A New Frontier for Core Development
In a little over a decade, we’ve made twenty five thousand commits to WordPress. WordPress (along with the web itself) has come a long way, but our development workflow has remained largely the same.
As a part 3.7, I’ll be leading an effort to revamp and streamline our development workflow. We’re going to bring all of our core components—our code, our tests, and our tooling—under one roof. Developers will be able to use and improve the tools we’re already working with day-to-day, and we’ll be able to add new tools to make working with WordPress even easier.
We’re also making sure that any changes are compatible with our current workflow, so you won’t have to change the way you work. These changes won’t break any existing checkouts or scripts that use core.svn.wordpress.org. Now that we’ve cleared that up…
This week, we’re creating a new repository: develop.svn.wordpress.org.
The develop repository will be the new home for all core development. We’re going to sync over all of the commits from core.svn.wordpress.org and will reorganize this new repository to use a new directory structure:
The src directory
This is the WordPress core source. All of the existing WordPress core files will be moved into this directory. You’ll develop and test against this directory as usual, but the real power will come from using the rest of the tools in the repository. The contents will be optimized for development, not production (this means uncompressed files—including our internal libraries).
The tests directory
The tools directory
Our tools directory will include all of the little things that make our lives as developers easier. To start, we’ll include our internationalization tools, which will allow us to generate pot files from within core. We’ll also include a handful of scripts that some of us use to interact with Trac, like scripts to upload and apply patches.
The root directory
A build process
Using Grunt will be an optional but encouraged part of WordPress development. These tools are all built atop Node.js, which Grunt needs in order to function.
So what’s happening to core.svn.wordpress.org?
In a word, nothing. The contents of the core repository have always been optimized for production, and that’s not going to change. core.svn.wordpress.org will now serve as the repository for our built output: every time we make a commit that changes the build, the core build will be updated with a corresponding commit. As mentioned earlier, scripts and checkouts will continue to function as expected. When you download a zip of WordPress, it will still be generated from this repository.
Let’s get started
The develop repository will go live soon. For now, I’ve made a preparatory repository available to illustrate the structure I’ve described above, and allow us to experiment with this new workflow. You can learn more about how the tools are installed and used on the repository page. Please provide feedback on this post—the goal is not to build all of the code there first, but to provide insight into the new process.
Lastly, I’d like to say thank you to all of the contributors who helped shape this idea over the past few months, especially at WordCamp San Francisco’s hack day. Together, we’ve created a structure that elegantly addresses many of our existing problems and opens the door to countless possibilities for better development practices.