Changelogs, Changelogs, Changelogs

A Changelog is a very important thing for a project and until recently it wasn’t easy to add one to your WordPress plugin hosted in Extend.  Some plugin authors understood the benefit of providing there users with the information and were adding it in different places but it was not easy to track down where it was and it some cases your only hope was a trail of clicks across the web to the plugin Authors site to hunt down the post detailing what had changed in this version.

For me, a changelog is a very important thing it is all about justifying to your users why they should upgrade to the latest version of your plugin as well as reassuring them that the changes made have been made for specific reasons and helping them to understand the impact the changes may have on there usage of your plugin.

This has been a hot topic of late and we were discussing it on last nights WP Weekly podcast so I set off to see if I could track down the right person to get a change made to give all plugins a separate top level Changelog tab on there WordPress extend page.

This morning to my delight I found that a Changelog feature had been added and now we have a standardised way for plugins to add Changelogs.  Basically there is a new section in the readme.txt standard which allows for you to document your changelog as your plugin develops.  The new section looks like this:

== Changelog ==

= 1.0 =
* A change since the previous version.
* Another change.

= 0.5 =
* List versions from most recent at top to oldest at bottom.

Which produces the follow style of display on the plugins page in Extend:

Example of the changelog output
Example of the changelog output

And the information will also be displayed in a separate tab in the administration section of your WordPress blog by the plugin installer and updater:

The view of the changelog in the WordPress admin pages
The view of the changelog in the WordPress administration pages

So please go forth and update your plugins readme.txt file and let your users benifit from the information about what has changed between versions.

46 thoughts on “Changelogs, Changelogs, Changelogs

  1. Excellent, thanks, I’ll task that into my Trac system and ping Mark or Michael when it gets to the top of my priority stack.

    1. Thanks Mark!

      I was sure the code would be out there somewhere just couldn’t find it with the power of google.

      Of course now I know what to search for it’s the top result!

  2. Very glad this was pushed for. It was a common complaint of mine as well. Hopefully plug-in authors will widely adopt this. I’ve added it into my plug-ins, just waiting for the refresh so my plug-in pages will start taking advantage of it 🙂

    Thanks again.

  3. 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…

  4. Sweet addition to the readme.txt. I just updated the readme of two of my plugins, Google Analyticator and Podcasting, to support the new changelog standard.

    As both a plugin developer and plugin user who likes to know what’s changed, this is greatly appreciated and should make the automatic update process even more seamless. I will no longer have to hunt down a changelog.

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