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How to use

This document describes the usage of PatchSequenceApply python module


This module is mainly used to automatically apply a series of Patches in sequence order on a running VistA instance.

This script is intended to be used for development only, and use it at you own risk. Please do NOT try it on production environment!

Before running the script, please make sure

  • Already setup the required environment. If not, please refer to Setup Script Environment
  • Already backup the current VistA instance.

With provided patches top directory, this script will first generate a valid patch sequence order based on topologic sort (refer to PatchOrderGenerator for more detail), query the running VistA instance to filter out patches that are already installed, then generate a list of patches in valid sequence order and finally apply those patches in order.

It will print out error and exit if

  • No valid sequences order exists.
  • Could not install patches to the running VistA due to
    • Required patches are not installed.
    • Patch might be out of order.

Generate patch sequence order

It is highly recommended to print out a list of patches in sequence order first before actally installing any of the patches.


python -p <path_to_top_patches_dir> -l <path_to_log_dir> <VistA_connection_arguments>

Sample output:

python -p ../Packages -l /tmp/ -S 2
Total patches are 114
ECX*3.0*140, ECX, /home/jasonli/git/VistA/Packages/DSS Extracts/Patches/ECX_3.0_140/ECX-3_SEQ-125_PAT-140.KID
LEX*2.0*84, LEX, /home/jasonli/git/VistA/Packages/Lexicon Utility/Patches/LEX_2.0_84/LEX-2_SEQ-76_PAT-84.KID
PSJ*5.0*278, PSJ, /home/jasonli/git/VistA/Packages/Inpatient Medications/Patches/PSJ_5.0_278/PSJ-5_SEQ-237_PAT-278.KID
GMRC*3.0*74, GMRC, /home/jasonli/git/VistA/Packages/Consult Request Tracking/Patches/GMRC_3.0_74/GMRC-3_SEQ-66_PAT-74.KID
OR*3.0*362, OR, /home/jasonli/git/VistA/Packages/Order Entry Results Reporting/Patches/OR_3.0_362/OR-3_SEQ-309_PAT-362.KID
PSO*7.0*374, PSO, /home/jasonli/git/VistA/Packages/Outpatient Pharmacy/Patches/PSO_7.0_374/PSO-7_SEQ-350_PAT-374.KID
PRCA*4.5*292, PRCA, /home/jasonli/git/VistA/Packages/Accounts Receivable/Patches/PRCA_4.5_292/PRCA-4P5_SEQ-258_PAT-292.KID
IB*2.0*474, IB, /home/jasonli/git/VistA/Packages/Integrated Billing/Patches/IB_2.0_474/IB-2_SEQ-449_PAT-474.KID
PSS*1.0*150, PSS, /home/jasonli/git/VistA/Packages/Pharmacy Data Management/Patches/PSS_1.0_150/PSS-1_SEQ-154_PAT-150.KID
IB*2.0*457, IB, /home/jasonli/git/VistA/Packages/Integrated Billing/Patches/IB_2.0_457/IB-2_SEQ-450_PAT-457.KID

Apply patches

There are a few ways to customize on how to apply the patches in order:

  1. Specify the number of patches to apply
    • just append -i -n <number of patches> to the above command, the default is just one patch if -n option is not provided.
    • -i -n all will apply all the patches
  2. Apply patches up to specified patch installation name
    • just append -i -u <patch_install_name>
  3. Apply the specified patch and all required patches only
    • just append -i -o <patch_install_name>
    • this option will ignore the dependencies that specified in the CSV files (see PatchOrderGenerator for more detail)

Potential Issues

The automatic patching is certainly not a foolproof system. The entries below list a few of the issues that OSEHRA has come across while using the framework and some potential solutions for those problems.

Required patch is not installed

This problem arises when the available set of patches requires the install of a particular file, but it isn't found among the currently available patches.


From PatchSequenceApply output:

2016-01-20 10:41:53,365 INFO Checking for patch info PSN*4.0*455
2016-01-20 10:41:54,112 ERROR dep PSN*4.0*453 is not installed for PSN*4.0*455 c:\Users\softhat\Desktop\wget\Oct2015\NDF4P455.KIDs
2016-01-20 10:41:54,112 ERROR Can not install patch PSN*4.0*455


Download the patch, if available, from or another source and place it in the directory with the target patch.

Patch requires additional global information

Certain patches require an update to the globals to be installed prior to the installation of the patch. This global file is typically stored as a *.GBL and sent along with the patch. The framework is able to install the global file prior to patching, but an update is necessary to one of the framework's Python files.


From VistAInteraction.log:

Running checksum routine on the ^LEXM import global, please wait
Missing import global ^LEXM.

     Please obtain a copy of the import global ^LEXM contained in the
     global host file LEX_2_101.GBL before continuing with the LEX*2.0*101

LEX*2.0*101 Build will not be installed, Transport Global deleted!
            Jan 20, 2016@13:41:25


Acquire global file and place it in the same directory as the patch. Alter the KIDS_SINGLE_FILE_ASSOCIATION_DICT structure within the file. This should have a mapping of the global file name to the install name. For the above example, the following would be added to the dictionary:

"LEX_2_101.GBLs": "LEX*2.0*101"

Patch is unable to be parsed

This error is found when the parser of the KIDS builds comes across a malformed KIDS file. This could be due to missing or extra lines or may even be an end-of-line formatting issue.


