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:
- The initial $49 purchase price and costs of upgrades $29 and $4.99 for related apps are more than reasonable and compelling.
- On the Bento Template Exchange there are tons of free templates available that do just about any and everything you might need.
- 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?
Although it is not really just an app in the latest sense but is actually more a full-blooded Application, Bento by Filemaker has found its way into my heart and into my core of essential applications for my journalism duties and general business productivity. I have been a Filemaker user about as long as I have used Macs, and since the very first versions I always thought Filemaker had potential and was very useful for building quick powerful (if not necessarily universal relational) database solutions. The power of Filemaker development and use is the rationale and business model that has lead to Filemaker’s launching of Bento now in its forh version. There is a very extensive depository of free templates available in the Bento Exchange allowing users to select from among a number of bite-sized business, organizational, education and productivity solutions to add to one’s Bento solution platform. This is actually a very creative approach that places the exceptional work of many filemaker developers in front of tons of new users.
Filemaker provides a program trial so you can see if you like it prior to purchase. Then if you do, the purchace price is reasonable enough to compel you to dive right in. Then you can begin explorign the Template Exchange to discover and download solutions that fit your workflow or needs. Once you start using Bento you will be surprised just how truly useful it can actually be and it will be hard to imagine how you got along without it.
I strongly applaud the Filemaker team for thinking outside the Bento Box and coming up with this approach. I only wish that other companies (especially in Cupertino) could be as creative and forward thinking.
The fact that you can go in and continue to customise and modify the templates by adding or deleting fields as you chose I think puts Bento into the realm of The Best. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give Bento a firm 10, and a big “Right On” to the whole team that made it happen. Good Job!
A viable alternative to WordPress and other powerful blogging tools, Tumblr is steadily gaining adherents and belivers due to Tumblr’s ease of use and theme power. Many experenced bloggers have recently taken to voicing preferences for Tumblr, while others in the know are still on the fence as WordPress 3.1 upgrades come to fruition brining significant changes and additions.
I recently stumbled upon what for me is becoming an invaluable resource as it should be for developers. The site is called FRAILWORDS. Frailworks is bursting with news, information, posts, RSS feeds, videos, books, design resources, templates, themes, advice, images and CMS resources, coupons and a marketplace
After an extended period of evaluation and trying out an assortment of different CMS systems and solutions for blogging and content management I have managed to land soundly in the camp of Word Press for reasons I am only just now coming to really understand and really appreciate. The availability of high quality useful themes is one of the main factors that draws me to WordPress. Once using it, I am beginning to realize that the power of Word Press and many of the features and functions that are spot-on useful. Most probably evolved from continual growth and evolution of the platform. The strength and additional functionality and extensibility of themes adds to the overall power and importance of WordPress as a desirable development platform
Coming from the world of Destop Publishing, Illustration and publication design I have always deeply appreciated and respected the consumate skills of seasoned newspaper and print designers. They constantly utilize full palate of skills including an awareness of grid design styles and concepts. I had seldom seen grid values successfully transfered to web design until now. After research the subject I found and became a fan of Khoi Vinh former design Director at the NY Times. Luckily Khoi has brought his knowledge of the grid design into a commerciallt-available minimalist-style WordPress-based Theme called Basic Maths. The subtraction.com site is an excellent example. I am busy, at this very moment, learning to use the theme and grid approach hopefully to the benefit if this website, please enjoy The Coolness Factor’s evolution now and into the future.