I bought Sente when it was in version 5, mostly because it was the first bibliography software to add support for iWork Pages documents. (That is no longer a selling feature, since the competition does now too.)
During the time that I used it, they added some nice time-saving features like targeted, one-click importing from online databases. There were a few spots where the interface seemed a little odd, mostly because these particular UI elements looked like they would behave in one way, but would subtly differ from the norm that one expects in Mac applications. Nevertheless, the application itself was fairly pleasant to use. The bibliography format builder (for creating or customizing formats) took a little bit of getting used to, but once I figured out what all the parts did, it was quite powerful.
Unfortunately, Sente does not adequately perform its core function as bibliographic software. To be precise, Sente cannot properly handle one of the key components of bibliographic data: the author's name.
Sente only supports a given name, a surname, and optionally some customized initials (i.e. the initials to use in place of the given name when a particular bibliographic format calls for them, not some extra initials aside from the given name). Sente is simply incapable of handling prefixes (e.g. "von") or suffixes (e.g. "Jr.") in names. So the only thing the user can do is to shove these things into either the given name or the surname. But this results in problems.
For example, let's say I am following the Chicago Manual of Style, and I have to deal with an author named John Smith, Jr. I can try entering his given name as "John" and his surname as "Smith, Jr." But then my bibliography looks like this:
Smith, Jr., John. Some Book. Big City: Some Publisher, 2009.
Alternatively, I can try entering his surname as "Smith" and his given name as "John, Jr." But then my footnote citations look like this:
John, Jr. Smith, Some Book (Big City: Some Publisher, 2009), 65.
Either way, it is wrong. No matter what I do, I have to go back through the generated paper and fix the errors. At first, this might seem like a simple job for Find and Replace to fix, but in practice this is not so simple. It is very easy to end up with leftover bits of punctuation, or with punctuation that has gone missing, or one spot here or there where due to a particular eccentricity of the reference and its situation the Find and Replace function misses an error. Thus, I always end up having to scrutinize all the generated formatting anyway. But more importantly, I have to remember to go over every single source I have used and check to see if there are any prefixes or suffixes in the name so that if necessary I can run Find and Replace. If I forget, then my paper almost certainly will have errors.
I should neither need to remember to clean up after Sente nor need to waste the time it takes to do so. The entire point of bibliographic software is to eliminate these problems for me.
Unfortunately, the developers at Third Street do not seem keen to fix this seemingly small but ultimately time-consuming defect. I initially filed a bug report for this nearly two years ago, occasionally attached follow-up messages to the report, and asked in the support forums as well. On the occasions when any response was forthcoming, it was only ever to say that the issue was on their list of things to improve. After two years, it seems clear that it isn't very high on that list.
As a result, I have had to drop Sente and move on to other software. Some of the others may not have all the shiny features that Sente has, but they get the job done properly. After all, luxury reclining seats and a built-in GPS navigation system are of no use if you need to take your car to the shop every time you try to drive it.