[OS X TeX] Crossrefs in BibDesk?

Adam Maxwell amaxwell at mac.com
Wed May 18 19:54:20 CEST 2005

On Wednesday, May 18, 2005, at 10:32AM, Matthias Damm <macplanet at macnews.de> wrote:

>Am 18.05.2005 um 18:50 schrieb Adam Maxwell:
>> In BibDesk, you can start enter the fields that are unique to a  
>> particular entry, then drag and drop the parent crossref'd entry  
>> onto the editor window; this will overwrite the empty fields.  So  
>> the savings in data entry isn't a compelling argument for me,  
>> especially since this makes your file more readable, portable, and  
>> immune to sorting problems.
>This is nice, definitely, but still: Crossrefs are not just something  
>that makes managing your .bib file easier, but they are a BibTeX  
>feature. I would not like to lose the feature which automatically  
>puts referencing and referenced items to the bibliography (see my  
>answer to Cifton).

You're making things much more clear, and I appreciate your time.  However, I'm still not sure about the "min-crossrefs=" part.  What does this do for your bibliography?

>I can absolutely understand your "don't waste time to implement  
>something nobody will use" point.
>And, as I had pointed out before, it is possible to use BibDesk with  
>crossrefs reasonably well. (The sorting problem is partly solved if  
>you enter the referenced item (i.e. the book) before the referencing  
>item (the inbook); since BibDesk seems to append new items to the top  
>of the file, this automatically causes the items to appear in the  
>correct order.

Correct, new entries are added at the top of the list (this was sort of fuzzy before 1.0RC1, but should be reliable now).  Reordering has to be done in a text editor, unfortunately.

>>> Per Matthias's comment about sort order:  Since cross-references make
>>> the dependencies explicit, it would be feasible to automatically sort
>>> so that referenced items appear after referencing items (assuming no
>>> cycles in the referencing graph).
>> I think sorting is the most challenging part of the problem,  
>> really; you're suggesting that BibDesk do something that BibTeX  
>> itself can't do!  I appreciate the discussion and comments.  Curt,  
>> if you could add yours to the RFE, I'd appreciate it.
>BibTeX can't, but tools like Bibtool can.
>Unfortunately nobody from the developers has commented on my idea to  
>simply provide Bibtool with the information it needs to perform the  

Part of the problem from my perspective is that a whole separate front end could be written for BibTool, and we don't want to support all of its features (this is a slippery slope).  Further, it introduces potential for third-party bugs; for instance, how does BibTool handle Unicode strings?  What sort of parsing engine does it use?  Don't get me wrong: BibTool is incredibly useful, but it's difficult to debug and use.  Re-implementing a small part of its functionality in our Cocoa object model will be less painful in the long run (see the new "select duplicates" feature which was <10 lines of code).

>If I see this correctly, it was enough, if some "CrossrefSearchOrder  
>= x" line could be appended to each item in the .bib file, with x  
>being 1 for all inbook, incollection and inproceedings items, and 2  
>for each book, proceedings etc. items.
>Wouldn't that be a rather minor change?
>If BibTeX could even call Bibtool with the appropriate options on the  
>file, this would solve the problem in a rather simple way, imho.  
>(Bibtool is available as an i-Installer package, so you can assume it  
>to be or get installed on every MacOS X system.)
>If the Title/Booktitle problem was solved as well, I personally was  
>totally happy ...

This is the most urgent issue, I think, but I've forgotten the  particulars of the discussion (this is why we like those bug reports, even if the sf.net tracker is hideously ugly).

>Matthias Damm
>mad at macpla.net
>PGP key: http://macpla.net/MatthiasDamm.asc
>PGP fingerprint: CED3 6074 7F7D 3148 C6F3  DFF2 05FF 3A0B 0D12 4D41
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