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Appendix A
Change Log [#]

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

A.1 Version 6.0 (November 2010) [#]

A.1.1 Major new features

Added an annotation tool for the document editor: the Relation Annotation Tool (RAT). It is designed to annotate a document with ontology instances and to create relations between annotations with ontology object properties. It is close and compatible with the Ontology Annotation Tool (OAT) but focus on relations between annotations. See section 14.7 for details.

Added a new scriptable controller to the Groovy plugin, whose execution strategy is controlled by a simple Groovy DSL. This supports more powerful conditional execution than is possible with the standard conditional controllers (for example, based on the presence or absence of a particular annotation, or a combination of several document feature values), rich flow control using Groovy loops, etc. See section 7.16.3 for details.

A new version of Alignment Editor has been added to the GATE distribution. It consists of several new features such as the new alignment viewer, ability to create alignment tasks and store in xml files, three different views to align the text (links view and matrix view - suitable for character, word and phrase alignments, parallel view - suitable for sentence or long text alignment), an alignment exporter and many more. See chapter 16 for more information.

MetaMap, from the National Library of Medicine (NLM), maps biomedical text to the UMLS Metathesaurus and allows Metathesaurus concepts to be discovered in a text corpus. The Tagger_MetaMap plugin for GATE wraps the MetaMap Java API client to allow GATE to communicate with a remote (or local) MetaMap PrologBeans mmserver and MetaMap distribution. This allows the content of specified annotations (or the entire document content) to be processed by MetaMap and the results converted to GATE annotations and features. See section 19.18 for details.

A new plugin called Web_Translate_Google has been added with a PR called Google Translator PR in it. It allows users to translate text using the Google translation services. See section 19.8 for more information.

New Gazetteer Editor for ANNIE Gazetteer that can be used instead of Gaze. It uses tables instead of text area to display the gazetteer definition and lists, allows sorting on any column, filtering of the lists, reloading a list, etc. See section 13.2.2.

A.1.2 Breaking changes

This release contains a few small changes that are not backwards-compatible:

A.1.3 Other new features and bugfixes

The concept of templates has been introduced to JAPE. This is a way to declare named “variables” in a JAPE grammar that can contain placeholders that are filled in when the template is referenced. See section 8.1.5 for full details.

Added a JAPE operator to get the string covered by a left-hand-side label and assign it to a feature of a new annotation on the right hand side (see section 8.1.4).

Added a new API to the CREOLE registry to permit plugins that live entirely on the classpath. CreoleRegister.registerComponent instructs the registry to scan a single java Class for annotations, adding it to the set of registered plugins. See section 7.3 for details.

Maven artifacts for GATE are now published to the central Maven repository. See section 2.5.1 for details.

Bugfix: DocumentImpl no longer changes its stringContent parameter value whenever the document’s content changes. Among other things, this means that saved application states will no longer contain the full text of the documents in their corpus, and documents containing XML or HTML tags that were originally created from string content (rather than a URL) can now safely be stored in saved application states and the GATE Developer saved session.

A processing resource called Quality Assurance PR has been added in the Tools plugin. The PR wraps the functionality of the Quality Assurance Tool (section 10.3).

A new section for using the Corpus Quality Assurance from GATE Embedded has been written. See section 10.3.

The Generic Tagger PR (in the Tagger_Framework plugin) now allows more flexible specification of the input to the tagger, and is no longer limited to passing just the “string” feature from the input annotations. See section 17.3 for details.

Added new parameters and options to the LingPipe Language Identifier PR. (section 19.16.5), and corrected the documentation for the LingPipe POS Tagger (section 19.16.3).

In the document editor, fixed several exceptions to make editing text with annotations highlighted working. So you should now be able to edit the text and the annotations should behave correctly that is to say move, expand or disappear according to the text insertions and deletions.

Options for document editor: read-only and insert append/prepend have been moved from the options dialogue to the document editor toolbar at the top right on the triangle icon that display a menu with the options. See section 3.2.

Added new parameters and options to the Crawl PR and document features to its output; see section 19.5 for details.

Fixed a bug where ontology-aware JAPE rules worked correctly when the target annotation’s class was a subclass of the class specified in the rule, but failed when the two class names matched exactly.

