My question arises because of the recent announcement http://tidbits.com/article/13978 that Bento will no longer be supported.
I have used both DTP and Bento for a number of years. I have used Bento for data requiring more structure including relations between records. For instance I have used Bento to keep track of my workouts with a general record for the daily workout (date, type of workout, …) and the related data contains each set of reps (exercise, weight, number of reps.) This means I only need to enter the general record data once and all of the related exercises appear below this data in a spreadsheet fashion.
Is there an easy way to replicate this level of structure in Bento? I know that relations do not exist in the freeform DTP, but can they be implemented via some other methodology, e.g. tags, sheets?
Appreciate any advice.
The answer of course is “it depends” – are the different record types in different Bento libraries, or are they merely views into the same Bento table? Is the structure meant to make analysis easier? Or just to make data entry easier? Do you need to have charts or other reports?
I suspect you might be frustrated with DEVONthink’s sheets – links are not possible, managing rows and columns is cumbersome, and sheets are not spreadsheet quality. But, sheets are not meant to be anything other than a simple tabular representation of data. Could Excel or Numbers (or even Google docs, which are viewable as web pages in DEVONthink) be a substitute for Bento? One tab in a workbook could be the master record and other tab(s) for the details.
Tags might help, but you’ve described a mixture of attributes (properties) and values of those properties. Tags will work well for attributes, and not so well for specific values – you might wind up with a large number of tags amorphously organized.
In order to preserve your history, it’s possible to get a FileMaker trial, move the data from Bento to FileMaker, use the trial version to create and export whatever historical reports and analyses you’ll need in the future, store them in DEVONthink, and then get rid of the trial copy of FileMaker. The Bento to FileMaker migration tool (here) seems to be pretty good – at least for the few Bento libraries I’ve tested it on.
I use FileMaker in addition to Bento, so Bento’s demise is unfortunate but not damaging to my work. But if I didn’t own FileMaker I’d be searching for a relational DB for my more complex sets of Bento data and not even considering DEVONthink as a replacement.
[quote=“korm” I suspect you might be frustrated with DEVONthink’s sheets – links are not possible, managing rows and columns is cumbersome, and sheets are not spreadsheet quality. But, sheets are not meant to be anything other than a simple tabular representation of data. Could Excel or Numbers (or even Google docs, which are viewable as web pages in DEVONthink) be a substitute for Bento? One tab in a workbook could be the master record and other tab(s) for the details.[/quote]
Korm, thanks for the reply and suggestions. Moving from Bento to DTP is more problematic than I had at first suspected. As you point out sheets are not very friendly as one cannot actually import data into them or even paste data across multiple records. And I have thousands of records! My relational data all contains the date of creation, so I may be able to place it in spreadsheets as you suggest and filter accordingly.
I also have some simpler databases that are difficult to import. I have a library of 6000 books, pdf, txt, doc, epub, etc. I have decided to just index these as I really only want to track author and title. I will figure out another path for the epubs. I may take a hit in usability but, anything is better than learning SQL!
Actually I have been teaching myself some SQL ths past week and it’s very cool!
Filemaker’s Developer Conference is on Aug 12. Their regular version is far to expensive and over kill for Bento type uses. I pray they announce a Filemaker Lite. You could import your Bento database into this.