FileMaker announces new organizing application for Leopard

FileMaker, Inc. a company best known for the cross-platform database app, FileMaker Pro, has just released a public preview of Bento, their new personal database program for Leopard users -- which to quote the press release -- "[is] as easy to use as your Mac." The program, which is expected to ship early next year, is available as a free, full-functioning time-limited Preview (it expires in February) from FileMaker's site. The shipping version will be $49 for individual licenses and $99 for a family license. Bento is a Leopard-only application.

We got a chance to play around with Bento prior to today's public pre-release, and are really impressed with both the interface (which is very similar to iTunes and the rest of the iLife series) and the actual power of the program. Bento automatically links itself with iCal and Address Book (so a change made in Bento will show up in the corresponding applications, and vice versa), while also taking advantage of some of Leopard's new features, like being able to play a media file without having to open QuickTime or iTunes, from within the database. This is really helpful if trying to organize a multi-media project, because everything is accessible from one place, and the files can be quickly viewed or opened on the spot.

Bento is also very customizable, both in Library types and in overall appearance. FileMaker provides 20 different "themes" that can be applied to a Library or Collection, and they look very, very Mac, which is to say aesthetically pleasing. Our pals over at TUAW have also previewed Bento, and provide some great screenshots of the program itself and some thoughts on the application as a whole.

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