Developers: Stop with the Stupid, Pretentious, Self-Absorbed Release Notes

There has been a trend recently of developers writing cutesy release notes, showing how intelligent they are. Rather than listing fixes and new features, they write little stories, than recall those you might have read in your high school yearbook. Here’s an example I spotted this morning on my iPhone:

Release notes

This is wrong, and dangerous. Users look to release notes to find out what is new, and what has been fixed. If you cannot quickly see these changes in the release notes, you miss out on something important.

And, as a journalist, I’m not going to slog through this sort of release notes for an app. In fact, if I’m confronted with several apps to review, and one has a change log like this, I’ll probably ignore it in favor of apps from developers who take time to craft their information as it should be.

I actually like the app illustrated above. But I’ll ignore it from now on; it doesn’t help me understand anything that has changed, or potentially resolve issues I’ve had with the app.

Just because you can write cute doesn’t mean you should.

8 thoughts on “Developers: Stop with the Stupid, Pretentious, Self-Absorbed Release Notes

  1. Even worse are email ‘newsletters’. The Dreamhost newsletters are a crime against maturity and readability. It’s as if they let an intern buzzed on too much coffee write it. I have no idea if there is any important information hidden in the babble, as I delete it instantly.

  2. Even worse are email ‘newsletters’. The Dreamhost newsletters are a crime against maturity and readability. It’s as if they let an intern buzzed on too much coffee write it. I have no idea if there is any important information hidden in the babble, as I delete it instantly.

  3. I think this is a good example of a rule I keep in mind at my (non-tech) job: you can break the rules if you do it perfectly. I’ve read “clever” release notes that worked.

  4. I think this is a good example of a rule I keep in mind at my (non-tech) job: you can break the rules if you do it perfectly. I’ve read “clever” release notes that worked.

  5. Same issue with Captaine Train, oops, Captain Train, oh, wait, is it trainline now?, release notes on the App Store.

    Coming from an app that claims that it can let your order train tickets very quickly, having to spend 10 minutes to read their verbose release notes is a complete nonsense.

  6. Same issue with Captaine Train, oops, Captain Train, oh, wait, is it trainline now?, release notes on the App Store.

    Coming from an app that claims that it can let your order train tickets very quickly, having to spend 10 minutes to read their verbose release notes is a complete nonsense.

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