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Store Changelog
173

Dear developers: Please start using changelogs for Windows Phone 8.1 apps

Changelogs. They’re the list of reasons why we want to update an app or game. It’s the simplest thing that some app creators often ignore. It’s baffling. Version 1.2 of your app is out? Great, umm, why do I care unless you tell me?

Granted, in Windows Phone 8.0, and earlier there was no real region for a proper list of changes, resulting in some developers creating pop-up screens detailing the fixes upon first launch, or a separate area under ‘About’ where they can detail their continuing hard work, or even jamming it under the app description in the Store. It wasn’t ideal, but people definitely appreciated the effort.

But developers, you no longer have such an excuse with Windows Phone 8.1. And we hope you notice.

For our audience, if you head to the Store in the 8.1 Preview, you can tap on an app to see the new layout. There are four sections, including Overview, Reviews, Details and Related. You’ll want to start paying attention to the Details page, because developers now have an optional ‘New in this version’ subheading. That’s where you’ll find those app changes (assuming the developer filled it out).

Changelogs are a small but important addition. We’re already seeing our favorite indie developers using it with vigor for each and every 0.01 update. And that’s just it, my developer friends. No one cares how insignificant the change in your app or game is just tell us, because if you don’t care enough to tell me, then I feel less inclined to update. Plus, you will look like you’re doing stuff to support your creation! At the very least, give yourself some credit for your programming effort.

Microsoft has now given you the proper space to talk to your audience. Use it. They’ll thank you for it. 

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Comments

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PureView says:

Apple made it mandatory on iOS to include a changelog. I hope it's the same case here.

Nik Rolls says:

Currently it's not, the field says 'optional'.

Well most devs have a change log whenever I see updates in the app. I AT LEAST see "bug fixes".

tkdmacgeek says:

iSheep to troll in 3...2...1... Lol

sip1995 says:

My first "changelog" will say: Release date xx/06/2014

neo158 says:

Exactly, a changelog should be mandatory instead. I'm looking at you Netflix!!!!

ctafield says:

...and 95% of the time the iOS apps I have all just say "bug fixes".

sayonical says:

Stop telling me what to do!

OBEY or be destroyed...or something.

piaqt says:

And I am She Who Must be Obeyed.

quantum tao says:

Conjures up the image of OBEY messages in the movie"they live".

Micah Dawson says:

Daniel, i can always tell when you post an article just by your titles :P
but yeah i agree. it is annoying when they don't post changelogs.

frett says:

"Daniel, i can always tell when you post an article just by your titles"

Are you saying that's a good thing or bad thing?

kinpin2131 says:

Not a good thing if you want people to read your articles.

Everyone reads my articles. It's mandatory. They often read them twice. I've had to stop people on this site from re-reading them, so that they'd feed their children or take their grandmother to the hospital.

Micah Dawson says:

lol it is not good or bad :D
I can just tell when Sam or Daniel writes an article by the title

Sam usually has a bit of humor(and a typo lol) and Daniel's tends to have a slight bit of snark or sarcasm :D

dorelse says:

Honestly, it probably should be mandatory.  Its so frustrating to hear of a new app update to have no clue what or why I need this new version.

 

Even the Blue Skies example is helpful...yes, bug fixes...I'll have that please!

ssapre says:

'Be destroyed' like Nokia? How many of apps update from Nokia have changelog with them? I have barely seen them following this.

Did I put Nokia on a pedestal and say they were awesome at doing changelogs? No, no I did not. This article, last I checked, was for all developers. I don't discriminate on race, creed or even being Finnish.

Ben Willson says:

When i finish my port of tileworld (which is a freeware port of chip's challenge) I will include changelogs or be destroyed as you command

John Locke? Is that you?

There's a light side, and a dark side.

Talk4Lig says:

Rude title, but true :D

PeterFnet says:

Rude? That was a very simply put request.

Talk4Lig says:

Not rude, it just felt somehow ironical when I first read it

I think your explanation is even more perplexing, lol. How is it ironical?

B_Sack says:

He might be related to Alanis Morrisette.

CreepinJesus says:

This is my cue to say: the fact that that song is full of examples of irony that aren't actually ironic, is itself ironic - maybe Alanis was just trolling before it was cool?

jordandrako says:

How so? It says please...

Nik Rolls says:

The current title doesn't sound rude at all, so I'm guessing it was changed? What was it originally?

Mayur says:

I think it was without 'dear' and 'please'...developers, start using...

Nah, I always had that in there.

Mayur says:

Damn, I wish there was a way to retrieve cancelled notification. I am going to ask MS to add that into WP9, just for the sake of Daniel Rubino :)

_Emi_ says:

even if you didn't it wouldn't be rude... and Developers should help site like WPcentral who make news about updates sometimes.
and maybe then you and other won't be like "X app was updated, we see this and this new thing, we didn't notice anything else so if you see something new please tell us" or "we don't see anything new but... we got the update" of course if there was a changelog you wouldn't probably try to find what the update was about and you would just say exactly what the update is about if it's bugfix or has a new feature or whatever. so I agree with the article, and hope developers use the "what's new in this version" like they should.

