Filemaker can do all you describe. I don't see a use for Bento in what you've posted.
The real question is: "Are you up to using filemaker". I don't know your past experience with databases or publishing to the web--except for your mention of PHP. I suggest you download the 30 day free trial and see what you can do with it. Feel free to post questions back here if you encounter issues.
When it comes to publishing filemaker to the Web, you can use PHP to do what is called a custom web published database so that's a definite possibility for you here. You may also want to investigate companies that will Host a filemaker web published database for you.
hi thanks for your reply, Phil.
I downloaded the trial a couple days ago and have already started constructing the database :) I found it very nice and easy to pick up :)
I have been using different layouts and buttons to jump between the layouts to create a simple to use system (is this how most people do it?). Also...is there a way you can hide menu options, etc so that other users just see the form or list view of the database...as well as the search bar....so they can just jump round like that editing or searching, etc as they go...(like in Microsoft Access)...and not have any other options to worry about apart from the ones I present to them?
After constructing the database do you think you could give me a brief outline of what I should do to get it open to the home and China offices. (or link me to somewhere that could tell me)? Forgetting my requirement of a website for a second...do I build the database on a main computer...and then when it is turned on...everyone can access that database on the network...and also anyone who I allow access to it in China? I'm not sure how this all pieces together.
Thank you very much for any help.
You can hide the grey status area that runs accross the screen. You'll find a manual control that brings it up or hides it in the bottom left corner, just to the left of the zoom controls. You can also use a script with the step Show/Hide Status area to hide this automatically and there's a "lock" option to prevent them from bringing it up if you want.
You can also limit what views (Form, list , table) may be selected for a given layout in layout setup...
To share a database over a network, you have two options: Filemaker clients connect to Filemaker or filemaker server hosted database or you "web publish" the database to the inter or intranet. Using filemaker clients is much easier to set up and you have many more options in how you can design the interface, but each user must have a copy of filemaker pro installed on their computer and the licensing scheme insures you have purchased either a volumne license or multiple copies. A "web published" database can be accessed via a web browser so client copies of filemaker aren't needed, but now the limitations of the browsers mean that you don't have all the same interface controls available to you as you do with filemaker clients.
You can research a lot of this for yourself if you look up filemaker and filemaker server products and read the product info sheets as well as the PDF files that should be accessible that describe how to publish a filemaker database to the web.