[NTG-context] PhD Thesis in ConTeXt

Aditya Mahajan adityam at umich.edu
Wed Oct 22 05:10:53 CEST 2008

On Tue, 21 Oct 2008, Piotr wrote:

> Hello,
> I have spent some time with google in order to find an answer to the
> following questions. Unfortunatly, I was not satisfied with the
> answers, which I now hope to find here.
> It is my plan not to use the MS Office suite for the production of my
> PhD thesis (in chemistry). I have used Miktex some years ago during my
> studies for some project reports, and I remember beeing quite
> satisfied with the results. My Master thesis, on the other hand, I
> wrote in word.. and although I remember not having too many
> difficulties, there were some nasty obstacles to be overcome.
> Obstacles which I simply do not want to risk having repeated a second
> time on a much bigger scale.
> I this mailing list I read several reports of people who either had
> written their thesis in Latex or ConTeXt. There was a mention of Latex
> beeing designed for mathematic purposes, while ConTeXt was said to be
> better suited for the intergration of graphics or larger/more complex
> layout changes.
> 1) Finding the right context
> For now I had quite some difficulties to find that proper Latex
> distribution - a problem that actually led me to the existence of
> ConTeXt. I am wondering which latex distribution I should choose in
> order to work with ConTeXt? I am running Windows Vista (64-bit). Or is
> there a ConTeXt stand alone package that will absolutely satisfy my me
> in my needs? In principle, all I need is
> 2) The right editor
> What is the preferred editor for ConTeXt? for such a project? Is there
> any loss in functionality when using Texniccenter with ConTeXt than
> with MikTex instead?

Depends on what functions you need. There are a few editors which have 
basic support for ConTeXt (compile document, view pdf, jump to error, 
etc.). Hans uses Scite and includes a context enabled scite in the 
windows distribution available on prama-ade.com. Irdis has written support 
for Notepad++. Vim and emacs have some basic support. I do not know what 
features texniccenter and winedit provide for context.

> 3) I have seen some thesis templates/examples in this mailinglist. Can
> anyone point me to additional sources regarding the creation of a PhD
> Thesis with ConTeXt?

Each institute has different requirements for phd thesis, so one template 
is not going to fit the bill. I did my thesis in context, and you can have 
a look at the sources and the output:


The easier way to go about this will be to look at the formatting 
specifications of the thesis, and try to understand how to implement them 
in context one by one.

> What is the advantage over Latex, what are the
> disadvantages? Is there a win-win distribution somewhere on the table?

Advantage: In most cases, others have written a style for what you want, 
so you don't have to create a style on your own.

Disadvantage: When you do have to create a style on your own, it can be 
difficult, even in packages which are supposed to be easy to configure

> 4) Has anyone used a typesetting suite like ContTeXt with CVS?

As others have said, the source files are simply text files. So you can 
use any version control that you want.

> 5) Is the ConTeXt reference system compatible with Endnote?

I have no experience with endnote. I have seen endnote to bibtex 
converters. If you can convert to bibtex, then using the references with 
context is relatively easy.

> Is there any point to have latex installed, when context can do the
> trick?

As Mojca said, you may want to submit something to a journal which accepts 
latex files.

> Or lets ask the devils advocate the other way around: What is
> the point of installing context, when latex could do the trick?

Again I agree with what Mojca said. If latex can do the job, use it. If 
you are happy with one of the defaul latex styles, do not use too many 
figures in your document, do not want text wrapping around figures, use 

> Apart
> that I have to re-learn latex anyway.. what is better with Context?

Context has a more consistent interface to all the commands. This makes it 
easier to remember how to configure things.


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