Minggu, 17 Mei 2009

With its tiny keyboard, the iPhone might not seem like the best platform for building a database. But FileMaker says it has found a way to exploit the iPhone's interface, multi-touch gestures and Wi-Fi capabilities to make Bento for the iPhone as useful as its desktop counterpart. The result is an app that has many, but not all of the capabilities of its full-sized sibling.

Users of Bento 2 for Mac will recognize the basic elements of the database, which was first introduced last year as a consumer-level alternative to FileMaker Pro. The iPhone app comes with the same 25 templates as the desktop version, including ones for event planning, time billing, recipes and home inventory. iPhone contacts are loaded into the app automatically, but unlike the Bento 2 desktop client, iCal events and tasks are not supported.

Since FileMaker is owned by Apple, it's no surprise that the mobile Bento interface borrows from other apps included by default on an iPhone. Users will recognize several multi-touch tropes, such as the slot machine-style scroll wheels from Calendar, used to select dates. There is a touch of iTunes as well, in the form of Cover Flow-style menus. The app also makes use of touch-dialing commands.

Bento for the iPhone works with or without the desktop version, but the ability to sync with Bento 2 allows users to enter long strings of data on their Macs instead of using the more cumbersome iPhone keypad. Syncing also extends the reach of the desktop software, since iPhones can be used to take pictures or enter data in the field.

Some data can be synced to the iPhone to view, but not edited. This includes calculation fields, certain related records fields, and movie or sound files under 10MB in size. Some types of Bento content do not work at all with the app, including iCal material, file list fields, automatic counter fields, message list fields and smart collections. FileMaker mentions that the app includes an "iTunes-style search field," but it does not sport an Advanced Find feature, like the desktop version.

The company has


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