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Attention All Plugin Authors

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June 20th, 2009
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WordPress

Today is the day of changelogs for plugins in the WordPress plugin repository. Back on June 15th, I vented about the fact that most Plugins didn’t provide an easily accessible changlog that notified me of why I should upgrade to the latest version of their plugin. Some plugins provided this information in the description tab while others placed it within the Other Notes link. Still others linked directly to a blog post explaining what had changed. The end user experience of trying to figure out why a plugin should be upgraded was a nightmare which is why I proposed that a new top level link be added along side Installation, Other Notes, etc called Changelog which provides a short and sweet history of version numbers and changes. This idea had been proposed before but no one managed to find time to address it.

changeloginaction

Thanks to some great work by Peter Westwood and Mdawaffe, the example Readme.txt file which is used by all plugin authors to manage their plugins now has an example of the changelog in action. In fact, if you’d like to know how to implement this right away for your plugin, please read this blog post by Peter Westwood as it clearly illustrates how easy it is to add.

I encourage every single one of you plugin authors out there to add a changelog to your plugin. As an end user, I want to know up front and center why I should upgrade to the latest version without having to search the web for a blog post regarding the release. I think this is a change that benefits everyone.

If you’re an end user, please chime in and let me know if you think this information is important enough to deserve its own link on the plugin information page.

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29
Responses

 

Comments

  1. Ryan (55 comments.) says:

    I added a changelog as soon as you mentioned this:
    http://wordpress.org/extend/pl.....changelog/

  2. seenu (1 comments.) says:

    yes,
    its really important,
    because many times i prefer old version ( because of new, waste features or mysql over usage features in new version)

    and using their changelog i can find which version i want and i can download just that.

  3. Leland (16 comments.) says:

    I also agree that it’s really important to have changelog information for not only plugins, but also themes. When I see an update has been released, I want to know what’s changed. Whether there was a security fix, minor bug fix, or just a few extra features…it makes a difference.

    I noticed some plugins already have this information, although with a dedicated “Changelog” tab, hopefully it will encourage other developers to do the same when they release an update.

  4. Jessi Hance (4 comments.) says:

    As a plugin user, I vote YES for changelogs!

  5. Dave (15 comments.) says:

    Thanks for helping to make this happen. As a plugin user, I agree, it’s a needed feature.

  6. Ryan Rampersad (9 comments.) says:

    I think it is an absolutely necessity. I always want to know what has changed between updates and I’ve felt strongly about this topic for some time, that many of my favorite plugins would sometimes have multiple updates in the same day with no clearly visible explanation. A simple but very visible changelog would address my concerns.

    Thanks for pushing this!

  7. MrCorey (4 comments.) says:

    I’ve been hoping to see this functionality added since the plugin site was created. Thanks go out to the great coders who added it to the pages.

  8. MontanaMax (1 comments.) says:

    As a plugin user and author I am very much in favor of this. I had a section in my readme.txt before called “Feature Releases” with this information, but it’s much better to have everyone putting this information in the same spot. I’m converting to this method now.

    Thanks,

  9. Alphawolf (6 comments.) says:

    That’s great news! I was waiting for this for so long since version info are the first I am seeking before updating a plugin.

    I’m about to release a plugin that displays the changelog for the latest version of a plugin in the plugin list without having to open the thickbox and browse to the changelog tab.

  10. kanenas.net (1 comments.) says:

    I think it is very important for changelog to exist! I always look for that when it comes to plugins. It has saved me a lot of time… for example “Why should i upgrade a plugin if the only change is in the language pack? Especially a language pack that I DON’T USE!?!?”

  11. mushou (1 comments.) says:

    I agree it a hassle to search the web for a Blog post regarding the latest release. Quite often I forgo it and install the latest version, sometimes just to discover that it was not the enhancement I was really yearning for! Such a waste of time! Of course the PlugIn authors have that way more hits and more important a few more visitors landing on their pages, which I certainly do not want to deprive them of. They can however rest assured if their Plugin is good, I will visit their site just to show my gratitude. I hope other PlugIn users do the same. Using ChangeLog should hopefully increase their prestige in the free community. Thanks to all the PlugIn developers for enriching and easing the hassles of our online lives… and Changelog is certainly a boon that way.

