There are specialy trained people working to set up databases for very expensive systems to control billion dollar company’s books and finances. And, there are databases to tracking what a person sold at a garage sale. FileMaker Pro has long been known as a very capable database for both individuals and companies. We have found it pretty easy to use so it is the backbone to several of our products.
The same group that created FileMaker Pro has a lighter database system available to use on your notebook or desktop called Bento. Most of the early marketing around Bento was explaining how easy it was to set up a database to tie the many contacts and their relative information together. Over time, people have been developing templates that drop right into Bento to do just about anything you can imagine where you want to collect, associate or store information.
We have enjoyed using Bento on the iPhone for more than a year to collect information… now, with the new iPad version we have kicked up our usage quite a bit. Creating databases on our desktops, syncing those to our iPads, collecting data and returning the information back to the desktop. If something isn’t exactly right with the set up database interface on the iPad, we can tune at anytime and that flows back to the desktop version.
You do not really ‘need’ a desktop version if your collecting data for yourself or want to export rather than sync to a common UI on your computer.
FileMaker announced this week that they have a new bundle of templates specific to students – for free. The Free part isn’t really ‘news’ as most templates on their site have been posted by folks all around the world to share for no charge. The special part of the bundle is just that, it is a group of handy templates that a iPad user might really find useful when in school.
“There are 5 pre-designed, ready-to-use templates to organize your lecture notes, group projects, special events, classes, and job searching.”
All of these templates work on the desktop and iPad versions of Bento:
The regular version of Bento allows a user to customize any of the fields and options to best match their needs. Below is the view of the same data entry screen for the iPad that is shown above for the desktop.
Tapping any field will activate the entry box next to it to allow a entry to be put in. Pull downs open a window below them of choices to select.
To add another page of data, tap the ‘+’ at the top of the screen. Or, by tapping the ‘pencil’ next to the ‘+’ puts the page in set up mode. Here you can use the ‘x’ to remove that entry field or choose the ‘New Field’ to create an addition data entry area. To the right of the entry fields is a ‘i’ that when selected will open a box to name that particular field. The ‘bullet’ to the right of that will send the field up to the holding area so that you can have it for later use or to adjust the order. This screen can be longer than the view as it can be scrolled up and down. Tapping ‘Done’ will save the changes.
Other databases on your iPad are reached through the ‘Libraries’ button. The menu of databases shown here is of the ones that come with the iPad Bento app, several downloaded for free from the FileMaker site and the Student Bundle.
If you choose to sync your databases between the iPad Bento and the desktop versions of Bento, you do this through your local Wifi network and directly between the apps. You do not have to go through iTunes. When syncing, you have the option to choose all or particular databases you wish to choose. Making it great for using one iPad for home and work where you can sync different databases depending on where you are.