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Mac News: FileMaker Releases Bento 2; Reactions Mixed
      #31672 - 10/20/08 06:00 PM

FileMaker, a division of Apple that provides database software for OS X, has announced that version 2 of Bento, its inexpensive, easy-to-use database product has been released.

Some of the new features in this version include:
  • Apple Mail integration
    Get instant access to related messages.
    Link Apple Mail email messages, notes and RSS articles directly to information stored in Bento with a simple drag and drop.
    View messages instantly from within Bento using Quick Look.
    Open selected messages in Apple Mail with a single click to easily reply or forward.
  • More Spreadsheet-like Behavior
    Includes familiar features you already know how to use.
    Use the new fill down feature or copy and paste to enter information faster and easier than ever before.
    Just click, type, and tab to enter data just like you do in Microsoft Excel or iWork Numbers.
    Plus, you can now add new fields and change field types right from the Table View with a few simple clicks.
  • Direct Numbers and Excel Support
    Work with Numbers and Excel seamlessly.
    Directly import Microsoft Excel or iWork Numbers spreadsheets. You no longer need to save spreadsheets as CSV files first.
    Directly export Bento libraries to Microsoft Excel or iWork Numbers format. You no longer need to export libraries as CSV files first.
    Copy and paste selected blocks of Microsoft Excel or iWork Numbers data into Bento to view information in beautiful Bento forms, get easy iTunes-style searching, quick sorting and instant summary stats.
    Copy and paste Bento data back into your spreadsheet for further analysis and charting.
  • Import and Export Tab-Delimited Files
    Great news for AppleWorks Users.
    Now you can do more with the AppleWorks information you already have on your Mac by bringing your databases and spreadsheets into Bento with a few clicks.
    Simply export your AppleWorks data into text file and then import into Bento.
    You can also export data just as easily to get it back to AppleWorks or any program that supports tab-delimited files.
  • Template Import and Export
    Exchange Bento Templates.
    Now you can exchange your favorite Bento library templates with other Bento users by simply exporting individual templates.
    Plus you can get templates from other Bento users by importing them with a simple drag and drop.
    Note: Individual Bento library templates contain the fields and forms from a library, but not the data.
  • Split View
    See summary and details together.
    The new hybrid Split View shows summaries and details together on one screen to make viewing and editing information easier than ever.
    Now you can see lists of information in Table View on top and details in Form View below - all on the same screen.
  • Faster Form Customization
    Say "Goodbye" to customize mode!
    Now you can change a form layout instantly without having to enter Customize Mode.
    Simply click near a field's edge to select it. You can move or resize it, or change the font size, shading and more.
    When you need to edit the data, just click inside the field. It?s that simple.
  • Built-In Links to Maps and Chat
    Get maps and start chats from Bento
    Just click the new button near any address to automatically display maps or driving directions from the Web.
    Even start a chat session with your IM buddies right from within Bento. (Requires an Internet connection and iChat account.)
  • More Printing Options
    Print lists and forms easier
    In Form View, you can now print more than one record per page.
    In Table View, you can use the new 'Fit to Width' option to make your columns automatically fit the width of the page.
    This is great for phone lists, sales reports and more!
  • Ten More Themes ? Make your forms look even better

The good news is that, for new users, Bento 2 costs just $49. The bad news is, for owners of version 1, which came out only ten months ago, the cost is... still $49. This has generated a tremendous backlash from users who believe that FileMaker is asking them to pay full price a second time too soon and without fixing many of the bugs of Bento 1. In fact, as of this posting, a hate thread on Bento's official forum has already reached 12 pages. Moreover, some users who did shell out the $49 have stated that they were not impressed with the upgrade, although others have found that it is still a worthwhile purchase.

At this point, it's clear that FileMaker has alienated a large portion of its Bento user base, and that they apparently do not intend to do anything to change that.

For more information, or to make a purchase or post additional hate messages, please visit the official site.


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