What is the "rules" file?
Each program in our family (Feathers, Partridge, Raptor, Goosefeathers, Ptarmigan, Talon, etc.) regularly checks a "rules" file on our web site which provides two benefits.
As you may know, the US Patent Office fiddles with its web sites from time to time, giving no consideration to the possibility that such fiddling would make it impossible for programs such as Partridge and Feathers to work. When they do this, we often find that by revising the "rules" file we are able to accommodate the fiddling by the Patent Office and restore Partridge and Feathers to their normal function. Your software checks the "rules" file to see if it has changed, and if it has, then your software downloads the new "rules" file. In this way, we are able to keep your software working despite problems created by the Patent Office's actions, all without your having to worry about it.
The second benefit is that the "rules" file allows us to communicate to you the availability of a new version of the software. Sometimes the Patent Office will make such radical changes to their web sites that it is not possible to use the "rules" file to accommodate the changes. When this happens we create a new version of Partridge or Feathers with a new version number. The new version number is provided in the "rules" file. When you run your software, it checks to see if the "rules" file indicates that the version number has changed. In that case, you will see a message inviting you to download the new version. You do this by clicking a button and the rest is automatic.