If you’ve ever created a WordPress Theme, a WordPress plugin, or any software application for that matter, then you’ve probably created a changelog of sorts to help users and other interested parties (e.g. developers) understand exactly what was changed since the last version.
For those that aren’t quite sure, here’s a quick definition:
A changelog is a log or record of changes made to a project, such as a website or software project, usually including such records as bug fixes, new features, etc. Some open source projects include a changelog as one of the top level files in their distribution.
As a programmer myself I know that the changelog has been a vital part of helping me to jump into someone else’s work, assist in development, or simply understand from a top-level perspective what is going on.
But, I’ll admit that I am the worst offender when it comes to updating my own changelogs and making them more than just a notice; that is, making them actually useful and consistent.
So when it was asked on the Make boards whether or not changelogs should be required or recommended I felt a twinge of shame as I know that, generally speaking, changelogs are a very good and necessary thing but if someone had required me to have them I would most likely balk.
Emil Uzelac puts is plainly:
In past months we noticed that Theme Authors either do not have the changelog or the changelog is very poor.
Here are some examples:
- Version 1.1 – Improvements
- Version 1.1 – Minor Menu Changes
- Version 1.1 – Font Size Change
Which does not really say anything at all. Or the changelog that was not updated in months.
Luckily for us we have trac, but it would be easier for us and for users to know what is going on when author releases a Theme.
So, what do you think? Should WordPress drop the hammer and require that changelogs be updated better and with more information and require a level of quality or should it simply continue to be a strong recommendation?
Are you guilty of being as bad as I am in terms of changelogs? Don’t leave me hanging as the only one!