8 Replies Latest reply on Aug 4, 2013 6:19 PM by vedaveda

    Migrating Bento's Simple List to FileMaker Pro



      Migrating Bento's Simple List to FileMaker Pro



           Hi everyone,


           I just finished a database made with Bento used for real estate properties. When I heard about the fate of Bento I decided to give FileMaker Pro a try. I used "Bento 4 to FileMaker Pro Migration Tool" to recreate my database into FileMaker Pro with partial success. I had to fiddle and learn new stuff to get it look and work well. I am finding it quite challenging as I am not very database and technical savvy. 


           One thing I found very useful in Bento that I could not recreate in FMP is a "Simple List", a spreadsheet like table I made to keep track of annual tax payments with "year " as primary field (see attached picture). Here is what I would like to have in each record:


           Fields: Year, Amount, Paid/Not Paid (with check box), Payment Date, Transaction #


           It would ideally done with:


           A list with repeatable fields laid out horizontally (as in picture)

           Every year listed vertically.

           Vertically sorted "Ascending" or "Descending" (wish to keep latest year on top)

           Should be searchable according to Year and Paid/Not Paid, Transaction #


           I hope it makes some sense. Is this something that could be done fairly easily?


           I would highly appreciate any input!


        • 1. Re: Migrating Bento's Simple List to FileMaker Pro
          Markus Schneider

               You might try 'table view' - besides of the 'list-view', where You have to create the layout manually to fit Your needs. There are buttons on the top of a layout to select 'form-view', 'list-view, 'table-view'

          • 2. Re: Migrating Bento's Simple List to FileMaker Pro

                 Thanks for the suggestion. I don't know how "table view" would help. Each record contains various information on a property such as address, description, etc... The tax table would be one piece of information. The tax table would contain repeating fields to keep track of tax payment information over the years for each property. I am confused on how to acheive this.

            • 3. Re: Migrating Bento's Simple List to FileMaker Pro
              Markus Schneider

                   so, taxes are related to adresses? Sorry, I don't know bento much... but if You have the taxes-table inside of an address-record, then (in FileMaker) it's called a portal, showing the corresponding tax-records for the current address. There are several methods to sort portals, a portal can look like a spreadsheet.

                   Before You can insert a portal, a relation has to be defined between addresses and taxes

              • 4. Re: Migrating Bento's Simple List to FileMaker Pro

                     Do I need to create a new table (Taxes) to define the relationship? If so, how do I create the yearly tax records (as shown in the picture) in this table? And then, how do I define the relationship? Sorry, this may be too much too ask but the concept is really streching my mind.

                • 5. Re: Migrating Bento's Simple List to FileMaker Pro
                  Markus Schneider

                       I installed Bento just to check this out...

                       I have a copy of bento because I had to migrate some bento-solutions a while ago - at that time, no extra migrating-tool was available. The bento-solutions didn't have 'simple-lists' (but related records).

                       I think that it's time that somebody from the TS-stuff chimes in here...


                       During migration, bento-simple-list fields are imported as single repeating-fields, each colum turns into a seperate field that is not placed into a FileMaker layout (one can manually add and format those fields, though).

                       It is easy to get a separate table that shows up similar to the 'bento-way' - but without experience in FileMaker (bento-users are bento-users - not FileMaker Pro's...), it's a bit more complicated. Without a separate table, sorting would be tricky. Besides of this, in FileMaker, repeating fields should not be used for 'user-data' IMHO...

                       simple 'cookbook' for getting repeating-fields into a separate table (always: make sure that there is a backup...) - several other ways possible!

                  •           migrate the bento-db into FileMaker (FM)
                  •           make sure, that in FM is one field that is unique (ie serial-no). Can be created in FM if not already present. (populate that field!)
                  •           create a clone of the FM-db
                  •           import the list-fields together with the unique-field into the clone -> choose 'import in sperate fields' for the repeating fields!!
                  •           rename the clone that 'its name fits its contents'
                  •           non-list fields can be deleted (but keep the unique field!)
                  •           open the migrated FM db and import the db that you created from the clone into a _new_ table
                  •           'connect' both tables using the unique field, make sure that the creation of records is allowed in the 'list-field-table'
                  •           add a portal from the related, newly created table in Your layout, add the desired list fields into the portal
                  •           define the sort order in the portal settings
                  •           voila!

                       as mentioned before: Easy for FileMaker users - and there are several other methods to get Your data into a separate table...

                       since I'm not using the english version of FM, I'm not sure if the import-option is called 'import in separate fields' - but the option should be clear...

                       And: I agree - it's not the perfect way to get Your data from bento into FileMaker. Not just the simple list - related information won't be there as well...


                       hth, anyways...

                  • 6. Re: Migrating Bento's Simple List to FileMaker Pro
                    Markus Schneider

                         arghh... this fourm-software... I created a list for the cookbook - but i'ts not visible. therefore it's readability is bad.. sorry (in edit-mode, the list is still there..)

                         btw. FileMaker: Wouldn't it  be time to create a forum where iPad users are able to write? :-)

                         (it took me an hour to write the posting above, changes are a mess when writing on an iPad...)

                    • 7. Re: Migrating Bento's Simple List to FileMaker Pro


                           Markus, I really appreciate the time and effort your are putting into these posts. I find it quite remarkable, especially if English is not your mother tongue. By the way, English is not my first language but I usually use software in English. It makes it easier to find information and support.

                           I tried to follow your "recipe" but could not get through. You lost me with "import the list-fields together with the unique-field into the clone -> choose 'import in sperate fields' for the repeating fields!!"  I looked everywhere but couldn't find a way to import/export fields, only data. I use FMP Advance 12 on Mac OS 10.8.4. I also tried to re-create these fields manually but couldn't make sense of them.


                           In any case, I wonder if it wouldn't be easier to built this part from scratch in the best possible manner. The Bento version hasn't been implemented yet. I don't need to worry about data at this point. I wanted to convert to FMP before implementation. I am happy with most of the conversion so far. The only part missing is a way to keep track of "yearly tax information" (such as: year, amount, paid/unpaid, payment date, transaction reference) in a searchable list for each property. My understanding is that "repeating fields" would not be a good solution.


                           There are only 2 tables and one relationship at this point, one for "general information" and one for "payment contact information". Each record (property) in the "general" table has a unique ID number (Auto- enter Serial). The "payment contact information" relationship is defined by the name of the city. 


                           I wish to grab the concept. How would I create this list for "yearly tax information"? In a new table then displayed in a portal in the table "general"? How would the relationship be defined? Is this option possible?

                      • 8. Re: Migrating Bento's Simple List to FileMaker Pro

                             I finally figured it out. I created the fields in a new table and displayed them in a portal as suggested in a previous post. The relationship is defined by the ID number. It's simpler than I had imagined and it seems to do all I want. 

                             Love FMP :-) Thanks Markus for enlivening the brain storming!