3.8 is being led by Matt Mullenweg, with Ryan Boren as the commit lead. This release cycle uses a different approach to new feature development – all potential new features are developed first as plugins.
The “features as plugins” method allowed teams to conceptualize, design, and fully develop features before they are merged into core. This removed the risk of a particular feature introducing uncertainty into a release, and provided ample room for experimentation, testing, and failure. The autonomy given to a feature team also allowed for more rapid development.
There are 4 “features as plugins” projects that are being merged into core during the 3.8 release cycle:
- MP6 (Trac: #25858)
- Widgets Area Chooser (Trac: #25821)
- DASH (Dashboard Update) (Trac: #25824)
- THX38 (Theme Experience) (Trac: #25948)
Members of the core team are working with each of the separate “features as plugins” teams to assist in merging the plugins into core:
- MP6: Dion Hulse (@dd32) and Matt Thomas (@iammattthomas)
- Widgets Area Chooser: Andrew Ozz (@azaozz)
- DASH: Mark Jaquith (@markjaquith)
- THX38: Andrew Nacin (@nacin)
3.8 will include a new default theme named Twenty Fourteen. If you would like to be involved in the development of Twenty Fourteen, come to the weekly team meeting in the #wordpress-themes IRC channel.
The Inline Documentation initiative continues in the 3.8 release cycle, and is part of the overall effort to build the new code reference for developer.wordpress.org. The team is working on inline documentation fixes, and providing inline documentation for all core hooks, functions, and classes.
The target release date for 3.8 is December 12, 2013. You can see the release cycle timeline on the 3.8 project schedule page.