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There have a been a number of Forum posts about the severing of the synchronization of contacts between Bento 4 and the iPad Contact List. I'm certainly hesitant to start yet another. But this one is related to the practical application of the synchronization andan example of the impact of the lack thereof.
I've been exploring Bento 4 for my ongoing use. There are some really nice aspects to the new release. But from what I have discovered so far, the lack of access to an always current contact list will essentially cause me either to stick with the previous version -- not a solution I relish, since support will eventually be discontinued and there will be no enhancements -- or just go ahead and abandon Bento altogether now and find another solution -- also an approach I don't relish since the current release of Bento is so easy to use.
But before I choose one or the other, I want to make sure I have not missed something.
Here's how I use Bento. I manage a large number of Projects -- several hundred at a time -- across multiple organizations. Some professionally as part of my paid job, and many others personally as a volunteer for various organizations. As it stands right now Bento is key to my always having the latest project status at my fingertips.
It's pretty straightforward design with Bento:
- Each org's projects are in a separate Library
- Each Library has a form with the fields applicable for that org's projects
- Collections are used for large bucket "rollup" status values (that I want standard across every project) -- each project may have a unique status (from a drop down list), but 5 values on that list may roll-up to the same large bucket status.
And EVERY library has several Related Data fields - one for the project PM, one for core team members, one for project decision makers.
The Related Data field is linked to a Contact GROUP (which is represented as a Collection in the Bento 1 Address Book Library.) And thus the contacts linked to a project for Org#1 can only be drawn from the Contact List Group (aka Bento Address Book Collection) for ORG1. And in some cases that list is so large for some of my orgs, that I may have three groups ORG1-PM, ORG1-Core, and ORG1-DM -- just to reduce the selection list. But this way the names are standardized. And when I'm reviewing projects individually with the team I have the key contact details for all team members at my finger tips for easy access - e.g., to call or email or text one who is not currently at the project review.
I'm trying to figure out how I replicate this in Bento 4.
Contacts get to my contact list typically from an email -- I receive an email on a new project with all the members identified and add the contacts from the header of the email to my contact list -- sometimes on my iPad, sometimes on my GMAIL account on a PC in a web browser, and sometimes on my Android phone. It doesn't much matter -- whereever I happen to see the email first. My contact list is sync'd across all of these environments via Google Contacts.
Manual updates of a Bento Address Book Library is NOT an option. In fact manual maintenance of any other separate address book/contact list is a non-starter from my perspective.
Free form data entry of names in these fields is NOT an option.
Are there any other alternatives?
I really need some way in Bento 4 of accessing the current Contact List on the iPad. Bento 1 provided that.
One idea (not currently implemented as far as I can tell) would be for Bento 4 to implement a special field that works like the "Related Data" field type in terms of accessing another data source and storing multiple entries. It could be a field type of "IOS Contact", or something similar, and be linked directly to the IOS Contact List with the Contact GROUP assignments treated as collections in Bento 4. That way IOS handles the contact sync and Bento just uses the list. And in Bento 4 I could use this IOS Contact field type and link it either to the entire IOS Contact Library (a "special, named external to Bento" Bento Library or a Collection within that Library (since Bento would be treating contact groups as collections).
I'm finding it really difficult to believe that the folks at Filemaker stripped Bento 4 of all access to the current iPad Contact list entirely. That just represents (to me at least) such a huge loss of functionality & integration...
Any other ideas, suggestions, etc. would be very welcome!
Thanks in advance!