Is Bento 3 worth it? (tech newbie asking)

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by sun surfer, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. sun surfer macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2010
    I'm about to buy a new MacBook Pro and was browsing through all the things they can pre-install before shipping to you and came across Bento 3, which seems cheap and interesting.

    I'm not a huge techie person, but the reason it interested me is that I keep lists of things on my computer, and this might help. Right now I use the "spreadsheet" thing in Numbers (found it through trial and error) and it works well enough, but I know that's not what it was made for.

    The thing is, from what I've found about Bento 3, some people say it's only for small-ish lists and stuff because it can't handle bigger ones. Well, I have some big ones.

    For instance, I have this one list of films in Spreadsheet that's over 1,000 long, and I've used the different columns for different info like directors, years, genre, etc. so that I can easily re-organise the list to what I need it for. And that's only one of the lists I have like that.

    I'm always kind of vaguely felt there must be some more appropriate program for this kind of thing, but being a tech newbie I wouldn't know what it is. So would Bento work? I don't want to spend like hundreds of dollars on something, so any more expensive program is out - I'd just rather keep using what I'm using. But if something is as cheap as like $50 or less, I'd be interested.
  2. lionheartednyhc macrumors 65816


    Jul 13, 2009
    I like it. Try out the trial.
  3. PeggyD macrumors 6502a

    Jan 9, 2007
    Covington, WA, USA
    IMHO it's less than worthless, but only you can decide if it works for you. Download the trial to use for 30 days before deciding.
  4. sadcamper macrumors regular

    May 19, 2010
  5. sun surfer thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2010
    But will it hold lists of things in the thousands? Or do you guys think Spreadsheet is good for this?

    I would try the free trial, but I'm planning on putting in my order today or tomorrow for my Macbook, and I'd rather have it pre-installed if I'm going to get it.

    From the sound of you guys, I'm kind of leaning away from getting it right now...
  6. AsterixGM macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2009
  7. sun surfer thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2010
    That's the other one Apple is offering to have pre-installed right? Yeah, it looks interesting but I think it costs like $150 or $200 right? For that much I'd just rather keep using Spreadsheet.

    This was just sort of a whim, like I saw Bento 3 offered while perusing the custom options with the Macbook, and thought it could benefit me without costing too much.
  8. Mal macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2002
    Why does having it preinstalled concern you so much? It works the same way if it's preinstalled or if you take the 20 seconds to install it yourself. You're never going to know if it works for you if you don't try it yourself.

    For the record, 1000 entries is not a large database. FileMaker is designed to handle entries in the 10's of thousands and far higher. Bento will handle your list fine, it's whether you like using Bento that's the question.

  9. sun surfer thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2010
    I guess I'm spoiled. :p

    Really, it doesn't have to be pre-installed, it's just nice, and I'm so bad with tech stuff sometimes that I even get worried I might mess up a software installation!

    I personally didn't think 1,000 was a large database. But in reading reviews for Bento 3, I remember someone in particular said it's only good for lists of a few hundred at most and not more, which seemed odd to me but could possibly be right.
  10. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    Bento is great for things like movie collections. Aside of whatever information you want to track, you can include pictures (DVD art, movie poster for example). There are also all kinds of free templates you can download so you don't even have to design the forms.
  11. GovtLawyer macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2008
    I love it

    I use Bento 2 on my iMac to keep records for my legal services business. It tracks names and addresses, calendar appointments and a host of other things I set up. Its a very good database etc.
  12. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I tried the Bento demo and didn't like the interface at all. I found it particularly frustrating that I could not seem to start with a "blank page" and create a simple "list-style" database, a la the databases in the old "Microsoft Works" app (I _still_ use a 1993 version of MS Works running under Classic on this g4 to maintain many older databases!)

    For "simple" lists, something like "iData" or "EagleData" will work fine.

    You could also use the spreadsheet function of either OpenOffice or NeoOffice (both free).

    The downside to using a spreadsheet app to maintain data is there is not really a "form view" -- but at least the data itself is "all there".
  13. Frosties macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2009
    You have a full database in base in openoffice.

  14. coachingguy macrumors 6502a


    Feb 7, 2003
    The Great White, Albeit Frozen North
    Why? Could you be more detailed? Less than worthless is an awfully strong critique...

  15. PeggyD macrumors 6502a

    Jan 9, 2007
    Covington, WA, USA
    Where should I start?