Munkeyphyst says:

I think it was, "Developers, you stupid lazy lot, you know who doesn't use changelogs? Jerks, that's who. Stop being jerks. Use changelogs. Dear and Please." Or something like that, but probably not since I just made that up.

frett says:

Dearest MF'n developers...

Excellent suggestion to developers. It's really annoying when changlogs aren't posted. We need to sit and look around ourselves for whats new or fixed. I really appreciate app developers who post change logs.

Deaconclgi says:

Change log
Exactly - Version 1.1
- removed the "e"
- capitalized the "X"
- Bug fixes to enable a period in the next update.

Change logs FTW!

El Mac says:

I can't find a single app using changelogs on WP8.1... There are no changelogs displayed for me apparently, or I just can't find an app with them.

El Mac says:

Actually there are. WPCentral for example :) 

Blue Skies dev, as seen in the lede photo, uses it all the time. Sometimes with hilarity.

El Mac says:

Is it possible that there are even less apps with changelogs than before? Did they get ereased or what?

mrz95 says:

For example go to pocket file manager in store and swipe to go to details and you can see changelogs under "the New in this version".

Mayur says:

I noticed that Amazing Weather HD has a changelog for 8.1 update.

cyborg4 says:

I have to say, as a dev, I LOVE this feature!

aaa6112 says:

Microsoft should follow this too. Their very own games app update didn't have any changelog.

+1520; Skype team use it, Bing team too, but the rest of them just don't care.

nice! i will start using it then. this is a nice addition. haven't been into dev portal lately.

You should take a look man, lots of new stuff! Great app versioning and whatnot.

DVDPT says:

Is not as simple as that.

For localized apps is actually a big burden filling the changelog, consider getting all your changelog small or big translated to every language that the app supports. Right now english in all languages seams to pass certification but this can change when WP 8.1 comes to everybody.

I understand that, but correct me if I'm wrong, iOS has this as mandatory, no? Seems like there's precedence and I'm sure just 'English only' is better than nothing, if that's all a developer can do.

Regardless, this is one place to rant about it. Microsoft reads these, they can make changes if they see enough of a reaction ;)

El Mac says:

I don't think they will do that. Maybe they will offer a translator service, but I really dont see them doing that.

First of all: Windows Phone does the range and variety of apps required to do such a thing (200 000 + apps in fact are more than enough, but most are not official or low quality). 

A lot, if not most of the developers develop in their free time. If Microsoft requires them to translate the changelog, these thousands of developers will just get mad and quit developing for WP, harming the environment.

For me a changelog in the English language is more than enough. I recognize in future, when the OS and app-environment is more advanced and robust, it could be smart to make this a requirement. Localized changelogs would make the Store-Quality and also the OS quality better.

For the first step, a mandatory changelog in whatever language (most will be english) would be a nice step.

Zulfigar says:

Using Bing translate could be a viable option though (maybe not the best in some languages, but it is still an option).

El Mac says:

Indeed. It is better than just english. English-only is also better than nothing. Was just trying to say that I dont see them making localized changelogs mandatory.

Marco Gomes1 says:

I have seen quite a few change logs which where clearly translated by an automatic translator with some phrases not making much sense but even that (or English) is better than nothing at all.

El Mac says:

I don't know about a translator service built-in by Microsoft. Maybe there is one, or they just translated it from an external source. Or what also could be very realistic is that the developer can't write on the respective language ;)

DJCBS says:

Regardless of translating changelogs, at least put them in English. Actually, the only people who care enough to read the changelog CAN read English so I don't even see how that's such a problem.

Sean D. says:

Damn son... generalize much?

sholokov says:

I think if he is not 100% right, he will get the majority vote.

_Emi_ says:

then suggest to Microsoft adding a feature to translate changelog to different languages automatically... maybe the translation won't be perfect but it would make some people know more or less what it is about. you know, bing has a translator, I'm sure Microsoft could do it... or put it in English, I'm sure most people will understand it or can use translator if interested.

QilleRz says:

Love to see changelogs. Seriously.

Exactly.  I have uninstalled some apps who just push updates with no changelog.  Its very annoying

borasar says:

changelogs?! AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR DAT

Arda Ozkal says:

Lolchatz detuctd

Richard_Indy says:

I came to the app store to get me new app, I thought somebody was writing a changelog or sumthin. I said good lord Jesus, it must be a requirement. I got the bronchitis. Ain't nobody got time for that.

sholokov says:

You mean... I "says"... /s

jbrandonf says:

That's not sarcasm.

well that seems a little silly. presume it's "making it better"

ade333 says:

I noticed a lot of apps started requesting more info. Did MS open up access to addition things? "Flashlight" for example, asks for half a dozen things now

sholokov says:

I would think it depends on modules and libraries used.

