We had to translate the SEP-specific macros from LATEX to LATEX2e dialect. In our translation, we aimed at two contradictory goals: to ease the portability of SEP documents and to be fully backward compatible.
To ease the portability of SEP documents, we developed a minimal set of SEP macros. SEP's minimal macro set contains only a third (26) of the traditional SEP macro family (78). This reduced macro set mostly deals with the inclusion of Postscript figures (activeplot), the inclusion of source code files (gprogblock), with author information (author, email, keywords), and SEP style definitions. All other commands are standard LATEX2e commands. We hope that the minimal macro set will enable us to share our LATEX2e macros easily with other organizations that have similar needs (SEG, TRIP at Rice University, and CWP at Colorado School of Mines.)
We recommend this minimal set for future SEP documents. To restrict the processing of his document to the minimal set, an author needs to define LATOPTS = option=minimal in his document's makefile. However, the current default ensures backward compatibility since it uses the superset of traditional SEP macros. This backward compatibility will, we hope, simplify the transition to the new document system.
Why do we use LATEX rather than any other text or word processing system such as Microsoft Word? We have used LATEX in the past and all students at SEP can write LATEX documents. We also have a legacy of LATEX documents. LATEX still seems to be the method of choice for mathematical typesetting, but we have not seriously tested some attractive-sounding alternatives, such as framemaker. Additionally, since LATEX2e is freely distributed, we can include it on SEP's interactive CD-ROMs.