Bento is a product from FileMaker, which is owned by Apple. Designed to bring
FileMaker’s database expertise to users of Mac OS X Leopard and later, it integrates
data from iPhoto, iCal, Mail, and Address Book with databases that you can create
from your own data as well as data imported from other sources.
Bento is lightweight in its structure but heavyweight in its capabilities. Because it
builds on so many years’ (actually decades’) worth of experience with users and
their needs both at FileMaker and at Apple, it is responsive to the frequently
expressed needs and frustrations of people who need more organization than a
word processing document or spreadsheet can provide but less complexity than a
full-featured multiuser database might provide. Organization is the key to making
information usable. A few items that are organized (ideas, recipes, addresses, bills,
or shoes) can be more useful than a thousand items that are scattered around helter-
skelter with no organization scheme.
Released in beta in the fall of 2007 and in a final version in early winter 2008, Bento
caught on immediately. The response was positive both in reviews and in user
comments. Because the Bento team is so agile and also because its design is so
simple yet sophisticated, it was possible to produce a second version of the software
within a year.
The Bento team did not rest on their laurels. They continued to work hard, incorporating
new features as well as important advances elsewhere in Mac OS X and in
the world of computing. Hard on the heels of Bento 2, the team released the Bento
iPhone app (available for download from the iTunes App store). Together with
Bento 2.5, which was a free upgrade, the Bento iPhone App lets you carry your
Bento data around with you.