Benny1434 says:

Time for a new flashlight app. I'd get one that doesn't require internet access, hence no adds.

Nikolaus117 says:

Use flashlight XT!!

david90531 says:

Please please all devs do this i think its essential especially now the new store layout is here

nosyrbllewe says:

Ok. I didn't even know changelogs were added though.

mmar1974 says:

Please do! Change log now!

 

Deaconclgi says:

What's wrong with the old log? Is it soiled? Gonna need those logs to last longer before we have to change them, we're not rich!!!

Arda Ozkal says:

We also need updates (like apple), not redownload, reinstall, move app storage and remove old files. It's bad for our capacity. iOS users get 50MB update for ex. Asphalt but we get 880mb ReDoCycle

Kitavi Ken says:

I prefer this be implemented first! It annoys me to download all that stuff just for a minor update

Windows Phone 8.1 fixed that

wpgeek820 says:

Did it? I don't think so. It was supposed to but it didnt.

Marco Gomes1 says:

Yes, I'm all for change logs, though with this new automatic updates I'm missing a lot of what the changes to the updated app really are.

CommonBlob says:

I turn it off, im the same :)

busyman96 says:

You could enable notifications for Store.

Marco Gomes1 says:

I have notifications on but a couple of days ago I had 22 updates in a row. Ain't nobody got time to go through every single one of them to check out what changed. I also would like a chance to set updates only for when the phone is not being heavily used (like playing a game). I was playing a game and it just froze because of all that updating. I still like that auto updates function though.

Benny1434 says:

That was the first thing I did. I like to know what I'm getting in an update.

I uninstalled Google Maps (3rd party obv) because of the constant updates without one inkling about what has changed. I'm all about gMaps now (mostly use HERE though).

schlubadub says:

Yeah, I'd like an option to bypass updating an app forever. I've had a couple of apps that were free that I used for a year or so. After a year an update comes through simply to add advertising and nothing else. I consider this a bait-and-switch tactic and refuse to support the dev who does this. I usually uninstall the app, but it would be better to stay on the ad-free version and skip all future updates. At the moment I have 3 updates pending for over 6 months, for that very reason.

klose91 says:

I like this new feature in the store, was always kinda ugly to write the what's new stuff into the description field.

CommonBlob says:

Love this feature. I always found it a bit horrible to look at an apps description and find out a large change log (im just as guilty as most developers)

At least on WP you know when the app is updated, there isn't even a date for changes in the Windows store. Good article and I hope this comes to fruition. I also hope this is made 'mandatory' for the Windows store.

xankazo says:

I could not agree more! Maybe then the "feels faster" movement could be put to rest.

Marco Gomes1 says:

Noooooooooooooooooo :) why would you want to kill such an insightful comments movement?!

borasar says:

yeah they should make first bullet of every changelog be "app will now seem faster"

Viipottaja says:

Mostly off topic, but what's the view - will universal apps eventually solve the Windows RT app problem as well? Or would the additional work required from the developer not make it worth it for them, and they would instead just do the full Windows 8 and the WP versions of the app.

I am here assuming that Universal Apps don't just work on all 3 platforms without any effort from the developer on each.

KrightonX says:

Change logs are part of the development process. it keeps the information flowing from one build to the next, referenceing what may be the issue on the next build.

Don't develope if you can't complete the other half of process. Every job / career / hobby has a stage we hate, dislike or avoid. Such as life.

This should not only be mandatory, but a given.

ven07 says:

I agree.... Give us a change log!

Hmm, seems being less inclined to update doesn't matter anymore with the auto-update, no?

powellce says:

Agreed, Daniel. 100 times over.

Joeul_Ramos says:

Please and thank you!

ortizang says:

Daniel you have a huge vocabulary.

lol, years of listening to Bad Religion. And I guess NPR.

Deaconclgi says:

Teeennnnnnnn in twenty teeeeeeeennnnnnnnnnn.......

lerimer says:

I agree 1520%

mister2d says:

I'm all for changelogs as log as they don't look like the captioned picture above.

 

1.1 - Bug fixes

1.2 - More bug fixes

I mean, I get what you're saying. But sometimes if it's minutia that only other devs would understand, there's no benefit in telling the public. I guess if they can translate it into a few words so that we can understand the ramifications, sure. Otherwise, I'm fine with 'bug fixes and performance improvements', so long as it doesn't become a go-to copy/paste crutch ;)

elangab says:

True. Also for X1.

ThE.G33K says:

That's very true.. Its something that a user like me would love to know, what's changed and what's actually different to the previous app..

rockstarzzz says:

.. And also start using universal apps!

