On Mon, 25 May 2009, John Haltiwanger wrote:

unlike document classes), there are no pre-rolled environments available. I
am thinking here of standardized thesis environments for universities, or a

There are no standardized thesis styles for universities mainly because there are no consistent specs. Most univs want you to use times, double spaced lines, wide margins, and some formatting guidelines regarding the chapter headings, table of content, page headers and footers. Setting these are easy in ConTeXt (and also LaTeX if you know the relevant packages). Universities do not provide an official thesis style (either in LaTeX or ConTeXt) because in most cases they do not have the resources to maintain them. Students figure something out, and then pass along their styles to the next generation. If the formatting guidelines change, the burden is on the students to correct the style, rather than on the university.

When I was writing my thesis, it took me about a few hours to understand the formatting guidelines, which were a jigjaw puzzle. Statements like: Always use Times New Roman at 12pt as the main font. ... two pages down ... The abstract can be in 10pt or 12pt ... a few pages later, use any of the standard fonts. It also used vague terminology. Statements like leave two blank lines after the title (blank lines, er... for what fontsize, the bodyfont or the title font?).

ConTeXt makes it really easy to make the formatting changes. Once I understood the formatting guidelines, writing the main style was very easy (with a few trips to the manual, and a few questions here on the mailing list). Making sure that the resultant style looked visually appealing while not violating the formatting guidelines too a lot of experimentation.

As Hans said, you can think of ConTeXt as the "standard" thesis style. Setup a few commands, and you meet your formatting requirements. Write it in an environment or a module, and you can reuse it.

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