MS Office (at the moment the best Apple can say is "in some respects our product is as versatile as Office, and it's a lot nicer to look at", which is not the world's most compelling sales pitch.) And Apple would do well to put an end to Filemaker's ridiculous pricing, which puts it beyond the reach of a lot of potential customers. You make more money selling a lot of units at a low price than selling a lot fewer units at a high one.
Rating: 1 Votes
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33 months ago

It will be nice if they incorporate iCloud into these programs so that they automatically sync the information across your devices and computer.


For a company wholly owned by Apple with products that used to pass across Steve Jobs' desk for approval you'd think they'd use the good toys in their programs.

It needs:

iCloud sync
Barcode scanning/item recognition/field auto-complete from barcode (damn I wish Delicious Library was still on the iOS platform)
Integration into the Share Sheets functionality so that items can be added into Bento databases from anywhere in the iOS (10.8 or iOS 6).

Really, it should be a part of the iWork suite to round out the apps.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
33 months ago

I've never understood what Bento is for, despite having asked this question many times here and on other tech forums.

Delicious Library is better for media collection, Excel suffices for spreadsheet-like functionality and Contacts already manages, well, contacts...so in the end Bento is close to irrelevant, to be quite frank.


Yes but what if I need to track more data?

What if I have a client and I need to track our communications as well as keep a history of items or services ordered? What I need to attach pictures other other bits of data.

A spreadsheet is great for a list of items but begins to fail when I need to attach bigger data.

Contacts give me pertinent contact info but sometimes I need to have that and more info to get the overall picture.

What if I need to do invoicing? Sure I can buy 5 applications but the power of a DB is that you create the records containing the data you need and as they get more powerful the relationships between that data can do interesting things.
Rating: 1 Votes
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