https://hmrctransition.blog.gov.uk/2013/10/21/tracking-changes-to-manuals/

Tracking changes to manuals

One of the features we're planning to implement in the new HMRC manuals is the ability for people to see the manuals at a specific date in the past.

Whilst this is useful in itself, ultimately we want to make it easy for people to see specifically what's changed between two versions of a particular manual. Feedback from a recent user testing session confirmed that this would indeed be a useful feature.

I implemented a similar feature on the whitehall publishing system for GOV.UK which produces a view for editors see the differences between two versions and comment on the changes, below is an example of the output:

show differences in govuk editor

The code which powers this feature is the google diff-match-patch library, one of the many benefits of this library is that you can see the changes inline and customise the way the output is displayed to match your needs.

This style of output is useful for editors as it's similar to MSWord track changes, however for the manuals web interface we are planning to change it to look like the this:

 Manuals track changes

We'll continue to develop this idea based on user feedback so let us know what you think.

2 comments

  1. Comment by Lisa Keeble posted on

    This is an excellent idea. I am the MD of an umbrella company and the changes to HMRC guidance manuals which affect our industry are numerous and very frequent. To be able to track those changes would be incredibly useful in terms of developing the business to ensure that we remain compliant with HRMC requirements

    Reply
  2. Comment by Tina Riches posted on

    Yes, it should be very useful, especially if you want to be able to prove what the guidance said at a particular point when some advice is given or a transaction took place.

    Reply

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