Web Release Notes: September 20, 2018

Release Notes

[no release notes]

This one’s pretty much a maintenance release. A bit dull if we’re being honest. But today’s my IRL cake day, so I’ll take license and tell a story. [Fair warning, we’re about to go “inside baseball” so feel free to stop reading now. You won’t miss anything of import. —Ed.]

Updates to the app are made using “pull requests”, as in the author of the update is requesting these changes be pulled into main codebase (from which all the apps are built). Each pull request (commonly known as a PR) has a title, and if the author deems the update unworthy of inclusion in the release notes, s/he will append “[no release notes]” to the title. It’s one of my favorite phrases.

I love seeing [no release notes] on a PR because it means I don’t have to write anything, I can just move on, less work. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing release notes, but it’s not a task to which I ever look forward. Once I get rolling I’m fine, but I’m always resistant to start. And each PR that includes [no release notes] means I can further delay the start.

And I must admit my excitement builds as I work through each PR and each seem to include that magic phrase of reprieve: [no release notes]. But it’s a delicate balance. Ideally each release has two items I can include in the release notes, then there’s something to write, but not much. If only one item makes the cut, the release notes look anemic. If none makes it, then I’m faced with a dilemma. I could just phone it in with something along the uninspiring lines of “bug fixes and performance improvements”. Or, I could pull myself up by my professional pride and burn waaayyy to much time trying to think of something clever to write, write three drafts of it, quickly grow to dislike each, and ultimately settle for something akin to what I originally had in mind but couldn’t quite execute well enough to be grateful for not having to write release notes today.