Publishers Choice: BENTO 4

I have been using Macs since 1984 and in that time I never declared to have a favorite application. It is time for me to commit and admit that I have a favorite.

That application for me is Bento by FileMaker. I have used FileMaker’s traditional flat file database product all along but always had to justify its use and selection. At times I have had to compromise missing SQL functions and features often demanded in business.

Leave it to Filemaker to figure out how to best leverage the strengths of Filemaker into a unique solution that trumps all the disadvantages.

Bento now in its 4th revision is that solution, or should I say framework for solutions. If you use a Mac you owe it to yourself to take a look at Bento and decide if it is right for your purposes.

Even though I am a harsh critic I have to give Bento 5 stars and make it my very first Publisher’s Choice product.

If I had the financial warchest that Apple has I would buy FileMaker in order to acquire Bento and promote it heavily to Mac, iPad and iPhone users even if it hair lips the entire marketing division.

So what exactly is Bento? And what does it do? (more to follow…)

Three things jump out at me to start:

  1. The initial $49 purchase price and costs of upgrades $29 and $4.99 for related apps are more than reasonable and compelling.
  2. On the Bento Template Exchange there are tons of free templates available that do just about any and everything you might need.
  3. Bento development is ongoing and rock solid.

You can try Bento for 30 days: http://www.bentotrial.com/trial/form/entry.aspx

5/24/11 Addendum: Just when I put my full endorsement behind Bento the company launches a major push behind the full version of FileMaker as a solution for businesses. That doesn’t lessen its use for personal productivity but it does lead to issues that have long haunted those of us that promoted Filemaker over the years. Mainly who and what is it right for and how does it compare to Oracle, SQL and other Enterprise-level solutions?