[OS X TeX] Crossrefs in BibDesk?

Joseph C. Slater joseph.slater at wright.edu
Wed May 18 22:36:50 CEST 2005

On May 18, 2005, at 12:50 PM, Adam Maxwell wrote:

> On Wednesday, May 18, 2005, at 09:15AM, Curtis Clifton  
> <curt.clifton at mac.com> wrote:
>> On May 18, 2005, at 9:26 AM, Adam R. Maxwell wrote:
> I think a key point here is "...before BibDesk came along...," and  
> part of what I'd like to establish is that this is a feature that  
> would be used.  For instance, we (mainly Mike) just spent a /lot/  
> of time implementing macro support, which people on this list  
> griped about, but we haven't heard any feedback on it.  So either  
> a) it rocks, we did it completely right or b) no one uses it.

Um, cool. I'm going to start using it. To be honest, you guys are  
adding features faster than I've found time to keep learning them.  
I'm just utterly amazed by it. I've found this with a lot of the  
other apps as well, but lately bibdesk is leading the pack in adding  
features that I haven't found out/discovered yet. I think people who  
weren't waiting on a feature will trickle into using it. Bibdesk has  
so far exceeded what my original expectations were. Honestly, I  
didn't see the point when you started. I could edit the file fine in  
an editor supporting bib files. A GUI would just slow me down. OK,  
now I feel like a fool. It's an awesome tool, and getting better  
faster than I can often keep up with. (It's that darned day job. How  
do you guys find time to do the work of programming!).

Looking over macros,  I think the answer is a). It's simple, and  
highly functional.

> See the dilemma?  Honestly, I'm starting to think it's better to  
> ignore people who say an app is useless unless it has feature X.
> 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.

Really cool. I'm seeing the usefulness of crossref, though. This  
amateur will need some training before he'd ready, though.

>> Another advantage is that a data entry mistake in something like the
>> name of the conference only needs to be corrected in one place,  
>> instead
>> of 6.
> This argument is reasonable, and I also know that people have pre- 
> BibDesk bib files with lots of crossrefs which they need to   
> maintain.  We've targeted some type of crossref support for a  
> future version, but a discussion like this is needed to flesh out  
> what it will look like.

Here's an idea from someone who can't/won't do any of the work, so if  
it's junk, ignore it. I haven't a clue what effort would be needed to  
implement it.

What if cross refs could be handled as sub-cells inside the main  
entry (not quite the same as the way it appears the actual .bib file  
is written). e.g., in the main window for a bib file, the bib entry  
is for the proceedings. But, when you open it up, there is some kind  
of GUI for adding crossref items. Maybe a pull down menu listing  
them, or another window (like the main bib window) listing them  
(probably the easiest, since the code would likely be similar).  
Essentially, treat the bib file as a hierarchical database. You would  
need a button of some sort to turn a bib item into a crossref item  
(fields would be copied to the "reffed" item) and the display window  
would show the common fields, with a new listing of the crossreffed  
items that can be selected and edited individually.

Again, since I'm not programming this (what century do you want it?),  
don't take this as a request as much as a suggested logical GUI for  
doing this.

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