I used AW database for creating language dictionaries when learning a language. Each post had the foreign and the native langue in singular, plural, and with the article. The posts could be shown alone on a page, all one after each other on one or more pages. The last is what lacks in Bento for me.
Bento is a very simple and inflexible database program: its main advantages are close integration with Address Book and a pretty interface; but its reports aren't very customisable and it lacks the more advanced capabilities of the AW database (which is actually extremely powerful if you dig into it a bit).
If you are only making simple databases - a list of CDs, for example - then Bento should be fine. If you want to produce customised reports and formatting, have complex calculation fields, or carry out automated processes, then it won't suit you and Filemaker Pro is really the only satisfactory replacement.
As you are able to experiment with Bento you can judge whether it will do what you want - if it does then you can always move up to FileMaker Pro if required at some future point.
The reasons I won't use Bento. Granted, I haven't even looked at a new version for a couple of years.
- It saves everything in a single file somewhere in your user library. You can export a single Bento "library" as text but to share it you also have to share the template for the recipient to put back together. And even sharing with another Mac of your own is not easy.
- There really isn't a way to share individual "libraries" (I certainly wouldn't call them database files) with anyone else except as above.
- With Bento 2 they made a big "to-do" about being able to import AppleWorks files. Sure, as long as you still have AppleWorks to export whatever data you have as plain text & then import it THEN recreate any layouts, calculations, etc.
- It gets all of its calendar & address data from iCal & Address Book. Tough if you actually want to create separate files of addresses/contact that you don't want to put into Address Book. I do use Address Book to integrate with Mail, but I don't want all of my family, friends, church members, business contacts, etc. in Address Book if I don't send them e-mails. They did finally add the ability to link from one entry to another, say a parent & child or spouses.
Thanks to everyone who replied. Having done some more research and using the information you provided, I can see that AW is superior to Bento especially in the areas of reports and layouts and calculation fields. Fortunately Bento seems to do all I need, so for me the choice is easy. I had a look at the Filemaker trial and can see a lot of similarities with AW, but I do not need that level of functionality myself.