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Friday, October 5, 2012

The Presentation on Bento on 10/03/2012

Anton Anderson gave a wonderful presentation Wednesday night, 10/03/2012. You must see him give his presentation on Bento.

To sum up his points:

Filemaker (a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple, Inc) wrote Bento specifically for the Mac, taking advantage of the Core technologies built into OS X. Many Windows users envy Bento and wish they had it for their Windows machines. No such luck.

Bento is a personal database. It’s not designed for multi-user use in an office. If you work as a sole proprietor, Bento would work well for you. If you have several employees who all need access to the database, invest in FileMaker. FileMaker can easily handle large numbers of users.

Users can get started quickly with Bento due to its templates. Bento comes with a large stock of templates. You can get more through the on-line Template Exchange, where users submit templates they created for their personal use.

You can get Bento for the Mac and for your iPhone and your iPad. Bento costs $49 for the Mac, $9.99 for the iPad, and $4.99 for the iPhone.

As I said, Bento does not dump you into designing your own database from scratch. You could design your own database from scratch if you’re so inclined. A lot of users, though, will stick with the prewritten templates or just modify an existing template to their needs.

Bento proves useful in business situations where you need to isolate data from the main database. Anton gave the example of a real-estate office where the owner wanted to use the existing Filemaker database for his son’s bar mitzvah. It proved somewhat difficult to integrate the data for the bar mitzvah into the real estate database.

So when the time came for the owner’s daughter’s bat mitzvah, Anton said, “We’ll just take the basic data from the Filemaker database, put it into a Bento database and go from there.” Items such as food preferences for the guests fit easily into a separate Bento database, while the main Filemaker database hummed along with just real estate sales information.

You can store more than just numbers in Bento. You could, if you wanted, set up a database of videos. Anton gave the example of a vocal coach who takes videos of clients at various stages of progress and keeps them in, well, a Filemaker database. But Bento would work just as well. Record your children playing sports or musical instruments and put it into a Bento database, noting their progress over time.

You could store pictures, too; although Bento does not provide for the image editing found in iPhoto or Aperture. If you want to record an inventory of personal possessions, though, you can easily include a photo of these objects.

In summary, Bento provides an easy to use database for personal use. It exploits the features of OS X and complements the iWork office suite.

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