A couple of weeks ago, FileMaker announced that they are discontinuing Bento, but we were not surprised at all. The last Bento update available on the Mac App Store goes even back to October 2012, and it was obvious that the app was going to disappear, sooner or later.
Even if Bento is the closest competitor of Records, we are not here for self-celebration. What Bento leaves behind are 20 employees and thousands of users, and this is more important than the "space left" in the market for Records and other similar apps.
More than ever, we now feel that it's extremely important to provide a new experience in terms of "personal databases" on the Mac, even for those coming from Bento and searching for alternatives.
To make the transition from Bento to Records the most painless we can, we are planning specific features that will possibly ship with the first commercial release of Records.
As always, keep following the project for further updates.
Here at Push Popcorn, we really love simplicity.
We work and organize our job in order to keep things simple. We focus on the product to make it simple and easy to use for our users.
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." - Leonardo Da Vinci
We are living in a world where "simple" is like a magic word: it seems that a product must be simple to be truly understood and loved by users. It's definitely true but, what really is simplicity?
Sometimes we get confused by apps that look simple, act simple, but they are, to tell the truth, just trivial. An app with just a couple of features, only able to achieve one or two tasks, is it really simple or just dumb?
Simplicity becomes a real virtue when the product isn't simple itself, but it is easy to understand and simple to use.
Developing Records is not easy; when you have to handle many different variables, pieces of information, and combine anything into a robust and stable database, you are definitely building a complex product.
And you are even raising the bar when you add features like the selective iCloud sync that has never been done before and you have to make it simple to understand and to use.
Apple is one of the greatest in doing this. Any product, both hardware and software, developed by Apple, is almost a perfect alchemy of complexity made simple.
Think of apps like Automator that tries to help you automate common tasks in a new, incredibly easy, fashion. You are basically developing a script, without coding and with an extremely intuitive UI.
Automator is simple, if you consider simplicity a layer over complexity, a convenient way to decode complexity.
"Simplicity is not about making something without ornament, but rather about making something very complex, then slicing elements away, until you reveal the very essence." - Christoph Niemann
What we are trying to do everyday with Records is to create a complex product, worth several months of development, and yet make it easy to use. Basically, we are improving the User Experience, without compromises on features and functionalities.
Records will be powerful and truly complete from the first release.
Still simple and intuitive: that's our recipe of alchemy.
It's been a long time since we published something here. Once we started this blog, our aim was to keep it updated with weekly posts about Records development but, you know, developing great software it's pretty hard and, sometimes, we don't have enough time or any special news to share with you.
But Records becomes, everyday, closer to its first release.
Andrea, as I told you before, is working full-time to speed up the development and he tries to share with me, via iMessage (or iChat for nostalgic people like me), all the news about our little creature. I'm not a developer, so it's hard for me to understand all his "tech-language", but I've been among the firsts to try Records, and I can tell you it's great.
I think that Andrea agrees with me if I say that we are really close to a 50%-60% of development.
We are not a company yet, but just two guys in love with Macs and Mac apps, so our daily life is pretty different from what you could expect. Andrea works from home, chatting with me during the morning, while I'm at the office (my primary job for now). He spends his whole day developing Records in Xcode and asking me tricky questions about it: "What if a user syncs a databases on iCloud, and then removes it and than changes his account and then...". We are really trying to consider all the hypothesis to make Records stable and "bulletproof".
We usually have dinner together once a week to share ideas and discuss about the project. We are also trying to plan a full-immersion week-end twice a month to really work together on the project. It's hard but definitely worth it.
When it's "design-time" Andrea protypes new buttons and UI details in Sketch and, in brainstorming mode, we discuss about it. It's always great to share ideas and find new, incredible, solutions.
New builds are uploaded on our shared folder on Dropbox and I try them as soon as possible. Andrea keeps track of bugs and features directly in GitHub and we both use Things to annotate to-dos (blog posts that must be written - like this one, ideas and features that rock, deadlines and so on). Oh, and we never forget our notebook to sketch UI elements "on-the-go".
Records is a complex app and we both are perfectionist: so we are working everyday to make it the most incredible Mac app we could develop. However, we still have some months of development in front of us before we could release a Beta version. So, keep following us and supporting our project as you always do.
Your love is our engine.
Imagine this: you are going to use Records for creating your databases and store all the information you need, both for your job and personal use. Let's say that you could catalogue your entire DVD library (with covers and ratings) and the list of your customers in two separate databases, but all in one single app.
If you use two Macs and want to sync all your databases between them, we introduced iCloud support: just enable it and let iCloud do the rest. But what if you don't want to sync all your databases? When you're on the go, you could be not interested in accessing your DVD database, but you may always need your customer list, to keep track of your business.
That's why we introduced the Selective iCloud Sync: with Records you will be able to choose which databases you would like to sync through iCloud to all your Macs. Moving a database from your hard drive to iCloud and vice versa is pretty easy, just a click away. And, if you want, you will always be able to sync all your databases in a snap, without having to choose.