Bento (database)

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The Bento public preview running on Leopard
The Bento public preview running on Leopard
Developer(s)FileMaker Inc.
Stable release
4.1.2 / October 1, 2012; 6 years ago (2012-10-01)
Operating systemMac OS X, iOS
WebsiteOfficial website

Bento is a database application for Mac OS X made by FileMaker Inc. Bento differs significantly from the company's flagship product, FileMaker Pro, in that it relies heavily on templates and integration with other applications. By default, Bento's data sources include Apple's Address Book and Calendar (previously called iCal) applications, which it can modify directly. FileMaker announced on July 31, 2013, that it would discontinue Bento on September 30, 2013.[1]


Bento is only compatible with Mac OS X 10.5 or later due to its reliance on features not available in previous versions of the operating system. Certain actions, such as switching templates, use Core Animation to animate the transition. It also includes integration with Time Machine for backing up and requires iCal 3.0 (later renamed Calendar) for live data editing.[2]

Release schedule[edit]

A public preview was made available along with the initial product announcement on November 13, 2007,[3] with the first final version being released on January 8, 2008.[4]

Version history[edit]

Bento Releases
Date Version
Nov 13 2007 Bento Public Preview
Jan 8, 2008 Bento v1
Oct 14, 2008 Bento v2
Sep 29, 2009 Bento v3
Mar 16, 2011 Bento v4

Template sharing[edit]

A Bento Template is a pre-made library with all the forms necessary to catalog items within a certain context. With the release of Bento 2 on October 14, 2008, Bento users could import, export and share their templates. On June 16, 2009 Filemaker launched its own template sharing site[5] where users can download a variety of templates as well as share their own. A couple of other user-created template sharing sites also exist:

Upgrade controversy[edit]

On October 14, 2008, FileMaker released Bento 2.0, which has bug fixes and new features, including integration with Apple's Mail. The new version did not offer upgrade pricing and cost the same as version 1. Many customers expressed their disappointment at the official Bento user forums,[6] where FileMaker responded that they were using the "same pricing model" as other companies' products such as Apple's iWork and iLife suites.

Additionally, on November 25, FileMaker provided an official statement[7] indicating that they would discontinue revisions and bug fixes for the version 1 product.

Given interest in a revision, this was neither a quick, nor an easy decision to come to.

Bento 1 received extensive beta testing, but like every software product, issues were discovered after shipment. We followed up with Bento 1.0.2 to address critical issues that had been discovered.

In addressing product issues discovered after 1.0.2 for the 2.0 release, we reworked the product in significant, and sometimes, architectural ways. Simply put, this means that there is no way to easily migrate the fixes in 2.0 backwards to 1.0. We would have to reengineer 1.0 until it effectively became 2.0. Doing so would have strongly delayed the 2.0.3 version of Bento, which we will be releasing as a free update for Bento 2.0.1/2.0.2 this week, and continued development of the Bento product line.

As of May 20, 2012, the price for Bento 4 was $49 for a single license, or $99 for a 'Family Pack' of five licenses.[8]


FileMaker announced on July 31, 2013, that it would completely discontinue the Bento product line on September 30, 2013, with technical support for Bento products finally ending on July 30, 2014.[1]

Competing software[edit]




  1. ^ a b "FileMaker will stop offering Bento Sept. 30, 2013". July 31, 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  2. ^ "Meet Bento – FileMaker Inc". FileMaker Inc.
  3. ^ "First Look: FileMaker's Bento database for Leopard". MacNN. November 13, 2007.
  4. ^ Dalrymple, Jim (January 8, 2008). "FileMaker ships Bento personal database". Macworld. Macworld. Retrieved January 9, 2008.
  5. ^ "Meet Bento Bento Template Exchange Showcases Real-World Uses and Downloadable Templates". FileMaker Inc. June 16, 2009.
  6. ^ "Bento User Forums". Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  7. ^ "Official response to upgrade pricing and Bento 1 update questions - Bento User Forums". Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  8. ^ "Bento pricing". Filemaker. May 20, 2012. Retrieved May 20, 2012.

External links[edit]