I know that there is documentation on biblatex and I know that there are loads of answers how to customize the respective biblatex configuration files to meet one's needs to achieve a specific layout of citations.

However, I think I am not the only one who likes to keep things simple and who likes when things are easy as they can be.

There is reference management software out there which does kind of a great job making it easy for the user to define the nitty gritty details of a custom citation style.

Citavi is such a kind of software.

I would love to see a piece of software which helps me define a biblatex style, getting very close to what I need without writing any LaTeX code. Sure, last adjustments have to be made manually.

Does anyone know such a tool? CMDline or with gui?

(Makebst is far from perfect but somehow it did the job for getting 'close'.)

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    I assume you mean either an interactive TeX program or some graphical system? I'm afraid the answer is going to be 'no': there is a lot that biblatex can do, and I suspect trying to crush that into a series of questions would miss much of the point, particularly on the arts/humanities side where bibliographies are complex. – Joseph Wright May 30 '11 at 14:37
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    Instead of running makebst, bibLaTeX has a much more sophisticated capability: It's called "Ask lockstep" – Seamus May 30 '11 at 17:27
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    @Seamus: Oh, come on, you could ask a few other people too :-) – Joseph Wright May 30 '11 at 18:21

To rephrase (and expand on) Joseph's comment: No, there isn't anything like makebst for biblatex, and I don't expect such a tool in the short run. Even in the medium-to-long run, developing an interactive/graphical tool that would cover all (or at least most) of biblatex's features would require a lot of manpower and therefore isn't likely to appear.

What I do expect in the medium term is easier configuration of biblatex by means of package options. Until now, new versions of biblatex have on occasion introduced additional options that removed the need to hack package internals (e.g. the dashed and isbn options, see here for details), but the customizable internals have been growing faster. I assume that in the course of the development of biblatex 2.x (i.e., after switching to biber as default backend and freezing BibTeX support with v2.0), the efforts with regard to "ease of configuration" will catch up. This should either happen by means of improved standard styles (the ones shipped with the biblatex package itself), or by new custom styles that are generic (i.e. not tailored to the need of specific disciplines or journals) yet offer customization options over and above the standard styles. In my opinion, the biblatex-dw styles developed by Dominik Waßenhoven are exemplary.

  • All that said, I think journal-specific styles are not about to disappear. At least in chemistry we have a relatively small set of requirements which are most efficiently handled that way. – Joseph Wright May 30 '11 at 18:23
  • @Joseph: Although I didn't say so expressly, I think that there will be room for both journal-specific and generic styles. – lockstep May 30 '11 at 18:25
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    I don't think such a tool would need to cover the whole power of biblatex. For many bibliography styles makebst is good enough. So a tool that asks the same or similar questions and spits out an .bbx file would be enough for many people. The rest who needs the special capabilities of biblatex could take it as a starting point. – quinmars Aug 29 '14 at 19:20

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