8 The NEWS file

A NEWS file informs the user of changes in the software that may impact user expectations. It is highly recommended that the developer use plain and concise language to communicate these changes.

A NEWS file should keep track of changes, in non-technical language, in the code from one release version to the next. The file can reside in either the package’s top level directory or in the inst/ directory. There should be only one NEWS file per package.

The following are acceptable locations and formats:

location format
./inst/NEWS.Rd \(\LaTeX\)
./inst/NEWS formatted text see ?news
./inst/NEWS.md markdown
./NEWS.md markdown
./NEWS formatted text see ?news

Specifics on formatting can be found on the help page for ?news. Bioconductor compiles NEWS files from all updated packages to create the semi-annual release announcement. NEWS files must include list elements and cannot be plain text files.

Here is the version 1.24.0 NEWS file from SummarizedExperiment:



    o Add 'checkDimnames' argument to SummarizedExperiment() constructor

    o Add showAsCell() method for SummarizedExperiment objects.


    o Check the assay dimnames at SummarizedExperiment construction time:
      The SummarizedExperiment() constructor function now raises an error
      if one of the supplied assays has rownames and/or colnames that don't
      match those of the SummarizedExperiment object to construct.

Note that the version documented is the forthcoming release version of the package. For the developer, the NEWS file is a running log of all the changes that lead up to the next release of the package.

The user can read the release notes of SummarizedExperiment version 1.24.0 by running the following:

utils::news(package = "SummarizedExperiment", Version == "1.24.0")

During development and after package re-installation, the NEWS file’s formatting can be checked with:

utils::news(package="<name of your package>")

The function does not fail directly but it will show an output similar to the one below if there are formatting errors that need to be corrected. Note that there are bullet points embedded within the first Text field:

Version: 1.2.0
Date: 2018-07-15
Text: Made the following significant changes o added a subsetting
    method o added a new field to database

Version: 1.0.0
Date: 2018-06-15
Text: Fixed bug. Begin indexing from 1 instead of 2

Version: 0.99.0
Date: 2018-05-15
Text: Submitted to Bioconductor