Bento for iPad is a sister database application for the iOS world of Bento Mac. The Bento app comes from FileMaker which is owned by Apple. So you can expect to have a good quality application that looks good and works well. The Bento app is inexpensive, available either for the iPad or for the Mac and what I like about it is that you can put it to work for a number of different purposes. Instead of buying a specialist database app for this purpose and then another specialist database for another purpose, you could just buy Bento and it will do all you need. it is one of the best iPad apps for business.
What can you do with Bento?
Bento will link up to your contact database on your iPhone or iPad or iPod Touch and you can also use it to keep a track of your projects. A suggestion that Bento makes, is that you can use Bento to plan events. There is an unending list of possible uses for Bento databases within a business. You can use it as a way to list products you have for sale and items sold. It will also be good to use as your customer database.
If you run any sort of club then you might want to have a membership list. As a teacher you might use it to be the database for your student lists, or for keeping track of your classes. For your own personal use you might use it to record maintenance on your vehicle, have it as you exercise log, if you are into keeping fit. You could also use it for tracking expenses or for keeping an inventory of items in your home. You will find a load ready-made templates to help you get started with this.
To make it easy for you to get started with Bento there are a number of templates that are already included when you buy the application. You get 25 predesigned templates that you can use in various situations, such as databases for the home, business, or within your community and also databases that you might use in a school situation. There is even a template for To Do Items. From the FileMaker Bento web pages you can also browse real-world templates, many of which have been uploaded by other Bento users. This is the Bento Template Exchange and the categories cover such areas as finance, health and fitness, music and movies, sports and time management. These templates are available in a number of languages and in the template search on the site at the moment I can see that there is 1078 template available in all languages and that 530 of those are available in English. what is Bento and what can you do with it.
If you are a student you might grab the Student Survival Kit template which is a Bento 3 template. Within that kit you will find five ready to use templates that will have you totally organised for your lecture notes, special events, classes and even for group projects. There is no charge for these templates you may download them at will.
When you are doing your Bento template search you can specify if you want to look at just the templates that are optimised for the latest Bento which is Bento 4. There are 110 templates that you can choose from and of those you might choose to have the Bento label kit – UK edition. If you have a need to print mailing labels, name badges or price stickers or even labels for folders then this could be the right template for you. You can even print labels with barcodes or price tags for products that you sell.
Syncing templates to your iPhone or Bento for iPad
There is a new Bento 4 feature which allows you to include voice memos. This is a super way to go and to audibly have important reminders within Bento 4. You can sync a template from Bento on your Mac to Bento iPad. I have just downloaded this template and it downloaded very quickly as a zip file. I unzipped the file, I had to make a note of the filename when it came in, because it just had a number for the filename and nothing to identify it, otherwise. I double clicked on the template and it opened up Bento for me on my Mac and went straight into the voice memos template. At first sight it looks like I have to record the audio in another application and save the file and then I can drop the media into the voice memo drop zone in the Bento form.
Your database in Bento is called a Library and you access your libraries by tapping on the Libraries button in the top left corner. If you look down your list you will see to the right an icon which gives you access to your collections. A collection is a subset of the database library. To create a new library tap on the plus button and then you can choose from your templates. You can scroll through your templates in the album cover style viewer and then tap on the button Create Library. You have a good range of templates on the iPad to choose from, including recipes, event planning and issue tracking.
I like the way that Bento hooks into your address book on the iPad and also links into your iCal. You can add a record to the database in the address book library and it will also appear in your address book application on your iPad. The data goes in both directions.
So you may create a new database library within Bento iPad and of course you can create most of the fields required for a new database on your iPad. You get 17 of the 23 field types available in Bento on the iPad. You don’t get the simple list, file list, or message list field types or the encrypted file field type, that you get on the Mac version of Bento.
Alternatives to Bento for iPad
You could of course, just buy specialised database applications to suit specific purposes such as a shopping list database, a CD or DVD database or an art database. There are also other non specific database applications some of which are full database apps and some of which are just clients for databases that are set up on desktop computers. There is one app could HandDbase, another called Cellica database, there is Dbase for iPad and Tap Forms HD Database for iPad. I tried one called AirForms on the iPad and to make it work you set up your database in a web browser on your laptop or desktop computer. You can get a trial version of Bento from the Bento Shop online and I think if you give it a try, you might like it. I would have Bento in my top ten iPod Apps list.
What is Bento and what can you do with Bento templates?
There are address book templates that you can use with Bento 2 or which ever version you are using, or you can use Bento without templates. Bento will work great on iPad and iPad 2. I use it to keep a record of attendance with my English classes. As well as the templates you also have the iPad bento mailing labels that can be handy if you have to print labels out. Run Bento on iPad and iPod if you need to have a small screen version of the Apple database. Now you know what is Bento and what you could do with it..