    It saves everything in a single file somewhere in your user library. You can export a single Bento "library" as text but to share it you also have to share the template for the recipient to put back together. And even sharing with another Mac of your own is not easy.

    There really isn't a way to share individual "libraries" (I certainly wouldn't call them database files) with anyone else except as above.

    With Bento 2 they made a big "to-do" about being able to import AppleWorks files. Sure, as long as you still have AppleWorks to export whatever data you have as plain text & then import it THEN recreate any layouts, calculations, etc.

    It gets all of its calendar & address data from iCal & Address Book. Tough if you actually want to create separate files of addresses/contact that you don't want to put into Address Book. I do use Address Book to integrate with Mail, but I don't want all of my family, friends, church members, business contacts, etc. in Address Book if I don't send them e-mails. They did finally add the ability to link from one entry to another, say a parent & child or spouses.

    EDIT: It can't print more than one record per page which make printing labels impossible.
  16. waznuf macrumors newbie

    Jun 8, 2010
    Is it possible to create a bento database then export it as a website? Like what I'm saying is that I want to create a dynamic website, but I love Bento's interface for updating a database. I want to keep the look and feel of bento but in a read-only online format.
  17. TonyK macrumors 6502a


    May 24, 2009
    I find it useful only when used with the iPhone application. I maintain a list of our movies and album titles on our desktop Macs and then sync to the iPhone. This allows us to avoid duplication and in a large collection this is always possible.

    But it is limited in what it can track and do.

    That is its strength and what we use it for. Had an app for my old Palm Treo 650 that did something like this. Bento is easier to use than my old system. Just getting album titles out of iTunes in to Bento is easier and less time consuming.
  18. Joe Duff macrumors newbie

    Aug 6, 2010
    Philadelphia, PA
    Definitely get Bento 3

    I'm not sure why Bento 3 wouldn't be a perfect solution for you?? You seem like you might be an organized person like myself. I have a very diverse portfolio of hobbies and professions and I use Bento for everything. I use it to organize all sorts of personal stuff as well as professional projects. I use it for band related information such as gigs and recording projects, I use it to organize my favorite restaurants and wines, I use it to organize graphic design projects and sales leads. You're only limited by your creativity. And the interface couldn't possibly be more intuitive. You will master it in under two hours. You can't publish your layouts on the web but you can take screenshots if you want. And you can always export your info into an excel or numbers spreadsheet, and it can be shared over wifi. These complaints about Bento are a little weird. To say that it is a fault that Bento connects directly to your ical and address book is ridiculous. It is awesome that I can create related fields that connect directly to my contacts without having to add any new information, and that I can add deadline dates to a layout and it automatically shows up in ical. Besides, you can just create a new contact database that isn't linked to your address book if you want (although I don't know why you would). I'm currently organizing the renovation of a 150 unit apartment building all within Bento. You can absolutely run a small business with ease with this software. It's great. Stay away from FileMaker Pro unless you have experience with design, scripting, and complicated calculations. The rabbit hole that is FileMaker Pro is a deep and dangerous one. 30 hours of video tutorials later and you may still be lost. If you like keeping track of stuff and organizing your life then Bento 3 is absolutely the best thing out there. Just envision being able to scroll though full-color covers of your 1000 dvds and sorting them by any category you want with subcategories; genre, year, favorites, etc. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, this is a great product. I would pay way more than $50. I'm in no way affiliated with FileMaker or Bento, I'm just a Bento 3 fan. It's an excellent product. Good luck with your new computer!!
  19. PeckhamBog macrumors 6502


    Nov 28, 2007
    I use and rely on Bento 3 too.

    It is quite useful. Not quite as flexible as my brain thinks it should be, but very practical in the way it works anyhow.

    I love the way you can have different forms for the same data set, to display particular fields relevant for that form.

    The biggest oddity is all your databases (if you're using it for several purposes) live together in one big datafile bento.bentodb

    The iPhone app is a boon too, as previously mentioned in earlier posts. Not for creating databases, but primarily for having an accessible copy out with you for reference.

    As suggested earlier, take the 30 day trial to see if it works for you.

    PS I spent the big money on Filemaker Pro 10 and am still using Bento instead. I'm trying to learn FP now but Bento is much more "let's get going". As to the complaint, 'you can't start with a blank page', you can actually, though I suggest you won't want to until you know you're way around.

Share This Page