FileMaker has introduced a public preview of its new personal databasing system for Leopard, Bento.

The software has been developed as an easy-to-use accompaniment to Leopard. As the company explains it, Bento is: "Designed to help Mac users organise their lives by giving them one place to put their important information, from contacts and calendars to projects and events."

Bento automatically displays contacts and calendars kept within Address Book and iCal. There's no need to re-enter existing names, phone numbers, email addresses and upcoming events into the application, it draws on existing information.

“Bento is the personal database for the millions of Mac users who appreciate the elegance and ease of use of their Mac,” said FileMaker president Dominique Goupil. “With Bento, we are providing an incredibly easy way to manage all your information - iCal calendar events, Address Book contacts, digital media and files - all in one place, effortlessly.”

The software features built-in links to Address Book and iCal, which also lets users share their date over the web with .Mac or access their Bento database from an iPhone.

Bento users can organise contacts, calendars, photos and files so they can easily do the following and more:

- Manage huge collections of contacts;
- Coordinate events and prioritise tasks;
- Track projects, assignments and deadlines;
- Connect related information together;
- Record hours worked and payments due;
- Create libraries for music, movies and other media;
- Store files and photos in relation to projects and events.

Additional features include 20 ready-to-use templates with elegant themes for databasing, iTunes-like search, drag-&-drop support, the capability to import and export data to/from Excel, Numbers or any CSV-compatible application.

The software also integrates numerous features designed to exploit new under-the-hood abilities inherent in Apple's latest OS: Media Manager lets users store and change images in Bento fields and Advanced Find, which re-uses the “Advanced Find” module from Leopard’s Finder for pinpointing specific information within the database.

Bento is designed to run exclusively on Mac OS X v.10.5 Leopard. A free time-limited public preview is available now with the final full product expected to debut in January 2008.