21 Jun 2012
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FileMaker brings Mac functionality to Bento for iPad

By Mike Borgfeldt

Apple database software subsidiary FileMaker has announced a major upgrade to its Bento for iPad personal productivity product, bringing the mobile version in line with the desktop edition, Bento 4.

The upgrade means that on top of being able to utilise Bento’s full database management functionality, Bento for iPad users can now access the Bento Template Exchange to find ready-made templates created by other Bento users.

David Head, systems engineer for FileMaker, says the new version of Bento for iPad had to be built from the ground up in order to match the functionality of the Mac version.

"What we’re aiming to do is get a tool where people can actually create their own productivity apps,” Head says.

"To develop an app yourself for the iPad is not something most people can do, so what we’ve done is provide a tool where they can create their own apps inside that tool.”

Among the new features are additions like a smart calculator that works out the calculation the user wants to do based the type of information selected, for example a sum or an average for a set of figures, or starting & ending dates for a date field.

Databases can be linked to one another, such as ‘project’ and ‘task’ databases, and a spreadsheet from one database can be embedded in another.

"People have seen this stuff before to some extent in the Mac version of Bento, but they’ve never seen this on the iPad.”

Although the iPad version syncs with the Mac version, Head says figures show that only a few Bento for iPad users also use Bento for Mac.

"Now they can do all of this stuff on the iPad and have a completely full-featured database there.”

The mobile version also includes device-specific features like location tracking.

FileMaker isn’t even charging more for the new version. In fact, until the end of July users will pay less than half price – $6.49, compared to the previous $13.99.

Mac users aren’t being left out either, with the new desktop version, Bento 4.1, selling for $35 until the end of July, down from $59.

Go here for more on the Bento suite.

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