updated 10:05 am EST, Tue November 13, 2007
FileMaker Bento preview
FileMaker has just posted a new "public preview" download of Bento, its latest database application. Unlike software such as FileMaker Pro, Bento is intended to be a personal database, collecting information such as addresses and schedules alongside media like music, movies and photos. Users can also conduct some basic business-like functions, such as cataloging inventories, hours worked or payments due. Tasks created through a database can be prioritized, and Bento links with Address Book and iCal, ensuring up-to-date content as well as options like assigning photos to contacts.
Part of Bento's purpose is to make databases more user-friendly, and as such FileMaker has added an iTunes-like search interface, along with the ability to drag-and-drop items such as forms and lists, or CSV files users want to import from programs like Numbers or Microsoft Excel. The program provides quick appearance customization including 20 templates, and several features of Mac OS X Leopard have been integrated directly. Among these is Media Manager, which allows images to be inserted into Bento fields, and Advanced Find, which has a Bento-specific implementation for better search results.
The program is one of the first to require Leopard, and will ship commercially in January of 2008. The preview download is free for the time being, but users must fill out a registration form to receive a download link.