[OS X TeX] BibDesk crossref

Adam R. Maxwell amaxwell at mac.com
Mon Jul 20 00:31:31 EDT 2009

On Jul 19, 2009, at 8:20 PM, david craig wrote:

> On Sun, 19 Jul 2009, Adam R. Maxwell wrote:
>> I've personally never tried editing the name of a default field  
>> until now, so it helps to have that additional information!  In the  
>> version I'm running here, if I rename the title field of an  
>> @article, it renames and then adds and empty title field.  So  
>> you're correct; essentially you can't remove/rename a default field  
>> for a type.  This is a bit odd; I think it would make more sense if  
>> those weren't editable at all.
> Yes, I saw that, too, but didn't mention it.  It makes a certain  
> degree of sense for the default fields to be resistant to change.   
> One way or another the interface should make it clear which fields  
> are editable and which aren't.

As I've said, file a bug report on things that don't make sense,  
especially as a new user.  I have very minimal involvement in BibDesk  
these days, so I'm not going to start changing stuff.

>>>> Isn't there a "+" button at the bottom of your editor window?   
>>>> Did you hide the status bar?
>>> No, and no -- not intentionally anyway.   That was the missing  
>>> bit. Makes more sense now.
>> Okay, that would be confusing if the default is to have it hidden  
>> for new users, especially since not all of those actions are  
>> available from the main menu.  I think that's a bug.
> I ran into this within fifteen minutes of firing up BibDesk for the  
> very first time, and I didn't intentionally hide the status bar.

I checked the code and the initial preferences, and it's definitely  
set to show this by default.  I also deleted my preferences and did a  
first-launch scenario, and the status bar was visible.

> This raises a question, though: if functionality that can't be  
> otherwise accessed is placed there, should it be POSSIBLE to hide it?

In my opinion, there's no reason to hide the editor status bar,  
period.  Opinion aside, the answer to your question is no.

> A couple of unrelated thoughts/observations:
> 1. Access to global macros shouldn't be buried in the preferences.  
> There should be a menu item for them next to the one for the  
> document's macros.

Maybe.  Global means they're shared across all documents, though, and  
this is supposed to be something you set once and forget.  The main  
menu is cluttered enough without adding items that are seldom (if  
ever) used.

> There should also be an item to write global macros into the current  
> bib file -- at least, those that are used in it.

No.  The idea for global macros is that they give you presentable  
strings in the UI for macros that are ordinarily defined in BibTeX  
styles or a global style file in your TeX tree.

> 2. Here's something to think about: expanding BibDesk's capabilities  
> as a global reference manager.  In particular, it would make sense  
> to maintain a master database of references, and have tools for  
> copying pubs from that master database to a particular bib file,

Use static groups for this.  You can then do File->Export and check  
the box to only export selected items.  Or drag the group to a  
new .bib file.  Or copy-paste to another file.

> or pull refs from a bib file into the master database.

Use external groups for this (read-only).  Standard URL types (http,  
ftp, file) are loaded automatically.

> (I understand, of course, that one is free to create a bib file and  
> employ it as a master file

Yes, and recent features (in the last 3 years or so) have been  
designed with a single database in mind.  You're free to use multiple  
files and scatter them around, though.

> -- I'm in the process of doing that now -- but I still think it  
> would make sense to give BibDesk the capability to function mroe  
> naturally as an iTunes-like global manager of references,

iTunes strictly limits your options in ways that make this possible.   
Users whine too much if you try to make the necessary tradeoffs for  
something like this to be manageable.

> with necessary macros automatically copied in and so forth.)

If you're new to BibTeX, I'd avoid getting too hung up on macros,  
unless you need to switch between long form and short form of journal  
names.  BibDesk has extensive support for crossrefs and macros,  
probably better than any other app out there; however, with the advent  
of autocompletion and find-and-replace, I don't think they're as  
useful as they once were, and they're a pain for collaboration.

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