How to deal with Changelog becoming main documentation for some new features, duplicate information in changelog & main docs and how to deal with links from / to changelog.
IMHO the usage of the changelogs is a huge success:
- features can be documented along with the changes
- you often see complete documentation in the changelog for a new feature - perfect!
- you can view the changelogs in the backend
- changelog is used in exension scanner
But, there are also problems or rather things that must be decided:
- Not always is main documentation updated at all. Or very late. For example, currently psr-15 documentation is missing in “TYPO3 Explained”. It does have a changelog, though.
- People link to changelog rather than main docs (e.g. see links to changelog in SkillsDisplay)
- Other sources besides main docs (blogs, Changelog) appear in search results as top pick, even after information was added to main docs.
- 2 and 3 have the effect that people find information that is no longer being maintained (blogs and changelog after release) and without context (fragmented documentation)
We do have a main documentation (TYPO3 Explained and others) for a reason. It is regularly updated (well, at least it should be). And the information found there is found in a context (with hopefully an introduction, some cross references etc.)
Now it seems the Changelog is almost becoming the main documentation (for some new features). We should at least take a step back and have a look what is happening.
The extensive documenting in the changelog is a good thing. People are willing to write explanations with code examples etc. In no way do I want to interfere with this! If people are motivated to document (for whatever reason) and write good documentation - do not stand in their way.
How to handle changelog documentation: Move it to main docs, “copy” it or just leave it in changelog?
- MOVE to main docs: Move docs to main docs, link from changelog to main docs
- BOTH: Have information in changelog and main docs.
- KEEP only in Changelog (do not document in main docs, link to changelog)
I think this is pretty clear:
- We can’t MOVE the information, because changelog is used heavily (in backend: “View Upgrade Documentation”, extension scanner and for reading through changes for a release on docs.typo3.org: Changelog). Even if we remove the info and add a link, this is not a viable solution.
- BOTH is imho the only solution. We don’t want duplicate information. It is bad. But I think, in this case we have no choice. It may sometimes mean, the text from Changelog is just copied. Sometimes new text must be written. It depends. It just means the information in the main docs should be added and the information that is already in changelogs must stay. Even if that means the results are slightly duplicate
- KEEP in changelog would mean documenting only in Changelog. I hope we agree this is not acceptable.
- Add a link from the Changelog to main docs
- Do not link to Changelogs from main docs. Transfer the information to main docs.
- things missing in “TYPO3 Explained” should be added.
- Add links from changelog to main documentation (optional)
- change existing links to point to main docs (and not changelog)