I have had the opportunity to install Sitecore Audit Trail for two clients now and I thought I would do a quick review on it.
First and foremost the Sitecore Audit Trail can be found here – https://marketplace.sitecore.net/Modules/S/Sitecore_Audit_Trail.aspx . The whole point of the Sitecore Audit Trail is to give you an idea of who did what when. Each time an author creates, edits, or deletes an item you get a record. These records can then be accessed at a global level or by item.
So in short, the Sitecore Audit Trail, will save you time when you come up against content problems. For example, if a vital content item is deleted, you can review the audit trail to see who did it, communicate with this person, and resolve any future mishaps. What this tool won’t do for you is tell you what changes were made in the fields on the item. If you need this, workflow with versioning is recommended, or to look to a more enterprise solution.
As for install, it is all pretty straight forward. Something that can be done in a couple hours. Steps one should follow are located here – http://klpatil.github.io/Sitecore-Audit-Trail/ . Don’t make the mistake that you can just install the package and be done, there is a few tweaks. Probably your biggest hurdle will be getting a separate database setup for this. Also I did encounter some problems with one client who had a custom log4net. As directions state you need to make some tweaks. Out of box log4net works great with no problems. I can also confirm that I have had this installed in Sitecore 8.1 with no problems.
The “For Item” and “For Site” layouts are easily customized. One of my clients had multiple sites and wanted an easy way to see the big picture between them all. So I updated that layout to have a drop down of sites that then filtered each search. Was easy to tie into, I don’t even think I had to compile code. All front end work.
Overall this is a great tool. Clients are always asking about logging of content and this is a great way to give them a starting point on the cheap.