LISTENING to Leo Laporte's Tech Guy netcast today, I was reminded of a long-standing gripe when applications save data to places other than the Documents folder. Leo was talking about Windows at the time and he mentioned that there were still some badly behaved programs which save data to the Program folder. In Macspeak this would be the Applications folder and I have not come across any apps which insist on doing this.
But I have come across a number of applications which save their datafile to an Application Support folder inside the user Library folder. I don't like this and I prefer to have all my data stored somewhere easily accessible, usually in the Documents folder. Apart from other considerations, this also helps with backup since it is quick and easy to copy the Documents folder. The Library folder tends to be quite large and contains a lot of stuff that doesn't change daily.
Fortunately, in most cases you can simply move the datafile to a location of choice and it will be found there next time you load the program. Recently, I've taken to storing regularly accessed data in my Drobox folder on the desktop so it is accessible on any of my computers.
I do have one application, Bento from Filemaker, that does not allow a change of database location. Data is automatically saved to the Application Support folder and cannot be moved (at least, not without Bento refusing to find it afterwards).
In the early days of Bento, which is otherwise an excellent simplified database program, I took this up in the Filemaker forum. The problem was recognised but no solution was promised. So I was disappointed to find that the updated Bento 2 still insists on choosing a data location with no option for change.
As a result of this I am using Bento less and less and am gradually changing over my records to spreadsheet format in Numbers so that I can store the data in Dropbox. I've improved my efficiency as a result because I can view and adjust the data from any computer. I am still mystified why Bento, probably alone, stick to this unusual restriction.