Improved support for conditional pipelines containing non-LanguageAnalyser processing resources.

Added the current Corpus to the script binding for the Groovy Script PR, allowing a Groovy script to access and set corpus-level features. Also added callbacks that a Groovy script can implement to do additional pre- or post-processing before the first and after the last document in a corpus. See section 7.16 for details.

A.2 Version 5.2.1 (May 2010) [#]

This is a bugfix release to resolve several bugs that were reported shortly after the release of version 5.2:

This release also fixes some shortcomings in the Groovy support added by 5.2, in particular:

A.3 Version 5.2 (April 2010) [#]

A.3.1 JAPE and JAPE-related

Introduced a utility class gate.Utils containing static utility methods for frequently-used idioms such as getting the string covered by an annotation, finding the start and end offsets of annotations and sets, etc. This class is particularly useful on the right hand side of JAPE rules (section 8.6.5).

Added type parameters to the bindings map available on the RHS of JAPE rules, so you can now do AnnotationSet as = bindings.get("label") without a cast (see section 8.6.5).

Fixed a bug with JAPE’s handling of features called “class” in non-ontology-aware mode. Previously JAPE would always match such features using an equality test, even if a different operator was used in the grammar, i.e. {SomeType.class != "foo"} was matched as {SomeType.class == "foo"}. The correct operator is now used. Note that this does not affect the ontology-aware behaviour: when an ontology parameter is specified, “class” features are always matched using ontology subsumption.

Custom JAPE operators and annotation accessors can now be loaded from plugins as well as from the lib directory (see section 8.2.2).

A.3.2 Other Changes

Added a mechanism to allow plugins to contribute menu items to the “Tools” menu in GATE Developer. See section 4.8 for details.

Enhanced Groovy support in GATE: the Groovy console and Groovy Script PR (in the Groovy plugin) now import many GATE classes by default, and a number of utility methods are mixed in to some of the core GATE API classes to make them more natural to use in Groovy. See section 7.16 for details.

Modified the batch learning PR (in the Learning plugin) to make it safe to use several instances in APPLICATION mode with the same configuration file and the same learned model at the same time (e.g. in a multithreaded application). The other modes (including training and evaluation) are unchanged, and thus are still not safe for use in this way. Also fixed a bug that prevented APPLICATION mode from working anywhere other than as the last PR in a pipeline when running over a corpus in a datastore.

Introduced a simple way to create duplicate copies of an existing resource instance, with a way for individual resource types to override the default duplication algorithm if they know a better way to deal with duplicating themselves. See section 7.7.

Enhanced the Spring support in GATE to provide easy access to the new duplication API, and to simplify the configuration of the built-in Spring pooling mechanisms when writing multi-threaded Spring-based applications. See section 7.14.

The GAPP packager Ant task now respects the ordering of mapping hints, with earlier hints taking precedence over later ones (see section E.2.3).

Bug fix in the UIMA plugin from Roland Cornelissen - AnalysisEnginePR now properly shuts down the wrapped AnalysisEngine when the PR is deleted.

Patch from Matt Nathan to allow several instances of a gazetteer PR in an embedded application to share a single copy of their internal data structures, saving considerable memory compared to loading several complete copies of the same gazetteer lists (see section 13.11).

In the corpus quality assurance, measures for classification tasks have been added. You can also now set the beta for the fscore. This tool has been optimised to work with datastores so that it doesn’t need to read all the documents before comparing them.

A.4 Version 5.1 (December 2009) [#]

Version 5.1 is a major increment with lots of new features and integration of a number of important systems from 3rd parties (e.g. LingPipe, OpenNLP, OpenCalais, a revised UIMA connector). We’ve stuck with the 5 series (instead of jumping to 6.0) because the core remains stable and backwards compatible.

Other highlights include:

A.4.1 New Features

LingPipe Support

LingPipe is a suite of Java libraries for the linguistic analysis of human language. We have provided a plugin called ‘LingPipe’ with wrappers for some of the resources available in the LingPipe library. For more details, see the section 19.16.

OpenNLP Support

OpenNLP provides tools for sentence detection, tokenization, pos-tagging, chunking and parsing, named-entity detection, and coreference. The tools use Maximum Entropy modelling. We have provided a plugin called ‘OpenNLP’ with wrappers for some of the resources available in the OpenNLP Tools library. For more details, see section 19.17.

