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Re: wip-cite status question and feedback

From: Richard Lawrence
Subject: Re: wip-cite status question and feedback
Date: Sat, 18 Apr 2020 11:34:13 +0200

Joost Kremers <address@hidden> writes:

> Good points. I guess what this boils down to is whether Org wants 
> to be like LaTeX, where simple things are doable and complicated 
> things possible, or Pandoc, where simple things are simple indeed 
> and complicated things essentially impossible.
> To clarify: in LaTeX (biblatex) you can mix footnote and in-text 
> citations in a single document, Pandoc doesn't allow that. 
> Pandoc's functionality is sufficient for a great majority of 
> cases, but if you want or need to go beyond it, things get very 
> difficult.

Right. The Pandoc syntax trades some of the flexibility of (Bib)LaTeX
for the ability to render the citations it *does* support in a whole
bunch of non-LaTeX formats.

I personally think this is a good tradeoff, and one I would like to see
Org adopt. In both Org and Pandoc, you can use embedded LaTeX if you
need it. If you need the full power of BibLaTeX citations, then you are
confined to LaTeX export anyway, so you might as well just use BibLaTeX
commands in your document. But if you fall into the great majority of
use cases, you can use specialized citation syntax, and thereby get
reasonable behavior in other export formats too.

> My suggestion would still be not to hard-code a limit on possible 
> citation commands. Org itself should probably just provide the 
> basics, but users and add-on packages should be allowed to define 
> more specific commands with readable names and there should be a 
> well-defined interface for doing so (just like users and packages 
> can add new link types, for example).

I agree with this. I see no problem with having an analogue of
org-add-link-type for citations, and I think it's reasonable to have the
syntax allow for such extensions, so that e.g.

[cite/my-custom-cite-type: ...]

can still be recognized by the parser as a citation, which extensions
can then give a semantics to. But I think there needs to be a clear
syntactic delimitation between citations that are expected to work "out
of the box" (which to me primarily means: exported correctly in the
built-in backends) vs. those that need some additional extension to
export correctly or support additional behavior (which doesn't need to
be available on all backends, and could e.g. support BibLaTeX-only
users).  Otherwise the problem of getting citations working is too big a


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