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st: Automatically updating user written programs


From   "Tony Brady" <tony@sealedenvelope.com>
To   "Statalist" <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   st: Automatically updating user written programs
Date   Sat, 5 Oct 2002 11:40:59 +0100

In a recent thread on Statalist Roger Harbord expressed some frustration
with keeping programs downloaded from SSC and elsewhere up-to-date. At the
moment there is no built in process for maintaining these programs, it
relies on the user trying to re-download the ado and being told that "all
files already exist and are up-to-date." To do this for all non-official
Stata programs would obviously be extremely laborious.

As an author of ado programs, it would be nice to know that people are
mostly using the latest version of my programs, if only to keep the
half-life of my bugs to a minimum. At the moment typing:

. update

is synonymous with typing

. update from http://www.stata.com

So users could, in theory, type:

. update from http://repec.org

or

. update from http://www.sealedenvelope.com

to keep some of their non-official files up-to-date. Unfortunately, neither
of these last 2 commands will work at the moment with Stata reporting that
it can't find a stata.upd file on these servers. For my part this is because
I wasn't aware of the "update from" syntax until about 5 minutes ago and I
can't immediately find any documentation on what the contents of a stata.upd
file should look like.

So where's all this leading? I have two comments:
1. People like myself and Kit Baum who maintain websites with Stata programs
on them should probably get to know what a stata.upd file should look like
(apologies to Kit if I typed the wrong URL above)
2. Wouldn't it be great if Stata looked for a stata.upd file on repec.org,
sealedenvelope.com and anywhere else the user had previously installed
programs from when the user just typed "update all"? All really would mean
all then. Since Stata already maintains a database of user installed
programs I suspect this might not be too hard to implement.

Tony Brady

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