Thursday, 20 June 2013

About GCDkit patches

As any other software, neither GCDkit is immune from coding bugs. For this reason, GCDkit 3.00 comes with support for patching, which allows the user to improve the program easily, without need for re-installation. There are some facts worth noticing regarding the patches, which will be documented in this spot. However, let us start with the most important:

 What to do with a GCDkit patch?

  1. Download the patch installation file from the GCDkit website (hold ALT when clicking the link to block automatic opening in your browser)
  2. Start GCDkit
  3. Drag-and-drop the installGCDpatchXXXXXX.r file from your download folder onto the R-console (the verbose GCDkit window)
If you see the "Installing the file patch XXXXXX.r" message, well, it is done.

How does the patch work

The idea is simple: Patch for GCDkit is a file containing all updated functions, stored in the Patch folder of the GDkit package. This file is read (sourced) at the end of GCDkit startup, so all the updated functions replace its previous versions.

The patch installation file is also a piece of R code, which writes the patch itself in appropriate folder when executed (or updates another GCDkit files if necessary). This implies further ways of patch installation: Besides the preferred drag-and-drop approach, the install file can be also copied into Patch folder, or its content may be copied into the R-console via clipboard.

What the patch is, and what it is not

The patches are intended to fix existing problems in GCDkit functions, or mistakes in build-in variables etc.

On the other hand, the patches are not here to bring brand new functionality or changes in the system (this will be done via plugins or even new GCDkit version). The reason is simple - the patches should bring more reliability instead of new problems. Also, plugins will not be patched.

Patch versions

Each patch has its number, mirroring the release date (YYMMDD). It is stored in the patchID variable, and it can be also viewed by clicking the GCDkit | About GCDkit menu entries, or typing about(). If the patch available from the website is newer, it is time to install.

On the other hand, each patch is cumulative so only the newest one is necessary. The installation of the GCDkit itself comes with the last patch available, so there is no need to download patches for new GCDkit installations.

Troubleshooting

If you have problems during patch installation, try another way of installing the patch, as described earlier. There may be also problems with writing rights for the Patch directory, so check the system permissions. And please let us know, even if you have solved the problem successfully (preferably in the discussion here) to help others.

There may also happen, that (despite of all our effort) the new patch will hamper somehow your (previously problem-free) work with GCDkit. To restore to previous state, go to the patch location (something like C:\Program Files\R\R-2.13.2\library\GCDkit\Patch) and delete the last patch (GCDpatchXXXXXX.r  with highest XXXXXX number). The GCDkit will get back to its previous configuration after restart. And again: let us know.

Follow us for new patches

 Unlike the GCDkit 2.3, which remained unchanged for five years in its public version, we plan to release patches for GCDkit 3 more often, generally whenever new bugs are identified and smashed. We recommend to check for new versions. The easiest way is to check this weblog (you can subscribe to its Atom feed), or follow our twitter account. Of course you can also check the website manually time by time.

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