Kitavi Ken says:

The next time these guys at Microsoft will be looking for a CEO they should consider Daniel

rockstarzzz says:

How had no one picked on Daniel using paying "attention to Detail" in a sentence!! Get it? No? Ok.

What, because I have it capitalized? I treated it like a proper noun, since it's the name of the subsection and not merely a description.

rockstarzzz says:

It wasn't meant to correct you, was meant to think you are so clever and cool as you used a phrase "paying attention to detail" (often related to spies, good detectives) in a non related sentence. See it?

TK2011 says:

MS should also show review ratings for the most recent revision separate from the all-time average in case the dev made a major improvement recently. It's fairer to the dev and more informative to new app buyers.

Benny1434 says:

Agree 100%. Currently have to sort reviews by date to, possibly, relate to any changes.

Dean McCrae says:

Have always included them from day 1, but in 16 languages it is quite some work. Agree, if your app is en-US only, there's really no excuse.

OMFG Yes please!  I know it is not that serious, but it is.  LOL

 

Dave Bhullar says:

If you're a developer and you don't use changelogs, then you're a bad developer and you should feel bad.

sip1995 says:

Agreed, that's why i'll use changelogs for my app.

Dave Bhullar says:

Good developer :)

JotaKa says:

Yeah, mofos. Why you no use change log? Don't be lazy.

mswindows101 says:

Why not make it mandatory? It should be. I don't see why ANY developer wouldn't want to automatically do this...

I think the issue there is you pass on the problem from doing it to 'Is it quality?' By that I mean we may start getting a lot of "Changelog: Stuff is new and better. Done can I publish now?" kind of entries. So you may force the dev to write in the changelog, but not necessarily a quality description ;)

theroyboy44 says:

Like seriously!!!

mehonja says:

Thanks for the tip.

nizzon says:

Remember the good old 90's when I used to read John Carmacks .plan update logs for Quakeworld.

venetasoft says:

Daniel asks, we obey :)

:P You're good people

SwimSwim says:

Yes!!! Thank you, this is EXACTLY how I feel!!! Some developers are still putting change logs in the description, and not the new official section. I understand not everyone is on the Preview, so feel free to maintain the traditional change log for those who haven't enrolled.

But please, for the love of Cortana: USE THE NEW CHANGE LOG FEATURE!!! Just for the sake of us who are on the Preview, and don't like having to swipe two panes over to view the change log.

Couldn't agree with this article more.

Benny1434 says:

+925, Really like knowing what has changed and have uninstalled apps in the past for not mentioning anything yet constant updating.

I am generalizing, but think that most of the people that care about change logs have already updated to the Preview.

SwimSwim says:

Indeed. I know most people don't care about change logs, but for those of us who do: It really makes a big difference.

Problem isnt that there isnt a place its if its properly used

ssimmmo says:

As a dev I welcome this....

Call of duty app was updated today. No change log. Also had another app update at the same time, had a change log.

lordbebech says:

Reading of changelog is almost orgasmic feel. Comparable to seeing notification about New updates.

gamato says:

In-app popup seems useful, especially when you're on auto-update.

milfermon says:

I just wish most developers made their apps available for low ram devices from the beginning of an app release

AndrewL920 says:

Spent hundreds of hours on coding the application, can't spend a minute for the changelogs.

diapers says:

Because the worst thing a developer can do is put this in his change log

 

*fixed app crashing on X or Y.

 

If your app crashes it's probably not good to begin with.

exyaized says:

Yes! This is a good update for the store. Will use this in future too.

I provide an in-app changelog in all my apps, at least after the first update.

My apps also have a contact form and since some time ago i started to add a about menu item called "App Transparency", which explains the user the used capabilities.

But its pretty annoying when users doesn´t read anything :/

Nitaino says:

Seems faster oh wait wrong one

I'd prefer if they at least have the last updated date stamp mandatory. It helps to find out how much "new" the app is.

IzaacJ says:

I'm really gonna use this when I release the next version of #WPD, and my current project called TrashMap.

shosansharma says:

NO! This is not changelog. This is "What's new in this version". This is changelog. It's all changes since you published your app. For changelog, in "What's new" section of your app's description, other than What's New, have some text at the top like "[For detail go to http://www.zzz.com/changelog.htm]. You could simply have a list of all the changes to your app on a page on your app's website or anywhere else.

KMF79 says:

I hope developers use the new space for change logs. It really bugs the shit out of me when app updates don't say what's changing. I check every app update, every time.

diapers says:

Only a few nerds actually find changelogs useful. As a developer I don't list them because they are pointless. What user need to know is what the app does and the feature it supports.

birgs says:

No not all apps need changeLog

New change log : "bug fixes"

Rotary12 says:

It would be nice to see a change log for WPCentral too. I just got an update and don't know why.