File "c:\Users\joe.snyder\Work\OSEHRA\VistA\Scripts\", line 708, in __onEndSectionStart__
  assert, "Wrong end of line format %s" % line2
AssertionError: Wrong end of line format


Searching the output leads to the following set of warnings regarding a specific patch:

2016-01-20 11:16:25,438 INFO Parsing KIDS file c:\Users\softhat\Desktop\wget\Sep2015\XU_8_655_SEQ_518.KIDs
2016-01-20 11:16:25,582 WARNING Can not parse  ;;
2016-01-20 11:16:25,584 WARNING Can not parse 8.0^22.0
2016-01-20 11:16:25,584 WARNING Can not parse SECID^F^^205;1^K:$L(X)>40!($L(X)<3) X

Checking this location reveals that an extra line has been added to the text of the KIDS build. Remove the extra text and restart the PatchSequencyApply script to restart the parsing.

Installer timeout

The script of the installer expects a specific set of questions to be asked. If more questions are included, either as part of a pre/post install routine or as part of the install process, the script will not be able to answer the question and the patching process will stop.


From PatchSequenceApply output:

pexpect.TIMEOUT: Timeout exceeded in read_nonblocking().
<winpexpect.winspawn object at 0x02363790>
version: 2.6 (1)
command: plink.exe
args: ['plink.exe', '-telnet', '', '-P', '23']
searcher: searcher_re:
  0: re.compile("Install\ Started\ for\ MAG\*3\.0\*163\ \:")
  1: re.compile("MAG\*3\.0\*163\ Installed\.")
  2: re.compile("Running Pre-Install Routine:")
  3: re.compile("Running Post-Install Routine:")
  4: re.compile("Starting Menu Rebuild:")
  5: re.compile("Installing Routines:")
  6: re.compile("Installing Data:")
  7: re.compile("Menu Rebuild Complete:")
  8: re.compile("Installing PACKAGE COMPONENTS:")
  9: re.compile("Send mail to: ")
  10: re.compile("Select Installation ")
  11: re.compile("Install Completed")
buffer (last 100 chars):            ?[23;1H    0?[12;43H
Update Imaging Index Terms with the latest Distribution (Y/N)? Y//
before (last 100 chars):            ?[23;1H    0?[12;43H
Update Imaging Index Terms with the latest Distribution (Y/N)? Y//

The timeout here required an update to the running of the pre-install routine to answer the new question.


The Patching process can be extended to allow questions like this to be answered via the use of a 'Custom Installer'. The custom installer is a Python file which is added to the same directory as the patch. There are some examples of Custom Installers available within the OSEHRA VistA repository already. The general structure of the file consists of a class called CustomInstaller which extends upon the DefaultKIDSBuildInstaller class. Within that class, functions should be added which override or extend the functions found in DefaultKIDSBuildInstaller to account for the new information.

Writing a custom installer

The Custom Installer does need a specific name in order to be picked up by the automatic patching framework. It should have the same name as the KIDS install name of the patch, with the asterisks, *, being replaced with underscores, _. In the above example, the patch name is MAG*3.0*163, which leads to the custom installer file being named

The declaration of the CustomInstaller class is essentially the same for all instances with a single command that should be made specific to each installer. Just before the DefaultKIDSBuildInstaller.__init__ function is run, the program asserts that some information matches hard-coded text values in the script, specicially the KIDS Install Name and the Sequence Number of the patch. Set these values for the specific patch. In the above example, the patch name is MAG*3.0*163 while the sequence number, taken from the accompanying text file, is 119.

The next and final bit of customization is to write the functions or new commands to answer the new prompts. For the above case, this would require changing the runPreInstallationRoutine function.

def runPreInstallationRoutine(self, connection, **kargs):
  connection.expect("Update Imaging Index Terms with the latest Distribution")

Another scenario, which has been encountered already, is the presence of an additional prompt during the actual install process. The custom installer used in that scenario copied and modified the __handleKIDSInstallQuestions__ function. Here, new actions were added to the KidsMenuActionList list which is used to monitor the progress of the install.

def __handleKIDSInstallQuestions__(self, connection):
  connection.expect("Select INSTALL NAME:")
  if not result:
    return False
  kidsMenuActionLst = self.KIDS_MENU_OPTION_ACTION_LIST
  # Custom lines for the patch
  kidsMenuActionLst.append(("Maximum number of registry update subtasks", "", False))
  kidsMenuActionLst.append(("Suspend the post-install during the peak hours", "", False))
  kidsMenuActionLst.append(("Date/Time to run the new registry initialize task", "", False))
  # End custom lines
  while True:

Parsing reports a dependency cycle

The automatic patching framework attempts to install the KIDS builds with the proper order. It takes into account the KIDS builds that are listed as required in the documentation, the sequence number of the patch, and even order within a multibuild KIDS patch. If a cycle is detected, the framework will not install the available patches until the cycle is broken.


2018-09-19 16:02:22,858 ERROR This is a cycle among these items:
2018-09-19 16:02:22,858 ERROR Failed to sort patches: DAG is NOT acyclic
2018-09-19 16:02:22,859 INFO Total patches are 0


The above problem is a convergence of the extra dependencies causing a cycle of dependencies.

Unfortunately, the solution so far have been to remove available information from the parser's reach. Tne solution for the above problem was to remove patches from the most recent spreadsheet.