What Is An Application Patch?

If you have had an automatic update to your phone or computer, then you have experienced the work of an application patch. Simply put, an application patch is computer code that is applied to an existing software program to make some kind of change to the program. These days, patches designed to fix security vulnerabilities come often. But they are also used for operations besides security. A patch may be used to fix a software bug, add a new feature, or fix a stability issue. In some cases, an application patch may replace the software completely. This might be the case for a major software version update.

Be wise: update!

These days most patches are applied to software automatically, but it is not uncommon for users to be required to initiate the update process. In these cases, it may be tempting to skip the patch but unless you know what you’re doing this is not a wise move. While it may seem that your software is running just fine, there may be things happening under the hood that you are unaware of. This is particularly the case when it comes to security updates. It is virtually impossible for users to stay up-to-date with the malicious programs that lurk out there. Developers, on the other hand, must constantly work to stay on top of these issues and roll out updates so that your system remains secure.

Open source software

In the world of open source software (software which has code that can be modified by the general public), patches are extremely important since they are used by developers to improve the software. A programmer will write a piece of code to add or change a feature rather than using a patch management tool and applying the patch to modify the software. Depending on the software, the patch may or may not be reviewed by a project manager before it is released to the public.

Patches protect us

Most of us don’t think much about application patches. They pop up now and then, and we apply them. For most of us, it’s just another part of owning an electronic device. In reality, the discipline of handling and maintaining patches can be quite complicated. Releasing a particular patch can be a huge decision for a large company; well-intended patches sometimes have unexpected results. Overall, while applying a patch may at times be an annoyance, they are important in keeping our software running smoothly and protecting us from malicious code.

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