Bento or Filemaker Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by webcity, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. webcity macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2011
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #1
    We currently have a web based system that stores all of our customer details and that we use for our billing, etc, but we are looking for an offline solution to use as well.

    I've had a brief look at Bento but not too impressed with it (particularly not being able to delete the default libraries). But, I'm just wondering whether Filemaker Pro would be better for a business.

    Does anyone have any experience with both? Which do you prefer?
     
  2. ssmed macrumors 6502

    ssmed

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    Filemaker definitely, but also consider 4D (www.4d.com)
     
  3. webcity thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 16, 2011
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  4. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
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    Virginia
    #4
    this seems like the opposite of the way most businesses are going. What is driving the need for a local application? what sort of syncing do you expect to need between web based and local databases? Where is your web application (and it's database) hosted (in your office, a datacenter, or a cloud)?
     
  5. jacg macrumors 6502a

    jacg

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    UK
    #5
    I don't know how many high end db features you need but Bento is very simple. Most of the templates are very ugly (search and download 'neutrals' theme) and a very limited printout is the closest you'll get to a report. However, it is easy to used with a very mac-like interface, and your data is easy to use like a spreadsheet as well as a database.

    Filemaker will do all the high end stuff but still looks like it was made for mac os 8.6. It is a long way from being a modern mac app. I try every major update and still little progress since I was a user of version 8.

    Of course, other opinions are available, and perhaps you can still get a demo of both to try? Good luck.
     
  6. jsm4182 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Location:
    Beacon, NY
    #6
    Theres a lot of possibilities with Bento, Filemaker Pro is overkill for a lot of users.

    I use Bento to organize clients and projects for my freelance work and it has fit my needs very well.

    Are you talking about the iCal and Address Book tables that are there by default? You can turn those off.
     
  7. ssmed macrumors 6502

    ssmed

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    #7
    4D is the Macintosh application (cross platform) I would recommend for database development when Filemaker is not customisable enough. It has a robust scripting programming language and stand alone as well as client server versions. It can be designed to act as web server, email client, word processor, spreadsheet and has SQL connectivity and for those familiar with SQL, you can use SQL language to search and manipulate data. It has been around for almost 20 years and deserves more interest than it gets, therefore the plug here.

    The inclusion of the need for financials would be the biggest reason for not picking BENTO, you are unlikely to have the reporting or query options. For either Filemaker or 4D you could get an example contact/invoicing database to work on or buy a commercial package (bespoke or off the shelf). Ultimately, unless you have experience in programming or are willing to put in the hours, with the potential risk to your business of a stupid mistake with monies in the learning phase, I would get some help from a developer or buy a package.

    BENTO might do it for you (your original post doesn't give enough detail) and is cheap enough that you could work on getting it running without significant outlay. You will need to use any of these products for more than a few days to appreciate their capabilities. It is very easy to download the demo, stumble on an issue that seems very important and then give up, I've done it myself.

    HTH
     
  8. webcity thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 16, 2011
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #8
    Thanks for the replies :)

    @Panch0 I don't really understand why so many people are opting for 'online solutions' to be honest. When I ask accountants for advice on book keeping, they always point me in the direction of online services which means monthly memberships.

    The reason I am against these online solutions is because I don't want to be paying every month for something if I can buy it cheaper. For example, our online billing software was costing us £12 per month but we bought an 'owned' license for £199 which so far has saved us about £80 since we bought it and is now saving us £12 every month. Similarly with online accounting packages, they cost anywhere between £5 to £20 per month.

    Our current billing software is hosted in one of the datacentres we use for our web hosting servers.

    @jacg Yeah, I know what you mean about Bento being basic. What I don't really like about Bento (and Filemaker by the looks of it) is when you print a record, all it prints is a screen print of the form. When I used to use Microsoft Access, you could have one screen that you'd design as an input form, then you could have a completely different design for the printed reports. That's the kind of thing I'm looking for really.

    @ssmed Thanks for the suggestion mate but I think 4D is both overkill for what we are looking to do and too expensive for what we want.
     
  9. ssmed macrumors 6502

    ssmed

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    Filemaker can do multiple form printing. For instance you could have a set of buttons on the bottom of your input page which printed different layouts according to circumstance (e.g. delivery note, Invoice, overdue statement etc) and can write to fields to say when printed by whom etc is you need tracking. This is easy stuff in FM.
     
  10. garycurtis macrumors 6502

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    Sep 15, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles & Northern California
    #10
    You can evaluate the potential in Bento yourself. Easily. Go to the Filemaker > Bento > Template Exchange. Look at the 100+ templates Bento users have built and judge whether the program can adapt to your parameters/requirements.

    I use Bento for stuff at home, but it is sort of clunky. You can program a lot of features, but it doesn't approach the features of a fully relational database like Filemaker. Even so, the interface offers simplicity, if that is what you want.
     
  11. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Location:
    Virginia
    #11
    So are you looking to REPLACE your online system with something local? You initial post indicates that you want to use a local system 'in addition' to the online system. My questions were based on past experience in trying to integrate local and on-line systems. I would need a very good reason to do that again.

    To me, having someone else taking care of maintenance, updates and BACKUP is worth the monthly fee, but I'm not going to try to convince you of cost benefit.
     

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