Post Formats, Schedules, and Philosophy

Post Formats UI is looking like this right now:
Screen shot 2013-04-23 at 9.05.04 AM

This seems confusing, because it looks like they are icons to insert something (Image, Gallery, Link, Video, etc), but instead of launching a popup to insert a link or an image, the screen changes and the navigation that was just used to choose disappears completely. (Note: If Standard had some indication of being the default/current selection it wouldn’t be as confusing)

Clicking on one — say Link — makes the UI change, the big icon row go away, and a format switcher link drops below the title rather than keeping its visual hierarchy above the post stuff, and it’s generally disorienting.

Screen shot 2013-04-23 at 9.09.35 AM

If the user thinks, “Whoa, what happened, I better change format again,” and they click on the “Change format’ link under the title field and next to the “Enter URL” instruction, the screens morphs again to this:

Screen shot 2013-04-23 at 9.12.41 AM

Where the icon strip is back, but the link field has disappeared and the icon next to Add New Post is still a link. This is super confusing. Does it still think it is a link bc they didn’t actively choose to return to standard, they just chose to see the options? If that’s so, why did the url field disappear?

Looking at the release schedule:
Screen shot 2013-04-23 at 9.40.18 AM
We launched Beta 1 on April 4, and it’s been almost 3 weeks without a follow-up beta 2.
…I am wondering if the post formats ui is really prime time ready, or if it should be one of the very first thing sto land in a 3.7 branch so we can get the things that are completely ready into the hands of users sooner rather than later?

Since I’m outside the core dev group now, I’ve been on both sides of the deadline delay dance. I know how hard it is to let go of something that feels like it is thisclose to done. And I know that just about everyone on the core team will be thinking right about now that I should shut up (and I’m okay with that, because it used to be my first response to deadline questions to core, too). But we have this philosophy posted on wordpress.org:

Deadlines Are Not Arbitrary

Deadlines are not arbitrary, they’re a promise we make to ourselves and our users that helps us rein in the endless possibilities of things that could be a part of every release. We aspire to release three major versions a year because through trial and error we’ve found that to be a good balance between getting cool stuff in each release and not so much that we end up breaking more than we add.

Good deadlines almost always make you trim something from a release. This is not a bad thing, it’s what they’re supposed to do.

The route of delaying a release for that one-more-feature is, literally, a rabbit hole. We did that for over a year once, and it wasn’t pleasant for anybody.

The more frequent and regular releases are, the less important it is for any particular feature to be in this release. If it doesn’t make it for this one, it’ll just be a few months before the next one. When releases become unpredictable or few and far between, there’s more pressure to try and squeeze in that one more thing because it’s going to be so long before the next one. Delay begets delay.

I’m not trying to be a troublemaker or imply that anyone isn’t doing everything they can — I know for a fact that people are working themselves into the ground on this release. Nor am looking to incite a debate about deadlines or all the explanations of how we fell behind this time (I’ve been following along, everything is really pretty normal). But would it be better to not try to squeeze it all in, get out what we can ship now (including the awesome 2013 theme that regular people still don’t have access to), and take a quick breath to relax before diving back in on a new cycle? Shipping is a feature, too. ;)