[NTG-context] Experience on writing a thesis with MKIV

Mikael Persson mickep at gmail.com
Sun Sep 28 17:45:20 CEST 2008


Wow, that looks very nice!

I hope you do not feel I am stealing your thread now (I do not mean
to). I did also finish my thesis (in mathematics) recently, written
"in ConTeXt". For this I had a lot of help with your doc "Using
\startalign and friends", thank you.

The thesis is available at

http://www.math.chalmers.se/~mickep/mp-thesis-final.pdf

and a short presentation of the third paper

http://www.math.chalmers.se/~mickep/pres.pdf

Some comments:
* At our university the thesis should be printed on the (not really
standard) G5 paper. No problem in defining and using it with ConTeXt.
* The bibliography uses Taco's module. I am happy of being able to
have different bibliographies in one file.
* As a mathematician I was a bit tired of the computer modern fonts (I
really like them, but I see them to often), so I decided to go with
the utopia/fourier fonts. This forced me to work with mkii, since I
did not get these fonts to work with mkiv (This is still a problem, I
am not sure how to go on with it for future documents).
* Typesetting math worked very smoothly. There is one place where I
hade to add some negative vertical space (I could not reproduce this
in a minimal file).
* I'm very happy with the way MetaPost and ConTeXt work together.
* The presentation is inspired by Thomas A. Schmitz' files at
http://www.tug.org/pracjourn/2006-2/schmitz/ (thanks!)
* The presentation uses Wolfram's Mathematica fonts which I find being
very clear.

I will happily continue to use ConTeXt in future projects.

/Micke P

On Sat, Sep 27, 2008 at 6:35 PM, Aditya Mahajan <adityam at umich.edu> wrote:
> Hi everyone,
>
> I finished my thesis, writing both my thesis and my presentation using
> ConTeXt.
>
> Thesis: http://www.eecs.umich.edu/~adityam/publications/thesis/thesis.pdf
>
> Source:
> http://www.eecs.umich.edu/~adityam/publications/thesis/thesis.tar.gz
>
> Presentation:
> http://www.eecs.umich.edu/~adityam/publications/thesis/thesis-presentation.pdf
>
> Overall it was a pleasant experience, but there were some difficulties. I
> am summarizing my experience here. Hopefully, others will find it useful.
>
> * Layout and Formatting: It was extremely simple to set up the layout and
> formatting according to the thesis specifications. Due to the ease of
> changing formatting, I experimented quite a bit with the formatting before
> settling down to what is in the thesis (The school wanted "nothing
> fancy").
>
> * Organizing large projects: The product-component structure made it easy
> to work on single chapters. However, I could not get correct numbering for
> the components (If I compiled chapter-02, it got numbered 1). In the end,
> I was just compiling the whole thesis at the time, since it was pretty
> fast (~10 sec).
>
> * Fonts: Using different fonts with MKIV was really easy. For the
> presentation, I did have some trouble in getting Euler to work with the
> minimals. Hopefully, this will be corrected soon.
>
> * Math: The math alignments worked very nicely, but I had to do a lot of
> manual tweaking at a lot of places. Also, equations seem to like to have a
> tendency of starting on a new page. I tried changing penalties for
> predisplay and postdisplay (which are set to zero), but it invariably led
> to bad page breaks at other places.
>
>  At some places, the equation overlapped with the previous material. I am
> not sure what was causing this (medium interline spacing, wrong
> calculation of the width of the previous line, or something else). In the
> end, I simply put a few manual \break[small] here and there.
>
>  Being able to write unicode math made simplified reading math markup.
>
> * Metapost: TeX-MP interaction is fast and easy. However, debugging
> metapost errors is difficult because context does not stop compiling on
> encountering a metapost error.
>
> * Bibliography. For a large part, the bib module was very easy. In the
> end, there were a few glitches with the formatting of the bibliography
> (too title space between entries) which I had to manually correct. (Look
> for \help inside the bbl file).
>
>  The bbl file sorted authors with multiple entries incorrectly. If I had
> authors with four publications in a year, say 2000, the came out as 2000d,
> 2000c, 2000b, 2000a. I wanted 2000a, 2000b, 2000c, and 2000d, so in the
> end I just edited the bbl file by hand.
>
>  There was also problem with maybe year. If I had 2000a and 2000b in the
> bib file, but only referred to 2000b in the thesis, the year came out as
> 2000b rather than 2000. For this also, I edited the bbl file by hand.
>
>
> Overall, ConTeXt made writing the thesis fairly easy. I mean the
> typesetting part of it. For those who are wondering, ConTeXt does not help
> with the content of the thesis :-) I would like to thank Hans and Taco for
> providing ConTeXt and everyone on the mailing list for answering my
> various questions.
>
>
> Aditya
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