The MathWorks released MATLAB R2014b (version 8.4) last week, and right on its heels we released PLS_Toolbox 7.9. R2014b has a number of improvements that MATLAB and PLS_Toolbox users will appreciate, specifically with graphics. The new MATLAB is more aesthetically pleasing to the eye, easier for the Color Vision Deficiency (CVD) challenged, and smoother due to better anti-aliasing. An example is shown below where the new CVD-friendly Parula color map is used to indicated the Q-residual values of the samples.
But the most significant changes in R2014b are really for people (like us) that program in MATLAB. For instance, TMW didn’t just change the look of the graphics, they actually changed the entire handle graphics system to be object oriented. They also added routines useful in big data applications, and improved their handling of date and time data. When you start the new MATLAB the command window greets you with this:
“Some existing code may need to be revised to work in this version of MATLAB.” That is something of an understatement. In fact, R2014b required the update of almost every interface from PLS_Toolbox 7.8. Revising our code to work with R2014b required hundreds of hours. But the good news for our users is that we were ready with PLS_Toolbox 7.9 when R2014b was released AND, as always, we made our code work with previous versions of MATLAB (back to R2008a). This, of course, is the significant difference between a supported commercial product and freeware. Not only do you get new features regularly, but you can rely on it being supported as operating systems and platforms change.
So if you look at the Version 7.9 Release Notes, you won’t see a lot of major changes. Instead, we took the time to assure compatibility with R2014b and made many minor changes to improve usability and stability.
The new MATLAB will allow our command-line and scripting users to do their science more efficiently and present their result more elegantly. These improvements will benefit us as well, and will ultimately translate into continued improvement in PLS_Toolbox and Solo.