  12. The Frosty @WPCult (11 comments.) says:

    I agree! And fully back this.

    • Jeff Chandler (1 comments.) says:

      Awesome Frosty :) Thanks for helping to spread the word

  13. Leefe (4 comments.) says:

    I too think it would be nice for plugin authors to keep users up to day with the changes they make on their plugin.

    Some of the more popular ones that seem to have been updated once or twice a week recently, with no indication as to what had changed. If I was being cynical, I would say that it was just to increase the number of downloads their plugin has. Keeping them towards to the top of the ranking. :)

  14. Dave Doolin (25 comments.) says:

    Could someone give me a pointer to the script used to format the readme.txt file?

    I would really appreciate it!

    I have looked around a bit, can’t find any reference to it. I’m probably missing something obvious.

    Thanks!

  15. E-TARD (6 comments.) says:

    yeah there soo needs to be a changelog or something that tells us whats new about this plugin.
    When a update to a plugin comes out I install it & then look & see if there is anything new or anything I need to know,
    on top of that what if the user has made changes to the plugin
    if he new what the update holds for him
    he may find that going with the update is not a must
    & can do it when he has the time.

  16. Dougal Campbell (35 comments.) says:

    Huzzah! Glad to see this go in. Though, for some reason, even though my newest plugins already had Changelog sections, their changelogs are still in the “Other notes” section instead of as a top-level item. Maybe it’s cached or something…

    • Jeff Chandler (171 comments.) says:

      Your plugin files actually have to change in order for the readme.txt file to be regenerated with the new link in place.

      • Dougal Campbell (35 comments.) says:

        For the record, it doesn’t require a new version to be tagged. If you update your readme.txt in trunk, it will pick up the existing changelog info.

        In case anybody wondered.

  17. WebDev (2 comments.) says:

    Good work :) This is really helpful.

  18. Mosey (20 comments.) says:

    Changelogs are king! I definitely find them very useful and it will also help to point out any potential clashes with other plugins (e.g. use of script etc.) Glad that someone out there did take up your great idea and help to implement it!


Tweetbacks

  1. blognews (blognews) (104 comments.) says:

    [planet wordpress]: Weblog Tools Collection: Attention All Plugin Authors: Today is the day o.. http://tinyurl.com/nf6nqt

  2. highermusic (J.S. Epperson) (2 comments.) says:

    Attention All WordPress Plugin Authors: Today is the day of changelogs for plugins in the WordPress plugin repository – http://bit.ly/RQ1mO

  3. WordPressYes (WordPress Yes!) (94 comments.) says:

    Attention All Plugin Authors: Today is the day of changelogs for plugins in the WordPress plugin repository. Bac.. http://tinyurl.com/nf6nqt

  4. ryanmr (Ryan Rampersad) (1 comments.) says:

    Just found out about the push for proper changelogs for WordPress Plugins, located directly on the wordpress repo page! http://bit.ly/RQ1mO


Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] there’s some good news for all of you who like to check out the changelogs before upgrading plugins, but it’ll [...]

  2. [...] Thanks to some great work done by Peter Westwood and Mdawaffe, we now have support for changelogs in the WordPress Plugin Readme standard. The information specified in the changelog will be displayed in a separate tab in the WordPress extend pages like shown in the below screenshot from WTC. [...]

  3. [...] this sucks. But guess what? It doesn’t have to suck; according to this Weblog Tools Collection post from nearly a month ago, WordPress supports a standard method of including a “Changelog” [...]

  4. [...] If you are a plu­gin developer, you might want to read this art­icle writ­ten by Jeff detail­ing the changes for readme.txt to include changelogs. [...]

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