Plugins And The Lack Of Change Logs

The other day, I noticed I had about 9 plugins that needed to be upgraded. So I browsed to the plugin management page in WordPress 2.8 and noticed the link to view the details regarding the new plugin version as I figure that will tell me why I should upgrade. Once I click on this link, I get a lightbox popup showing me the same view I would see if I were looking at this plugin on the WordPress.org plugin repository. Tabs to see the description, installation, screenshots, Faq and other notes. No Change Log link.

nochangelog

So, I end up clicking on the plugin homepage link which takes me to where ever this plugin calls home on the net which is typically a post on a blog announcing its release or in some instances, a page dedicated to the plugin. Often times though, the plugin homepage link takes me to the root of the site and I end up having to dig around and search until I find a post about the version in question. What an aggravating experience.

I do have a bit of good news though. Some plugin authors actually provide changelogs within the description tab of the plugin. Others provide a direct link to a page which contains the changelog which is better than nothing.

changeloglink

I’m not a plugin developer so I’m not sure if this is possible but, the best solution would be to include a Change Log link along with the other links such as description, installation, etc. I’ll have a hard time believing this doesn’t make any sense but plugins now a days are coming out with new versions where I can’t easily see what has been changed and before you know it, some option has been added and turned on by default without my knowledge.

I’m interested to know what your thoughts are on this issue.

10 Comments


  1. Next time WP Super Cache is updated you’ll be happy then. It has a “Recent Changes” list on the front page. It’s definitely something I’d like to see more plugin authors do.

    Now if only I could actually get someone to try out the dev version I’ve been tweeting about since Friday ..
    .-= ´s last blog ..Zhong Tai, the 250 mile electric SUV =-.

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  2. @Donncha O Caoimh – Hey Donncha, thanks for stopping by and chiming in. So you see where I’m coming from? So I need to light a fire under the plugin authors?

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  3. What’s crazy is that it is so easy to add another tab on the plugin info page on wordpress.org. It all comes from the readme file, and the example even shows ho to do it. I think the problem though is that in that example file, a change log tab isn’t suggested, so maybe plugin authors don’t think to do it. Maybe the example readme should be changed to include it?

    I’ll be putting a new tab too on the next update of my new user email plugin!
    .-= ´s last blog ..Get Posts With Same Custom Field VALUE As Current Post =-.

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  4. couldn’t agree more with you. every time somethign needs an update, the same hunt for the changelog starts again :-(

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  5. Thanks for putting it out there Jeffro.

    I’ve got the exact same issue whenever I’m upgrading my plugins. I’d particularly like to know what the changes are – and whether I’m there’s some sort of change that fixes an exploit (so I can let my friends know) or whether there have been new features added or features removed, so I can use the plug-in to its full ability.

    It’s not professional to leave a user in the dark with product changes.
    .-= ´s last blog ..Microsoft to Release Beta Version of Free Anti-Virus “Soon” =-.

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  6. I have the changelog on the front page of all my plugins, so if you click the More Details from within WordPress, then you’ll be able to see the changes

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  7. All plugin developers should include a changelog in view from the admin panel. This hadn’t occurred to me until late last year when Greg Yingling (developer of the WP Slimbox 2 plugin) mentioned to me that I should do it.

    I don’t think is laziness on the part of plugin developers, they’ve probably just never thought of it. Greg was the only person I’ve heard recommend this until I read this post today.
    .-= ´s last blog ..Beta: bbPress Forum Theme Generator =-.

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