Biblatex: more versatile shorthand lists

One of the useful features of biblatex is shorthands, which can be defined in a BibTeX database and listed in the bibliography. A long-standing request has been to make this even more powerful by allows several different kinds of shorthand, for example for journal abbreviations, general abbreviations, etc. This ability has now been added to the development version of the package, by generalising shorthands to ‘biblists’. Of course, new features always need testing, so it would be great if interested users would grab the code and try it out!

A place for (PGF) plot examples

Not content with running The LaTeX Community, TeXample and texdoc.net, blogging on TeX matters and being a moderator on TeX Stack Exchange, Stefan Kottwitz has now started a new site: pgfplots.net. The idea for the new site is simple: it’s a place to collect great examples of plots, (primarily) made using using the excellent pgfplots package. Why do this? Plots are just graphics, but they are a very special form of graphic with particular requirements. As a working scientist, I really appreciate the need for well-presented, carefully-constructed plots: they can make (or break) a paper.

At the moment, the selection of plots is of course quite small: the site is new and the room for ‘artistic’ work is perhaps a little more limited than in the TeXample gallery. I’m sure it will soon grow, and we can all pick up a trick or two! (Don’t worry: there will certainly be a few plots for chemists. Indeed, you might already spot some.)

Work on siunitx v3

I recently posted a few ‘notes to myself’ about future directions in siunitx development. With them down in print, I’ve been giving them some serious thought and have made a proper start on work on version 3 of the package. I’m starting where I’m happiest: the unit parser and related code, and am working on proper separation of different parts of the code. That’s not easy work, but I think it should give me a good platform to build on. I’m also working hard to make the new code show ‘best practice’ in LaTeX3 coding: the plan is to have much richer documentation and some test material to go with the new code. Looking forward, that should make creating a ‘pure’ LaTeX3 units module pretty easy: it will be a minor set of edits from what I’m working on now.

I’ve got a good idea of the amount of work I need to do: there are about 17k lines in the current siunitx.dtx, which comes out to around 7.5k lines of code. That sounds like a lot, but as much of what I need to do is more editing that writing from scratch I’m hoping for an alpha build of version 3 some time this summer.