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Chapter 2
Change Log [#]

This chapter lists major changes to GATE in roughly chronological order by release. Changes in the documentation are also referenced here.

2.1 Version 5.0 (May 2009) [#]

Note: existing users – if you delete your user configuration file for any reason you will find that GATE no longer loads the ANNIE plugin by default. You will need to manually select “load always” in the plugin manager to get the old behaviour.

2.1.1 Major new features

JAPE language improvements

Several new extensions to the JAPE language to support more flexible pattern matching. Full details are in chapter 7 but briefly:

Some of these extensions are similar to, but not the same as, those provided by the Montreal Transducer plugin. If you are already familiar with the Montreal Transducer, you should first look at section 7.11 which summarises the differences.

Resource configuration via Java 5 Annotations

Introduced an alternative style for supplying resource configuration information via Java 5 annotations rather than in creole.xml. The previous approach is still fully supported as well, and the two styles can be freely mixed. See section 4.9 for full details.

Ontology-based Gazetteer

Added a new plugin Ontology_Based_Gazetteer, which contains OntoRoot Gazetteer – a dynamically created gazetteer which is, in combination with few other generic GATE resources, capable of producing ontology-aware annotations over the given content with regards to the given ontology. For more details see section 9.31.

Inter-annotator agreement and merging

New plugins to support tasks involving several annotators working on the same annotation task on the same documents. The “iaaPlugin” (section 13.6) computes inter-annotator agreement scores between the annotators, the “copyAS2AnoDoc” plugin (section 9.33) copies annotations from several parallel documents into a single master document, and the “annotationMerging” plugin (section 9.30) merges annotations from multiple annotators into a single “consensus” annotation set.

Packaging self-contained applications for GATE Teamware

Added a mechanism to assemble a saved GATE application along with all the resource files it uses into a single self-contained package to run on another machine (e.g. as a service in GATE Teamware). This is available as a menu option (section 3.24) which will work for most common cases, but for complex cases you can use the underlying Ant task described in section C.2.

GUI improvements

2.1.2 Other new features and improvements

2.1.3 Specific bug fixes

Plus many more minor bug fixes

2.2 Version 4.0 (July 2007) [#]

2.2.1 Major new features


ANNotations In Context: a full-featured annotation indexing and retrieval system designed to support corpus querying and JAPE rule authoring. It is provided as part of an extention of the Serial Datastores, called Searchable Serial Datastore (SSD). See section 9.29 for more details.

New machine learning API

A brand new machine learning layer specifically targetted at NLP tasks including text classification, chunk learning (e.g. for named entity recognition) and relation learning. See chapter 11 for more details.

Ontology API

A new ontology API, based on OWL In Memory (OWLIM), which offers a better API, revised ontology event model and an improved ontology editor to name but few. See chapter 10 for more details.


Ontology-based Corpus Annotation Tool to help annotators to manually annotate documents using ontologies. For more details please see section 10.9.

Alignment Tools

A new set of components (e.g. CompoundDocument, AlignmentEditor etc.) that help in building alignment tools and in carrying out cross-document processing. See chapter 12 for more details.

New HTML Parser

A new HTML document format parser, based on Andy Clark’s NekoHTML. This parser is much better than the old one at handling modern HTML and XHTML constructs, JavaScript blocks, etc., though the old parser is still available for existing applications that depend on its behaviour.

Java 5.0 support

GATE now requires Java 5.0 or later to compile and run. This brings a number of benefits:

2.2.2 Other new features and improvements

2.2.3 Bug fixes and optimizations

And as always there are many smaller bugfixes too numerous to list here...

2.3 Version 3.1 (April 2006)

2.3.1 Major new features

Support for UIMA

UIMA (http://www.research.ibm.com/UIMA/) is a language processing framework developed by IBM. UIMA and GATE share some functionality but are complementary in most respects. GATE now provides an interoperability layer to allow UIMA applications to include GATE components in their processing and vice-versa. For full information, see chapter 16.

New Ontology API

The ontology layer has been rewritten in order to provide an abstraction layer between the model representation and the tools used for input and output of the various representation formats. An implementation that uses Jena 2 (http://jena.sourceforge.net/ontology) for reading and writing OWL and RDF(S) is provided.

Ontotext Japec Compiler

Japec is a compiler for JAPE grammars developed by Ontotext Lab. It has some limitations compared to the standard JAPE transducer implementation, but can run JAPE grammars up to five times as fast. By default, GATE still uses the stable JAPE implementation, but if you want to experiment with Japec, see section 9.28.

2.3.2 Other new features and improvements

2.3.3 Bug fixes

2.4 January 2005

Release of version 3.

New plugins for processing in various languages (see 9.15). These are not full IE systems but are designed as starting points for further development (French, German, Spanish, etc.), or as sample or toy applications (Cebuano, Hindi, etc.).

Other new plugins:

Support for SVM Light, a support vector machine implementation, has been added to the machine learning plugin (see section 9.24.7).

