Bento: Personal Database for Leopard

This software is obsolete. Images and external links have been removed.

FileMaker, the Apple subsidiary that has a database app by the same name, has released a preview of Bento, which it bills as a personal database.

The preview expires Feb 14, 2008 so that’s a good indication of when the first full release will be available and you’ll have to pay for a license. I couldn’t find any official price info on the website, but others have said it will be $49 a license or $99 for a family pack. Bento requires OS X 10.5 Leopard.

If you end up using the preview you may find you’re locked into it and end up spending the fifty bucks. But Bento can export to a CSV, Microsoft Excel or Numbers file so there may be a way for you to reclaim your data.

When you first start Bento, appointments & tasks from iCal will be loaded along with your address book data. There will also be a sample database called Projects. Click the previous thumbnail to see the main screen full size and in color (559KB).

If you want to create a new database (a “library” in Bento terms) there are 23 templates to get you started, 24 if you consider a blank slate a template. The template dialog is shown to the right, click the thumbnail to see the list full size and in color (473KB).

While I’ve tried similar personal databases before on Windows I’ve never really had a need for them and latched on to one. I’ve got a couple of months to see if Bento has anything that would make it worth fifty bucks to me in a couple of months. Seems like a reasonable price until you consider that the 3 app iWork is $79 as is the iLife suite of apps.