The Timestamper plugin currently inserts a console note into every line of the build's log file. [Console notes|http://javadoc.jenkins-ci.org/byShortName/ConsoleNote] are a feature supported by Jenkins. They allow the timestamps to be formatted at the time the console is viewed, rather than the time that the build was running. Any alternative solution also needs to support formatting at view time.
Inserting a console note into every line, as the Timestamper plugin does, has several disadvantages: - They increase increases the file size of the log. - They make file and makes the log file more difficult to read in a text editor. - External scripts may need to skip over the console notes when reading the log file. (Jenkins itself and the Jenkins plugins already need to deal with console notes, so they are not as much of a concern.) - They make it difficult to read the times with a script, e.g. to determine which parts of the build are the slowest.
It would be nice to store the timestamps in a separate file to the console, and in a more efficient format. The Timestamper plugin would still need a way to insert these timestamps back into the console when it is being viewed in Jenkins.
Backwards compatibility: * The Timestamper plugin should to retain the ability to display existing console notes. * There should be an option to still use console notes, because a few people have written scripts to read them from the log file. * The /timestamps URL (introduced in version 1.3.2) must continue to read the console notes when this option has been selected.