2.5 December 2004

GATE no longer depends on the Sun Java compiler to run, which means it will now work on any Java runtime environment of at least version 1.4. JAPE grammars are now compiled using the Eclipse JDT Java compiler by default.

A welcome side-effect of this change is that it is now much easier to integrate GATE-based processing into web applications in Tomcat. See section 3.30 for details.

2.6 September 2004

GATE applications are now saved in XML format using the XStream library, rather than by using native java serialization. On loading an application, GATE will automatically detect whether it is in the old or the new format, and so applications in both formats can be loaded. However, older versions of GATE will be unable to load applications saved in the XML format. (A java.io.StreamCorruptedException: invalid stream header exception will occcur.) It is possible to get new versions of GATE to use the old format by setting a flag in the source code. (See the Gate.java file for details.) This change has been made because it allows the details of an application to be viewed and edited in a text editor, which is sometimes easier than loading the application into GATE.

2.7 Version 3 Beta 1 (August 2004)

Version 3 incorporates a lot of new functionality and some reorganisation of existing components.

Note that Beta 1 is feature-complete but needs further debugging (please send us bug reports!).

Highlights include: completely rewritten document viewer/editor; extensive ontology support; a new plugin management system; separate .jar files and a Tomcat classloading fix; lots more CREOLE components (and some more to come soon).

Almost all the changes are backwards-compatible; some recent classes have been renamed (particularly the ontologies support classes) and a few events added (see below); datastores created by version 3 will probably not read properly in version 2. If you have problems use the mailing list and we’ll help you fix your code!

The gorey details:

2.8 July 2004

GATE Documents now fire events when the document content is edited. This was added in order to support the new facility of editing documents from the GUI. This change will break backwards compatibility by requiring all DocumentListener implementations to implement a new method:
public void contentEdited(DocumentEvent e);

2.9 June 2004

A new algorithm has been implemented for the AnnotationDiff function. A new, more usable, GUI is included, and an ”Export to HTML” option added. More details about the AnnotationDiff tool are in Section 3.25.

A new build process, based on ANT (http://ant.apache.org/) is now available for GATE. The old build process, based on make, is now unsupported. See Section 3.8 for details of the new build process.

A Jape Debugger from Ontos AG has been integrated in GATE. You can turn integration ON with command line option ”-j”. If you run the GATE GUI with this option, the new menu item for Jape Debugger GUI will appear in the Tools menu. The default value of integration is OFF. We are currently awaiting documentation for this.

NOTE! Keep in mind there is ClassCastExceprion if you try to debug ConditionalCorpusPipeline. Jape Debugger is designed for Corpus Pipeline only. The Ontos code needs to be changed to allow debugging of ConditionalCorpusPipeline.

2.10 April 2004

GATE now has two alternative strategies for ontology-aware grammar transduction:

The changes are in:

More information about the ontology-aware transducer can be found in Section 10.6.

A morphological analyser PR has been added to GATE. This finds the root and affix values of a token and adds them as features to that token.

A flexible gazetteer PR has been added to GATE. This performs lookup over a document based on the values of an arbitrary feature of an arbitrary annotation type, by using an externally provided gazetteer. See 9.5 for details.

2.11 March 2004

Support was added for the MAXENT machine learning library. (See 9.24.6 for details.)

2.12 Version 2.2 – August 2003

Note that GATE 2.2 works with JDK 1.4.0 or above. Version 1.4.2 is recommended, and is the one included with the latest installers.

GATE has been adapted to work with Postgres 7.3. The compatibility with PostgreSQL 7.2 has been preserved. See 3.38 for more details.

New library version – Lucene 1.3 (rc1)

A bug in gate.util.Javac has been fixed in order to account for situations when String literals require an encoding different from the platform default.

Temporary .java files used to compile JAPE RHS actions are now saved using UTF-8 and the ”-encoding UTF-8” option is passed to the javac compiler.

A custom tools.jar is no longer necessary

Minor changes have been made to the look and feel of GATE to improve its appearance with JDK 1.4.2

Some bug fixes (087, 088, 089, 090, 091, 092, 093, 095, 096 – see http://gate.ac.uk/gate/doc/bugs.html for more details).

2.13 Version 2.1 – February 2003

Integration of Machine Learning PR and WEKA wrapper (see Section 9.24).

Addition of DAML+OIL exporter.

Integration of WordNet in GATE (see Section 9.23).

The syntax tree viewer has been updated to fix some bugs.

2.14 June 2002

Conditional versions of the controllers are now available (see Section 3.15). These allow processing resources to be run conditionally on document features.

PostgreSQL Data Stores are now supported (see Section 4.7). These store data into a PostgreSQL RDBMS.

Addition of OntoGazetteer (see Section 5.2), an interface which makes ontologies visible within GATE, and supports basic methods for hierarchy management and traversal.

Integration of Protégé, so that people with developed Protégé ontologies can use them within GATE.

Addition of IR facilities in GATE (see Section 9.19).

Modification of the corpus benchmark tool (see Section 3.26), which now takes an application as a parameter.

See also for details of other recent bug fixes.