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The .bib file feels like a bit of a hacked together kludge. I mean, it works, but it ain't pretty, and it has some odd limitations. It feels like a replacement, built from the ground up to make the most of the power of biber and biblatex would be an obvious move.

Put the question a different, perhaps less provocative, way: biblatex seems to be built in such a way that alternatives to .bib files can be used. What alternatives are there that can be used in this way? The .bib format was in place well before work on biblatex started, so .bib files are not built for use with biber and biblatex. Presumably, if they were starting from scratch, they would do things differently with a custom-built bibliography database format for biblatex/biber. What would such a format look like? Has anyone tried to do this?

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I don't know what problem you have with a BibTeX format. The question seems very unclear to me and I would say it quite falls into the "not constructive" category. –  tohecz Sep 26 '12 at 14:15
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a bib file is a data base with an open structure. Why should it be limited? –  Herbert Sep 26 '12 at 14:17
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@AndrewSwann: that is not a limitation of the bib file. It is or was a limitation of the program bibtex –  Herbert Sep 26 '12 at 14:51
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Probably an XML based format would overcome many of the limitations of the .bib format; for instance the order of names in different languages or tagging entries with the proper language code. I don't know what's the status of Biber in this direction. Of course, humans can write a .bib file, which is not true for XML. –  egreg Sep 26 '12 at 16:05
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biber supports the experimental biblatexml xml format for these reasons. I have to do some work on this and document it though. –  PLK Sep 27 '12 at 16:46
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closed as not constructive by tohecz, Qrrbrbirlbel, Alan Munn, Paul Gaborit, Tom Bombadil Oct 7 '12 at 13:16

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