Wednesday, December 5 is our target for 3.5. We should be in release candidate stage 3-4 weeks prior to that date, prior to Thanksgiving — we’ll say November 14. The end of September will be feature freeze (including a user testing window), with beta following. This provides for two months of feature development. The dev cycle will include WordCamp San Francisco in a few weeks as a gut check, as well as a planned community summit in late October, which can be used as a check on the final push for RC1.
Proposed Scope for Feature Development
Twenty Twelve. Last week, the Twenty Twelve theme landed in core. This will be shipped with 3.5. We will soon consider adding it to the WordPress.org theme directory well before 3.5 is released, that way more sites can use it for more of 2012.
Full Retina support. Every design element in WordPress should either be HiDPI-supported images, or converted to CSS3 shapes and gradients. In the process, we should also aim for a lighter, flatter aesthetic in the admin.
Improved user experience. On make/ui, Helen Hou-Sandi, Dave Martin and others have been studying how we can improve a number of experiences throughout the dashboard. We should target low-hanging fruit this release. Dave has also expressed a desire to revisit the Welcome panel, offering a v2. Other possible bullets include a better color picker, and improving the UI/UX for selecting a static front page.
Removing “Links”. And move it into a plugin. It seems self-explanatory, but there are a number of technical hurdles here to avoid breaking sites. We will move this discussion to a Trac ticket.
Customizer improvements. The custom header and background workflows could improve here.
Improving choosing/selecting/handling images. Improve the management of galleries. Revamp the workflows inside the upload/insert media modal. Separate and simplify individual workflows, like uploading images, modifying metadata, editing an image, inserting images into posts, etc. Simplify the workflow for selecting featured images and custom headers/backgrounds from the library (see also, customizer improvements).
Anything outside of the dialog would be outside of core scope, but there are some things that can be explored here as well, such as making uploads non-blocking (let them upload and crunch while you write), and drag-drop of images into the editor itself.
Proposed Platform Improvements
I expressed a desire for three platform improvements for 3.5:
- File copies during an upgrade should be verified with a hash. Too many support requests and emails for my liking, every release, that are because a file didn’t copy over. We should verify and try again, as a v1.
- WordPress.org now supports plugin favorites. What about an in-dashboard browse your favorite plugins the same way you can look through recently updated, etc.?
- Language packs for default themes and “core” plugins (importers et al.), as a first step to doing it for all plugins and themes (which introduces security, ecosystem, and WP.org infrastructure concerns).
API and platform development (the “Under the Hood” stuff) happens organically throughout the cycle. We did not discuss APIs last week. More to come in the agenda for this week.