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Re: citations: org-cite vs org-ref 3.0

From: Vikas Rawal
Subject: Re: citations: org-cite vs org-ref 3.0
Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2022 08:57:19 +0530

Dear John,

Thanks very much for taking time to write a detailed reply.

I do not think it is productive for the community to say or consider it
is a sad situation.

From the perspective of a user, this was only meant to express a sentiment that one finds oneself in a situation of having to choose between two good things, and that we have not been able to find a way to make both compatible with each other. It was in not meant as a disrespect in any way.

My use case is very similar to yours and I have been an org-ref user for a long time (I was surely one of the earliest beneficiaries of your work), having written two books and innumerable research papers with org-ref citation syntax. Being able to export to LaTeX has been my primary use but the fact that citations were not exported easily to other formats thus far was a problem I had to struggle with every now and then. 
There are more than 8 years of legacy org-ref documents. I have written
40+ scientific papers with it, and countless technical documents with
more than 8000 cite links among them. org-ref has exceeded 190K
downloads from MELPA, so I feel obligated to maintain org-ref for
myself, and those users.

Given that it is not very difficult to convert a document from old org-ref citation syntax to the org-cite syntax, at least as far as citation is concerned, this should not be a big problem. Do these documents use citation commands that are not available in org-cite? Can those not be added to org-cite?
I think org-ref and org-cite have different priorities, they solve
different problems with different approaches, and they have different
pros and cons.

It might be useful to discuss specific gaps (such as citenum) that need to be plugged in org-cite for it to be usable. In fact, making org-cite usable for a heavyweight user like you is a useful goalpost. 
I understand that you do not particularly like the modularity and complexity of org-cite way of specifying styles and variants. But if one is able to make the two compatible, filling the gaps, they could have a friendly co-existence with some way of being able to convert a document between the two styles. And if there are some incompatibilities that cannot be resolved, it would be good to know exactly what all those are. If somebody was to write functions to convert from one format to the other, they could choose how they want to deal with those incompatibilities.
Cross-references are critical for me; without them, there is no path
forward for me with org-cite. I did work on a cross-reference approach
that leveraged org-cite syntax
(https://github.com/jkitchin/org-ref-cite/issues/16), but there was not
much appetite for the approach so I abandoned that.

What org-ref seems to do with cross-references is very nice. Unfortunately this would not be available if a user chooses to use org-cite. Do the capabilities of cross-referencing have to be wedded to the citation system?

Can this not be resolved? 
I am content to agree to disagree on these points and move forward with
both packages because they solve different problems, are suitable for
different communities, and they continue to benefit each other.

Friendly co-existence should be our goal. But can that be a situation in which one is able to choose between the best of both and, as far as possible, switch from one to the other.

Thanks again for your time and effort,


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