Personal database that organizes your busy life“Bento is made by FileMaker, but it’s not FileMaker Pro—it’s not in the same ballpark, it’s not in the same league, and it’s just barely the same sport. That isn’t bad, but if you’re familiar with the venerable FileMaker Pro, Bento may not be what you’re expecting. For the uninitiated, FileMaker, a subsidiary of Apple, makes FileMaker Pro, a line of cross-platform database products catering mostly to workgroups of 5 to 150 users,” Stuart Gripman reports for MacLife.

“Bento is FileMaker’s first foray into the personal information management space, and unlike its corporate cousins, Bento is only for Macs (and only Macs running Leopard). Aimed at individuals with relatively simple data management needs, Bento is simple to use and looks pretty good. In its default configuration, Bento hooks into your Address Book and iCal data,” Gripman reports.

“Bento organizes information in three tiers. A Library is the top tier, something akin to a table in a traditional database. Collections are the second level; they’re subsets of a Library’s records. The makers of Bento suggests thinking of Collections like iTunes playlists. As with playlists, you can have static and Smart Collections. Records are the third tier, and to drag out this iTunes metaphor just a bit further, your records are analogous to songs,” Gripman reports.

“Bento is a product for individuals with basic data management needs. If simplicity eclipses flexibility among your needs, it may be just what you’re looking for. While we see some excellent potential in Bento, we hope FileMaker will loosen the reins a little in the next version,” Gripman reports.

Much more in the full article here.