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Apple Bento: The new personal database for Macs February 10, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Apple, Information Technology, Japan, Mac, Microsoft, Software, Technology, Windows/Microsoft.

Japanese bentoYup, Apple is finally shipping a database for the rest of us. Yesterday they released a new product called Bento by FileMaker.

As you may know, FileMaker is an Apple company that provides database software designed for small to medium sized businesses. Now, they are selling a new $50 database product for individuals who want to track collections of things or just plan a party.

This product fills a whole in Microsoft’s offering as Office for Mac doesn’t include database software. Now, Mac users have a database program that will fill that need. I wonder how well it integrates with Microsoft Word or Excel.

By the way, did you know that “bento” means “lunch box” in Japanese? It does.

I haven’t installed the demo yet, but I will do it this week and let you know what I what I find out about integration with Microsoft’s office software.



1. courtney benson - February 10, 2008

Great idea and wish Microsoft had something. Yes, I did know that “bento” means “lunch box” in Japanese cause I Love Japanese food. Thanks for the Apple update!

2. technology » Blog Archive » Apple Bento: The new personal database for Macs - February 10, 2008

[…] Read the rest of this great post here […]

3. sketchycharacters - February 10, 2008

I work on a mac at my internship and noticed it on the desktop and was curious. Thanks for the info.

And yes, I knew the translation of Bento because my mom and grandma used to make them in the traditional way for my school lunches when I was a kid.

4. Jack - February 10, 2008

I just bought it and am already using it, just started. Already I find it MUCH easier than FileMakerPro, a program I never became comfortable with after decades of trying. I am thinking this program is going to fill an great VOID, and I am thinking of all sorts of ways of using it at work and at home. One thing that really killed me though was getting the “download” version: be prepared, they make you wait 60 minutes to give you the link to download the software!! What are they doing for SIXTY MINUTES???? Looking up your life history? This is sheer lunacy and nearly destroyed my enthusiasm for a new Apple application. I have since recovered, but if this is a sign of things to come at Apple, it SCARES ME. Apple, don’t scare me, i got enough of that from Microsoft for so many years. Speaking of which i am proud to be Microsoft Free after the release of iWork’08. Never going back.

5. Ian Goss - February 11, 2008


Nod to Get Smart… (Google “craw” and Maxwell Smart).

6. Didier Daglinckx - February 11, 2008


Filaamker is releasing Bento and Filemaker is not Apple even if it’s owned by Apple.

But you are right, waiting one hour for a download link is way to much.

I hope that you are enjoying your Bento !

7. thalex - February 11, 2008
8. Moose - February 12, 2008

Have you looked at

SQL Server Express


SQL Server 2005 Express Edition is the next version of MSDE and is a free, easy-to-use, lightweight, and embeddable version of SQL Server 2005.

Free to download, free to redistribute, free to embed, and easy for new developers to use immediately, a simple but powerful development environment for building data-driven applications. Easily manage your database with SQL Server 2005 Management Studio Express.

9. Matsu - February 12, 2008

Moose — No, I have not seen the new SQL Server Express database from Microsoft. I just looked at the specs online, but I couldn’t find anything about Mac OS X support. It is my guess that M’sfot SQL Server Express only works on Windows based computers, not Macs (though I couldn’t confirm this from their online documentation).

One of the important benefits of the Bento database is that it runs on a Mac. I realize that FileMaker makes cross-platform products (supporting both Mac OS and Windows OS), but that has not been the case with Microsoft’s database products.

Another advantage of Bento over other database products is the focus on end-users using it, not software or database programmers. FileMaker intentionally avoids programmer terms in their product. I noticed that Microsoft expects database developers to use their free SQL product. Here’s what Microsoft said about their software:

“SQL Server Express helps developers build robust and reliable applications. Too often database systems are overly complex for building simple applications. Microsoft Visual Studio® 2005 and SQL Server Express reduce this complexity by providing a simple but powerful development environment for building data-driven applications. Developers can design schemas, add data, and query local databases, all inside the Visual Studio 2005 environment. If developers need more advanced database features, then SQL Server Express can be seamlessly upgraded to more sophisticated versions of SQL Server.”

I think that you won’t find the word “schema” anywhere in the FileMaker Bento product because it’s not made for the developer, it’s made for the average non-developer user. But, that’s just my observation.

10. David Pitts - February 14, 2008

My apologies. You are correct it is a MS product and only works on other MS products. Sigh…

11. Ruth - February 14, 2008

Well, I really have no idea what any of this means and the comments are completely lost on me too, but just wanted to say that that is one delicious-looking bento.

12. Matsu - February 15, 2008

Ruth – Out of all of the readers I think you are the only one that fully recognized the culinary appeal of the bento database. My guess is that you would like some java to go with it. I’ve heard there is nothing better than Internet Java. (grin)

13. Scott - May 27, 2008

I was looking for an easy to use database on mac (something to fill the hole of not having MS Access natively on the Mac… while I was at the Apple store, I tried Bento and File Maker Pro (both loaded on demo mac’s). Here is what I am sad to say…. File Maker Pro which sells for almost double the price is lacking as compared to Bento when it comes to simplicity. File Maker pro does not allow you to add fields to the file, on the fly (Bento you just add them in as you need them). Even the Apple Rep had a hard time demo’ing File Maker Pro, but he just flew around Bento.

Unfortunately the rep could not tell me if Bento supported linking between tables, SQL or how the reporting functionality worked (ie can I define custom reports).

But as a fillin app that is missing in iWork, and something to quickly build databases this will fill my gap (and the price of $50 was pretty cool too).

Based on my playing around and my needs. I bought Bento. I then began to google and found that you can link tables, and create some custom reporting – there has been many articles and forums published – but you will have to search for your specific needs)

This is a nice app and like MS access, importing and exporting to other apps by means of a CSV (comma delimited file) works wonders.

well, now I can ditch MS access and use Bento for my small quick data-bases. I was using MS Access, but I have had major issues with compatibility with other Access users, even if they were on the same version – seems depending on when you bought office you may be lacking some functionality and thus Access is not even truely compatible with itself.

If anyone is looking for an easy database on the Mac and does not want to run MS-Access (due to the need of having windows), I suggest looking at Bento.

14. James - August 18, 2008

Can you open MS Access files with Bento?

15. Andreas Herz - April 1, 2010


you can use http://www.verside.org if you need an online
version of Bento.



16. Achim - April 30, 2010


oooh – verside looks greate. Windows, Linux, OSX – everything I need.
Bento for Web *happy*

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