OpenCalais Support

We added a new PR called ‘OpenCalais PR’. This will process a document through the OpenCalais service, and add OpenCalais entity annotations to the document. For more details, see Section 19.15.

Ontology API

The ontology API (package gate.creole.ontology has been changed, the existing ontology implementation based on Sesame1 and OWLIM2 (package gate.creole.ontology.owlim) has been moved into the plugin Ontology_OWLIM2. An upgraded implementation based on Sesame2 and OWLIM3 that also provides a number of new features has been added as plugin Ontology. See Section 14.13 for a detailed description of all changes.

Benchmarking Improvements

A number of improvements to the benchmarking support in GATE. JAPE transducers now log the time spent in individual phases of a multi-phase grammar and by individual rules within each phase. Other PRs that use JAPE grammars internally (the pronominal coreferencer, English tokeniser) log the time taken by their internal transducers. A reporting tool, called ‘Profiling Reports’ under the ‘Tools’ menu makes summary information easily available. For more details, see chapter 11.

GUI improvements

To deal with quality assurance of annotations, one component has been updated and two new components have been added. The annotation diff tool has a new mode to copy annotations to a consensus set, see section 10.2.1. An annotation stack view has been added in the document editor and it allows to copy annotations to a consensus set, see section 3.4.3. A corpus view has been added for all corpus to get statistics like precision, recall and F-measure, see section 10.3.

An annotation stack view has been added in the document editor to make easier to see overlapping annotations, see section 3.4.3.

ABNER Support

ABNER is A Biomedical Named Entity Recogniser, for finding entities such as genes in text. We have provided a plugin called ‘AbnerTagger’ with a wrapper for ABNER. For more details, see section 17.5.

Generic Tagger Support

A new plugin has been added to provide an easy route to integrate taggers with GATE. The Tagger_Framework plugin provides examples of incorporating a number of external taggers which should serve as a starting point for using other taggers. See Section 17.3 for more details.

Section-by-Section Processing

We have added a new PR called ‘Segment Processing PR’. As the name suggests this PR allows processing individual segments of a document independently of one other. For more details, please look at the section 16.2.10.

Application Composition

The gate.Controller implementations provided with the main GATE distribution now also implement the gate.ProcessingResource interface. This means that an application can now contain another application as one of its components.

Groovy Support

Groovy is a dynamic programming language based on Java. You can now use it as a scripting language for GATE, via the Groovy Console. For more details, see Section 7.16.

A.4.2 JAPE improvements

GATE now produces a warning when any Java right-hand-sides in JAPE rules make use of the deprecated annotations parameter. All bundled JAPE grammars have been updated to use the replacement inputAS and outputAS parameters as appropriate.

The new Imports: statement at the beginning of a JAPE grammar file can now be used to make additional Java import statements available to the Java RHS code, see 8.6.5.

The JAPE debugger has been removed. Debugging of JAPE has been made easier as stack traces now refer to the JAPE source file and line numbers instead of the generated Java source code.

The Montreal Transducer has been made obsolete.

A.4.3 Other improvements and bug fixes

Plugin names have been rationalised. Mappings exist so that existing applications will continue to work, but the new names should be used in the future. Plugin name mappings are given in Appendix B. Also, the Segmenter_Chinese plugin (used to be known as chineseSegmenter plugin) is now part of the Lang_Chinese plugin.

The User Guide has been amalgamated with the Programmer’s Guide; all material can now be found in the User Guide. The ‘How-To’ chapter has been converted into separate chapters for installation, GATE Developer and GATE Embedded. Other material has been relocated to the appropriate specialist chapter.

Made Mac OS launcher 64-bit compatible. See section 2.2.1 for details.

The UIMA integration layer (Chapter 18) has been upgraded to work with Apache UIMA 2.2.2.

Oracle and PostGreSQL are no longer supported.

The MIAKT Natural Language Generation plugin has been removed.

The Minorthird plugin has been removed. Minorthird has changed significantly since this plugin was written. We will consider writing an up-to-date Minorthird plugin in the future.

