Switching to biblatex

2010-04-10

I usually rely on the facilities offered in the natbib package to format my bibliography entries in a LaTeX document. I was aware of biblatex alternative, but I never gave it a try. Now, it’s partly done. Although the user’s manual is about 200 pages long, it was tricky to produce a good-standing document with xelatex.

In the meantime, I happen to install Biber, which is a bibtex replacement written entirely in Perl (and the btparse C library). The installation is easy, provided you first install Readonly::XS, List::AllUtils, Log::Log4perl, XML::LibXML::Simple, File::Slurp, Text::BibTeX (needs Module::Build and several ExtUtils modules). I replaced the latter by the alternative (Parse::RecDescent and Regexp::Common) proposed in the biber README file since I was not able to get a working verion of Text::BibTeX. I also installed Data::Dump. After cpan finished its stuff, I install biber and all went fine, except for tests that depend on Text::BibTeX.

$ perl Build.PL
$ ./Build
$ ./Build test
Failed 5/21 test programs. 11/272 subtests failed.
$ sudo ./Build install
$ biber —version
biber version: 0.5.3

It is worth to note that its XML-aware little brother, BibTeXML, should provide useful facilities when working with Docbook.

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