FileMaker Releases Bento 4 for iPad

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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:

    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.

    Article Link: FileMaker Releases Bento 4 for iPad
  2. usptact macrumors regular

    Apr 2, 2011
    Interesting piece of software, never used it. What are the most typical use cases? Where it fits the best?
  3. AdeFowler macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2004
    Looks beautiful. I really wish I could think of a use for it.
  4. AppleInLVX macrumors 6502a


    Jan 12, 2010
    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.
  5. mgipe macrumors demi-god


    Oct 6, 2009
    Not nice that they force current paid users to pay again.
  6. Defender2010 macrumors 68030


    Jun 6, 2010
    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 bleeding chance!
  7. CTYankee macrumors 6502

    Jul 18, 2002
    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.
  8. nightcap965 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2004
    Cape Cod
    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

    I've used every version since it was released. It's an important part of my auxiliary brain.
  9. CTYankee macrumors 6502

    Jul 18, 2002
    That is there MO. Make a crappy product (Bento v1 for the Mac). Fix it and charge full price again. Only in Bento v1 it was broken and several key features were not usable. The acknowledged this, yet never fixed them in v1, but told people to buy v2.
  10. LaWally macrumors 6502a

    Feb 24, 2012
    I just find it easier to create a spreadsheet to keep track of stuff like this. Software inventory, hardware inventory, household inventory ... all in spreadsheets.

    Now, if I had a 500 bottle wine collection or a large stamp collection or some other kind of collection, I would probably use Bento to inventory it, complete with photos of each item. But, alas I do not.
  11. nuckinfutz macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth
    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.
  12. rmwebs macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2007
    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!
  13. afd macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2005
    Our inventory at work is done on a spreadsheet, it's always a nightmare every year when it gets updated. Would be much easier on a database.
  14. mabhatter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 3, 2009
    The bigger problem form is that FileMaker is a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple. This should be to iWork what Access is to MS Office. But it's not... Not even close. They could even be going after some of the HyperCard-type tasks... But they don't. It's just a list maker program.. With a proprietary format so you can't use it with Pages or Numbers.

    With zero integration to the OS or IOS it's JUST for lists... You can find an appl for whatever hobby or collections you have with the WORK of data entry already done for cheaper, even if you need 2-3 of them.
  15. LaWally macrumors 6502a

    Feb 24, 2012
    Agreed. I still have nightmares of getting spreadsheets from Accounting asking us to verify our software licenses and hardware inventory. We kept the info in an Oracle DB, and gave Accounting nicely formatted reports, but they re-input the data into spreadsheets and that is what we would get back the following year. Go figure.
  16. CmdrLaForge macrumors 68040


    Feb 26, 2003
    around the world
    Fair enough. Even so developers used to make money by offering upgrades. Not sure why this must change with the appstore.
  17. pgyanke, Jun 19, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012

    pgyanke macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2011
    Upgraded... Problem!

    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.
  18. drunkn macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2010
    You should check out the service, Springpad ( It's a multi-type saving system like Bento but it also obviously has a web interface that syncs with Android/iOS.
  19. 50548 Guest

    Apr 17, 2005
    Currently in Switzerland
    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, in the end Bento is close to irrelevant, to be quite frank.
  20. Undecided macrumors 6502a

    Mar 4, 2005
    I get really frustrated with Bento. I use both the Mac version and iPhone version, and sync them. I get frustrated because I see the huge potential of such an easily accessible database, and yet some of the details are so boneheaded.

    Like, for example, for calculated fields, the "today" variable doesn't update in the future. When you insert the variable, it's basically a snapshot value of that day.

    Calculated fields using values from other databases don't automatically update.

    Also, there's no automatic linking with related records that meet predefined criteria. You have manually drag over related records to link them.

    This is a great tool for getting organized in some respects, but absolutely fails in some of the details as implemented.
  21. nuckinfutz macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth
    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.
  22. Undecided macrumors 6502a

    Mar 4, 2005
    I think it's good for managing multiple related small sets of information.

    Just by way of example, suppose you are a landlord and want to keep track of tenants, properties, units, insurance policies, mortgages, etc. Each one of those sets goes into a different database, with its own unique structure. It's essentially separate excel (or Numbers!) tables, but with the ability to contain (or link to) media files as well. And then you can link records (which tenants go with which property, etc.).

    Another example would be classes, teachers, students, etc.

    Another example is that this allows you to add additional contact to your contacts. Your address book only has very limited functionality - this lets you wrap any variety of fields around that. (On the Mac, you can link the two; on iOS devices I think you can just see the net result.)

    Obviously, their templates cover a variety of other examples.

    That said, the automated aspects fail (e.g. calculated fields don't get updated very well).
  23. Glassed Silver macrumors 68000

    Glassed Silver

    Mar 10, 2007
    Kassel, Germany
    Seeing how they are a subsidy of Apple I'm enormously impressed by that story, as you'd think that Apple would have enough influence (of direct or indirect nature) to inspire them with more positive philosophy about customer service.

    Adore their software, but that story makes the management (at least the v1/v2 days management) seem like Captain Hooks in suits.

    Glassed Silver:mac
  24. robecq macrumors regular


    Jun 21, 2006
    Can you print/ email information or export with this version? Or is everything still locked in?
  25. dfs macrumors regular

    Sep 17, 2008
    A question and a comment

    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.

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