A new gazetteer, Large KB Gazetteer (in the plugin ‘Gazetteer_LKB’) has been added, see Section 13.10 for details.

gate.creole.tokeniser.chinesetokeniser.ChineseTokeniser and related resources under the plugins/ANNIE/tokeniser/chinesetokeniser folder have been removed. Please refer to the Lang_Chinese plugin for resources related to the Chinese language in GATE.

Added an isInitialised() method to gate.Gate().

Added a parameter to the chemistry tagger PR (section 17.4) to allow it to operate on annotation sets other than the default one.

Plus many more smaller bugfixes...

A.5 Version 5.0 (May 2009) [#]

Note: existing users – if you delete your user configuration file for any reason you will find that GATE Developer 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.

A.5.1 Major New Features

JAPE Language Improvements

Several new extensions to the JAPE language to support more flexible pattern matching. Full details are in Chapter 8 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 8.11 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 4.7 for full details.

Ontology-Based Gazetteer

Added a new plugin ‘Gazetteer_Ontology_Based’, which contains OntoRoot Gazetteer – a dynamically created gazetteer which is, in combination with few other generic resources, capable of producing ontology-aware annotations over the given content with regards to the given ontology. For more details see Section 13.9.

Inter-Annotator Agreement and Merging

New plugins to support tasks involving several annotators working on the same annotation task on the same documents. The plugin ‘Inter_Annotator_Agreement’ (Section 10.5) computes inter-annotator agreement scores between the annotators, the ‘Copy_Annots_Between_Docs’ plugin (Section 19.14) copies annotations from several parallel documents into a single master document, and the ‘Annotation_Merging’ plugin (Section 19.12) 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 3.8.4) which will work for most common cases, but for complex cases you can use the underlying Ant task described in Section E.2.

GUI Improvements

A.5.2 Other New Features and Improvements

A.5.3 Specific Bug Fixes

Plus many more minor bug fixes

A.6 Version 4.0 (July 2007) [#]

A.6.1 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 extension of the Serial Datastores, called Searchable Serial Datastore (SSD). See Section 9 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 15 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 14 for more details.


Ontology-based Corpus Annotation Tool to help annotators to manually annotate documents using ontologies. For more details please see Section 14.6.

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 16 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:

A.6.2 Other New Features and Improvements

A.6.3 Bug Fixes and Optimizations

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

A.7 Version 3.1 (April 2006)

A.7.1 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 Chapter18.

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 19.11.

A.7.2 Other New Features and Improvements

A.7.3 Bug Fixes

A.8 January 2005

Release of version 3.

New plugins for processing in various languages (see 19.1). 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 ‘Learning’ (see section 15.3.5).

A.9 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 7.15 for details.

A.10 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.

A.11 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:

A.12 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);

A.13 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 10.2.1.

A new build process, based on ANT (http://ant.apache.org/) is now available. The old build process, based on make, is now unsupported. See Section 2.5 for details of the new build process.

A Jape Debugger from Ontos AG has been integrated. You can turn integration ON with command line option ‘-j’. If you run GATE Developer 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 ClassCastException 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.

A.14 April 2004

There are now two alternative strategies for ontology-aware grammar transduction:

The changes are in:

More information about the ontology-aware transducer can be found in Section 14.10.

A morphological analyser PR has been added. 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. 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 13.7 for details.

A.15 March 2004

Support was added for the MAXENT machine learning library. (See 15.3.4 for details.)

A.16 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.

Note that as of Version 5.1 PostgreSQL is no longer supported.

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 Developer 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).

A.17 Version 2.1 – February 2003

Integration of Machine Learning PR and WEKA wrapper (see Section 15.3).

Addition of DAML+OIL exporter.

Integration of WordNet (see Section 19.9).

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

A.18 June 2002

Conditional versions of the controllers are now available (see Section 3.7.2). These allow processing resources to be run conditionally on document features.

PostgreSQL Datastores are now supported.

These store data into a PostgreSQL RDBMS.

(As of Version 5.1 PostgreSQL is no longer supported.)

Addition of OntoGazetteer (see Section 13.4), an interface which makes ontologies visible within GATE Developer, 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 19.4).

Modification of the corpus benchmark tool (see Section 10.4.3), which now takes an application as a parameter.

See also for details of other recent bug fixes.