20 comments

  • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 2 years ago

    The problem here is the app store. Lots of apps have nicely formatted, easy to parse release notes. It’s a shame that’s not easy on the App Store.

    Ours are definitely not the best, but they don’t suck. I guess the only real solution for App Store apps is offering release notes somewhere other than the App Store update description, so they can have nicer styling.

    7 points
    • Rob GillRob Gill, over 2 years ago

      Great point Marc thanks for sharing. Hopefully the apps stores will act on this and implement something like your "non-sucky" release notes, they're awesome!

      0 points
      • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 2 years ago

        Oh, and please don’t take my comment as negative. Your article is great, and full of good advice. The suggestions for spacing, bullets and adding ticket numbers were especially good.

        2 points
        • Rob GillRob Gill, over 2 years ago

          My tone didn't come across properly! I was simply saying you link is amazing! If only app stores offered this level of reporting.

          1 point
    • Raphael LoderRaphael Loder, over 2 years ago

      Marc, the example of your version history is a work of beauty. Quick to the point, easy to read (color coded, simple language). I can understand that some people might prefer a more emotional connection and bond to companies or people and therefor find delight in more human or conversational release notes, but I personally prefer the straight to the point approach. Well done, once again.

      Edit: Unrelated, but I'm currently downloading from your website and only get 20KB/s – could there be something wrong with the server? S3 having problems again?

      1 point
      • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 2 years ago

        Thanks! And yep, all our downloads are via S3. S3 is awesome, but as you pointed out, the current speeds likely relate to their recent issues. :/

        1 point
  • Ken Em, over 2 years ago

    How about including release notes in the first place? All of the Facebook apps, I'm looking at you.

    5 points
    • Cooper C, over 2 years ago

      Rob links to this reddit post explaining why Facebook doesn't have them. Though I still agree with you.

      2 points
      • Jesse HeadJesse Head, over 2 years ago

        How can you still agree after reading the reddit post? Genuine question. It's literally impossible for companies like FB to provide release notes when releasing features to subsets of users at a time.

        0 points
        • Cooper C, over 2 years ago

          I guess my cynical attitude towards Facebook leads me to agree with the people in the comments of that post that other large companies like Google manage to find a way to do it, and that Facebook has a history of slipping in "features" that are bad for privacy.

          They intentionally hide what's new because they don't want to lose customers. If they can't be honest with what's coming out in their app, than they can't be trusted, plain and simple. Their response proves that. We make thousands of updates every time your app is updated, but nobody cares about them so buzz off? If anything, they need to be held to a higher accountability for this stuff because, as you say, they are "fucking huge."

          0 points
          • Ken Em, over 2 years ago

            I don't buy the argument that Facebook doesn't have the resources to do this or that it isn't practical. They are deliberately choosing to not include release notes. Other large companies can do it and they can too. I don't expect every single bug fix and pixel tweak to be expressed in detail, but give us an overview of any new features in simple bullet form, so we at least know something about what we are getting. This isn't rocket surgery here folks.

            0 points
            • Jesse HeadJesse Head, over 2 years ago

              I don't buy the argument that Facebook doesn't have the resources to do this

              Until you work for the company, you can't really make that claim.

              They are deliberately choosing to not include release notes.

              This is purely an assumption. I believe they're bound by constraints, but may also be choosing not too... who knows though.

              Other large companies can do it and they can too.

              What other companies? Uber doesn't, Yelp doesn't, Spotify doesn't. Google sometimes does, but that's because they tend to release features platform wide rather than incrementally, which is easier to manage (although this isn't always the case).

              As long as features are being released incrementally, I have zero expectations for companies to list them in release notes. I don't see how anyone can expect companies to do this. You've made a lot of assumptions in your comment that I just don't understand.

              0 points
              • Ken Em, over 2 years ago

                Until you work for the company, you can't really make that claim.

                Please read my comment again. I am not saying that for a fact Facebook does not have the resources to do it, I am saying that I don't buy that they don't. It's my opinion. My opinion isn't wrong.

                This is purely an assumption.

                It's not an assumption. It's spelled out in detail in the Reddit post linked to above. They are making a conscious decision to not include release notes.

                What other companies?

                In looking at the updated apps on my iGadgets, I see three major companies which have included release notes for new features or stuff that's been fixed:

                • Yahoo (Tumblr, Flickr apps)
                • Google (GMail, YouTube apps)
                • Microsoft (Outlook app)

                Again, as I said earlier, I'm not looking for every single thing that's been tweaked to be spelled out in detail. But if there are new features or major bugs that have been fixed, I think those are good things for users to know about when they see an update pop up on their device.

                0 points
                • Jesse HeadJesse Head, over 2 years ago

                  I agree and disagree with some of your replies (mainly semantics, which is why I'm moving on for now), but the thing I still don't get is this line:

                  if there are new features or major bugs that have been fixed, I think those are good things for users to know about when they see an update pop up on their device.

                  I agree that it's good for users to know about these features/fixes. But how are major companies supposed to show them in the App Store's release notes, when many (if not all) of these 'new features' are released incrementally? It makes no business sense to promote a new feature in the release notes, when X% of users won't even have access to that feature for who knows how long (often weeks).

                  0 points
  • Account deleted over 2 years ago

    Very good article, hopefully more apps will take this into consideration and not just put the lazy, boring "bug fixes and performance improvements".

    I really like Medium's notes, telling a story makes it very coherent with the product itself; it's enjoyable too.

    2 points
  • Noah MittmanNoah Mittman, over 2 years ago

    Preach!

    1 point
  • Jari ZwartsJari Zwarts, over 2 years ago

    What, are you telling me there are companies that enter anything else than 'Improvements & bugfixes' into the notes? What is this magical world I've never heard of?

    1 point
  • Luis da SilvaLuis da Silva, over 2 years ago

    I'm glad I'm not the only one reading release notes before updating.

    Up you go. ^

    1 point
  • Alexander Muller, over 2 years ago

    I was thinking about this also. hehe

    1 point