Stratego/XT BibTeX Tools 0.2

Stratego -- Strategies for Program Transformation

The released versions of BibtexTools are currently not available. You can check out the sources directly from

Released November 4th, 2005


BibTeX Tools is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This software is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU Lesser General Public License for more details.


Version 0.2 is the first official release of the Stratego/XT BibTeX Tools package. It is based on Stratego/XT 0.16 and requires Hevea 1.07, a tool for translating latex to html.

Among the useless things one can do in life, maintaining one or more publication lists ranks high. My tendency to waste time on my publication list probably dates back to my days as a PhD student when I badly needed publications to put on a list. On the other hand, as publications are the measure of achievement in research, more researchers may have this problem.

Anyway, maintaining a list of publications can be quite tedious, in particular if you want to provide multiple views on the publications. For example, a listing with most recent publications first, one providing the most important ones first, one organized by research topic, and finally a separate list for each project. Also your department may require regular submission of lists. On the web version the entries should come with links to the pdf files and/or the webpage of the publisher, but these links should not be displayed in the version for printing, since they are quite useless there.

Being a computer scientist, I elevated the activity of maintaining content to maintaining a program for generating the various lists. This is still a waste of time, of course, but the excuse is that it will save me time in future. Another excuse is that I developed my program as a case study for the transformation language Stratego.

In fact, the bibtex-tools package has emerged over a long time, starting with a syntax definition for BibTeX first written in 1999. It turns out that BibTeX has quite an intricate syntax that is not so easily formalized with a traditional approach based on a separate lexical analyzer and context-free parser. With the scannerless approach of SDF this poses no problems at all.

Also, the use of the Stratego to perform transformations on a structured representation of a BibTeX file is a definite improvement over directly transforming its text representation. Moreover, these transformations can be expressed quite concisely. For example, the following strategy definitions define an inliner for BibTeX that replaces occurrences of string identifiers with their body. (BibTeX allows the definition of strings such as @string{LNCS={Lecture Notes in Computer Science}}, which can then be quoted in entry fields using the identifier, e.g., series = LNCS.)

  bib-inline = 
    bottomup(try(DeclareInlineString + InlineString + FoldWords))x

  DeclareInlineString =
    ?String(_, StringField(key, value))
    ; rules( InlineString : Id(key) -> value )

  FoldWords :
    ConcValue(Words(ws1), Words(ws2)) -> Words((ws1, ws2))

After having developed my own set of BibTeX tools using the Stratego transformation language over the last couple of years, I decided to make them into a proper software package that could be used by others, complete with a manual that explains the LaTeX/BibTeX/Hevea techniques used to get a publication list into HTML.

More Information

See the website of BibTeX Tools for an overview of the development, and introduction, examples, and a manual for BibTeX Tools.