updated 09:05 am EDT, Tue October 14, 2008
Bento 2.0 released
Approximately 10 months after its introduction, FileMaker has released v2.0 of its personally-oriented database software, Bento, focusing on user-suggested improvements. Rather than a complete revamp, this version is said to represent fine tuning. FileMaker has added 10 new themes, direct links to Apple Mail, easier import/export from Numbers and Excel, and a more "Mac-like" interface.
Product Manager Beth Nagengast says the company heard from many customers who had been keeping track of lists using spreadsheets, and wanted a simple way to bring data in and out of Bento from Microsoft Excel and Apple's Numbers. In an interview with MacNN, Nagengast said another user-suggested feature allows people to drag and drop Apple Mail items within Bento forms. Users can import data into templates to organize events, track classes, manage inventory, manage time or compile contacts.
FileMaker has also focused on simplifying the interface, letting users manage day-to-day projects without having to understand relational databases. To that end Bento borrows from iTunes, with search and sort functions resembling Apple's jukebox software. Data can be organized into "smart collections," much like Smart Playlists in iTunes. Bento themes make data entry simple and provide an attractive package for projects, but limit the changing of colors or fonts.
Other new features include the ability to print multiple records on a single page, integrated support for Google Maps and online chat, and the option to import and export tab-delimited files used by AppleWorks. Users now also have the option save their projects without data, creating templates to share with others.
Bento requires Mac OS X 10.5.4 or higher and works with Intel or PowerPC machines. The software is available now at $50 for a regular license, or $100 for a five-license family pack.