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Bento is a personal data organizer for Leopard that provides a place to store any information Mac users might want to collect, track, or connect. In Bento 2 Essential Training, database expert Cris Ippolite introduces the concept of databases to Bento users and demonstrates techniques for getting data into the application. He describes the features of Bento that allow Mac users to create libraries and Smart Collections for all sorts of information, and he shows how to use calculation and media fields. Exercise files accompany the course.
One of the new features in Bento 2 is the ability for you to exchange templates with other Bento users. The flip side of that means that if another Bento user gives you one of their templates you can then import that into your copy of Bento. What are some examples of when this might be useful? Well, if you've taken the time to create forms and define the fields inside of a library, and you want some other user to then take over the responsibility of managing that data, you can just possibly create a backup which we'll cover in the next chapter. And then give that to that user. The problem is if they restore a backup, they are going to lose all the data and all the libraries that they have created.
So if they happen to be an active Bento user, all you really want to transfer to them may just be some of your data. In that case, you could do an export of just data. But that will not contain a form that you've created and the layouts and the fields and such. So the answer to the third option there is if you want to export out both data and the look and feel that you have created inside of a form, it's a twofold approach. One of it involves exporting the data, which we talked about in the previous movies. But the second stage of that is going to be exporting out something that's called a Template. And in Bento 2, you now have the ability to export a template.
So the first thing that you are going to want to do is navigate to the library, and it's most likely going to be the library that maybe you have created on your own or you can choose one of your linked libraries and just pick one of the forms in one of the upcoming steps here. We'll choose Properties, and we'll go under the File menu, to Export. And you'll see that we have four Export options. These are formats for exporting data. Whatever, we are going to choose the last one, which is Create a Bento Template. And now what you'll notice here is that although we are exporting the Properties library, we see that we have a message that says Create a Library Template file that you or other Bento users can import to create another library just like it. So really what we are doing here is we're exporting out a library. But Bento has identified that in my case, I have created relationships or links between the Properties library and the iCal Events and iCal Tasks.
So if I have some fields on screen that contain related events and related tasks, and I want to import those over with the saved Template, I would want to check these. So I'll just go ahead and check those anyway but that's up to you whether or not you want that related information to be transferred over as well. We hit Next. We now see that we are going to choose a location for exporting the Template. And what's happened is Bento has now exported out a Template based on the library that we have chosen.
So now let's say we are another Bento user or let's say you are the Bento user that has received the Template from another co-worker or someone else who uses Bento. What you can do then is go under the File menu, but this time choose Import. And you'll see in Bento 2, you have the option for Template. We'll choose Template. If you navigate to wherever you just previously saved the Template for this exercise and select it, and hit Open. You'll see that a new library has been imported in to your database.
So now you see what you have done is basically imported in a library, or in Bento language we have imported in a Template. So what does that mean? Well, it means that we've been able to import in the Table View, Property Details, Overview, and Rental Activity, which are all forms that were created by this other user. Those are all saved. All the fields that have been defined including default fields or any fields that were created from scratch. All that information is defined, but what's missing here? What's missing is any data, so even though we've been able to import in their library, we would now have to go under File > Import, and we could then choose one of the data sources and import this information into Bento.
We covered this in the previous movie, but it's important that you know that you will have to not only bring in data, if you are sharing Templates but also the Template. So in a twofold approach, bring in the candy bar and the wrapper. You will end up being able to import in a full library without changing any of the settings or any of the libraries that you have already created in your own Bento database.
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