University of Waterloo work reports!

Doesn't everyone love work reports? Does that phrase make your heart lighter and put a smile on your face? No, well, it doesn't evoke feelings of bliss in me neither.

However, every co-operative education student studying at the University of Waterloo must write them. Many of them. Each of them lovingly checked against a series of guidelines before having red marks scribbled upon them. Then they are returned to the student for formatting fixes so before anyone actually reads them. Lovely.

For the impatient

Download version 2.6. Read the INSTALL and README files, which should explain everything you need to know about installation.

Formatting rules

I got all wacko about semantic markup when I learnt about this macro package called LATEX in the year 2000. The really cool thing about this concept is this: you write what you want to say, and let the computer do all the formatting for you. There's been a lot of research in computer-typeset text over the past couple decades, so computers are fairly good at layout now.

Meta work report

I wrote a work report about this work report document class, entitled: Design and evolution of a LATEX document class for work reports. I thought it was pretty funny, but I do admit it's a corny title. I've updated it so it uses Type 1 fonts within, which should make it nicer for Adobe Acrobat users. The source code is available if you are interested in how I typeset it. I used uw-wkrpt 2.6 for the revised copy of this document. Sadly enough, it only received a Satisfactory grade.

The fruits of my labour

The result of this discovery? I realised that I could write my work report in LATEX and it would look good. Not only that, if I did it right, I could make a document class that would co-erce my document into conforming with the E&CE Work Term Report Guidelines so that I would never have to make a formatting error again. After quite a bit of perserverence, and much digging into the internals of LATEX, I had succeeded.

The latest version of uw-wkrpt (2.6) has some corrections to the Electrical & Computer Engineering work report. If you do not update, you may fail the checklist.

If you are unable to build the system by following the INSTALL instructions, you may find that the full tarball may be more helpful. It contains pre-compiled versions of the PDFs and can be illustrative of what results you can obtain.

To use this, you will need either a copy of teTEX (under *NIX) or MiKTEX (under Windows) to compile the documents. Ryan Leslie reports that MiKTEX does not ship with many packages unless you get the full install. I highly recommend that you do so.

Danger Will Robinson! Danger! This is rough around the edges stuff since I've just restructured it. I haven't ever written any Math or Soft Eng. reports before, so I probably got it wrong. I'd appreciate it if you tried it out, and gave me feedback. Patches and bug reports are welcome.

Historic Versions

Version 2.5 had more rather large corrections to the Software Engineering work report.

Version 2.4 had some rather large corrections to the Software Engineering work report.

Version 2.3 had some rather large corrections to the Math work report.

Version 2.2 just had some minor corrections to formatting.

Version 2.1 had some important bug fixes for Math and Software Engineering students.

Version 2.0 introduced many new features. First and foremost, it is now documented! Another nifty feature is that it knows about several different work report formats:

Co-operative Education & Career Services
Used by the most programs at Waterloo, the CECS guidelines are the most common, and therefore the default.
Electrical & Computer Engineering
These guidelines are for EE or CE students.
Faculty of Mathematics
The Math department, which includes Computer Science, has its own set of guidelines
Software Engineering
These guidelines are mainly derived from the E&CE ones, and have many similarities. There is also a small Math guideline influence.

This piece of software was called uw-ece-workreport because it was only good for E&CE work reports. Now, I have changed its name to reflect its true nature. Of course, it also conveniently fits in 8.3 long filenames.

In version 1.1, the Table of Contents now correctly implements the specification. As well, the example document provided shows off many more features, some of which essential to actually writing a satisfactory work report. Version 1.0 is available as well.

Updated 20 December 2003
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