Release notes

Release notes

Release notes are documents which are distributed along with software products, often when the product is still in the development or test state (e.g., a beta release). For products that have already been in use by clients, the release note is a supplementary document that is delivered to the customer every time a bug is fixed or an enhancement is made on the product.

A release notes usually includes the following sections:

# Header – Document name (i.e. Release Notes), product name, release number, release date, notes’ date, notes version, etc.
# Overview - A brief overview of the product and changes, in the absence of other formal documentation.
# Purpose - A brief overview of the purpose of the release note with a listing of what is new in this release, including bug fixes and new features.
# Issue Summary - A short description of the bug or the enhancement in the release.
# Steps to Reproduce - The steps that were followed when the bug was encountered.
# Resolution - A short description of the modification/enhancement that was made to fix the bug.
# End-User Impact - What different actions are needed by the end-users of the application. This should include what other functionality is impacted by these changes.
# Support Impacts - Changes required in the daily processes of administering the software.
# Notes - Notes about software or hardware installation, upgrades and product documentation (including documentation updates)
# Disclaimers - Company and standard product related messages. e.g.; freeware, anti-piracy, duplication etc.
# Contact - Support contact information.

A release note is usually a terse summary of recent changes, enhancements and bug fixes in a particular software release. It is not a substitute for user guides. Release notes are frequently written in the present tense and provide information that is clear, correct, and complete. They may be written by a technical writer or any other member of the development or test team. Release notes can also contain test results and information about the test procedure, this kind of information provide readers of the release note more confidence in the fix/change done; this information also facilitates implementers of the change to conduct rudimentary tests after implementing the change.


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