Troubleshooting problems

So, you've followed all the above steps, fire up Kirrkirr, and nothing loads or it stalls while loading, or it loads, but nothing appears in panels.... What do you do now? To be honest, since Kirrkirr was originally built under a model where the program provider also did the data preparation, Kirrkirr isn't always maximally friendly about putting up dialog boxes explaining problems etc. The GUI essentially deals with the case where the data is okay. If there are problems, it will dump messages about them to the standard output stream. However, if you are running Kirrkirr from a normal GUI interface, unfortunately you will never see those error messages.... Here's how to deal with that.

Way 1: Open (with a standard text editor) the file kirrkirr.lax that you can find in the directory where you installed Kirrkirr. Find the line where it says:

and change it to something like:
All error messages while Kirrkirr runs will then be saved in the file err.txt, where you can examine them.

Way 2: If you are using an operating system with a command-line, such as Windows, open a command window and run Kirrkirr from there. The included KApp.bat should indicate roughly what's needed, though you may well have to change the path to Java (or rewrite it in bash for Linux). Error reports will then go to the command-line window.

Resolving problems

Normally problems that cause Kirrkirr not to load or display anything are fairly fundamental, and fixable, once one knows what they are. This is mainly motherhood-and-apple-pie advice, but the essential things to check are:

  1. Check that all XML files are well-formed. It's easy to make a mistake, if editing files in a text editor. Use a web browser or XML Editor to check that XML files do not have errors in them.
  2. Check that the index files are up-to-date for the current version of the dictionary. If you update the dictionary, you need to always use Tools|Make index files to update the indices that Kirrkirr uses. Also, be aware of the following gotcha: if you move files between computers, or manipulate them with some zip/archive tools, some tools (often depending on various preferences) may change line-endings to match the defaults of various operating systems. If this happens, previously generated index files will be wrong and will not work (Kirrkirr indices use byte offsets, which become invalid when file line endings are changed). If in doubt, regenerate the index files, and see if that fixes things.
  3. If things aren't working there will probably be some error messages printed. Make sure you are able to see them, as discussed above. Their format might be unfriendly, but in many cases they will indicate the problem. For example, if you see:
                Welcome to KirrKirr
    --------- UNCAUGHT EXCEPTION --------- C:\Kirrkirr\Test\test12.clk (The
    system cannot find the file specified)
            at Method)
            at Kirrkirr.dictionary.DictionaryCache.(
            at Kirrkirr.Kirrkirr.mainInit(
            at Kirrkirr.Kirrkirr.main(
    Couldn't open the dictionary! Exiting...
    Then this means that Kirrkirr is unhappy because the primary index file specified in doesn't actually exist, and this should be fixed. (Even if you can't interpret the error message fully, it will almost certainly help the program's authors.)

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Christopher Manning -- <> -- Last modified: Tue Jan 27 15:49:37 PST 2004