FileMaker Retires Bento, the Everyman’s (and Woman’s) Database

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FileMaker recently announced that the company is retiring Bento, its personal database program. FileMaker said that this is because its “customers’ use of FileMaker on iOS is growing rapidly.”

The problem is that FileMaker is a behemoth of a product, designed for businesses, which costs $300, compared to Bento, which cost $50. Also, Bento was very easy to set up and use, whereas FileMaker has a very steep learning curve.

FileMaker certainly found that they weren’t selling enough copies of Bento, or they simply decided that they didn’t want low-priced competition for FileMaker.

One advantage of Bento was the wide availability of templates so individuals could set up databases without even worrying about layout. The Bento website had dozens of templates, which covered things like home inventories, collections, lesson plans and more.

I’ve been using Bento for a couple of years, mainly for a research project, where I’ve been collecting excerpts from books for my Reading Ralph Waldo Emerson website. I looked at a number of options, and Bento was the easiest to use, allowing me to set up custom fields, and enter dates, texts, references and more. Bento won’t stop working, of course, and FileMaker pledges support through July 30, 2014. But I very much liked the way Bento let me record texts, sort them, and search for them. If any readers have suggestions for something simple that can meet my needs, feel free to mention your favorite database app in the comments.