App Changelogs Should Include More Details Instead of just "Bug Fixes & Improvements", Here's Why

Have you ever wondered about what really happens in the changelog when you update the apps for the sake of recommended “bug fixes and improvements”, that developers get away with? Or don’t you think it’s your right to know the exact updates in the code of the app?

While this question might seem new to many or have already been in the mind of some users, an ex-Android developer, Dextersgenius has clarified why this bad coding practice exist on one of Reddit's thread. Being in the industry for years, he has observed how developers hate doing documentation. It's like majority of the developers would be willing to write new code but hesitate creating a document of the version history that could inform users about the update of the app in a more detailed way.

Although it may feel and sound fair for the developer community, but Dextersgenius puts the blame on them for being lazy and possessing bad coding etiquette because in the end if there is someone that can describe the code in the best way possible, then that definitely can only be the coder himself.

Besides that, it is also safe to assume that coders may refrain from documenting for the sake of job security, since going through someone else’s undocumented code can be tiring (especially in case of a larger project).

However, when we talk about larger or let's just say more popular companies like Snap Inc, there is already some amount of documentation that goes with each release. When Snapchat has bug tracker like Jira or similar, they also have a version control system which when implementing a change would definitely require adding a comment along as well. This is mostly because if the developers want to get paid they eventually have to explain their work to non-technical managers. So, as the changelog already exists by this stage, why not summarize it and publish it as well for the end users?

Apart from laziness, Dextersgenius feels that the answer to this can also be how the CEO along with developers don’t care about the Android community in particular. For better understanding, consider the condition of an Android developer in an iOS shop whose only job is to port an an iOS app to Android. The developer would absolutely hate it, right? It's the environment.

Of course, documenting every single change in code is not the solution that we are recommending here, but if the changes are important for the user or covers up big issues then writing two lines about it can create more ease for the ones who choose to update apps manually. Such a changelog can then include:

"Fixed an issue with app crashing on Galaxy A50".

At last, if the argument comes down to how can a more detailed changelog help users when majority of them tend to go for automatic updates and care about new looks or features, security enhancements or bug fixes? Well, let's think of a metered connection e.g roaming data or a hotel’s limited Wifi, now would any user like updating the app when the changes aren’t worth important? That is where the significance of more information come into place. If the app is something that the users cannot spend their days without and the version helps in let's just say saving battery life, they would most likely go for the deal and spend their precious data. But if the update isn’t adding the desired value for the user (which they need in that moment) then companies and developers are becoming the reason of unnecessary data usage.

It’s definitely time to say goodbye to laziness and apathy from the developers side so that users could continue making more informed decisions and take advantage of a better ecosystem on the app store.



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