In his State of the Word keynote, @matt announced that WordPress 3.7 and 3.8 will be developed simultaneously. Trunk would represent 3.7, while for 3.8, potential new features would be developed first as plugins. (3.8 starts at 35:00 in the video.)
This “features as plugins” method* will allow teams to conceptualize, design, and fully develop features before landing them in core. This removes a lot of the risk of a particular feature introducing uncertainty into a release (see also 3.6, 3.5, 3.4 …) and provides ample room for experimentation, testing, and failure. As we’ve seen with MP6, the autonomy given to a feature team can also allow for more rapid development. And in a way, 3.7 provides a bit of a buffer while we get this new process off the ground.
As announced at WordCamp San Francisco, Matt is leading the 3.8 release. He identified MP6 as a likely candidate for 3.8, along with the Twenty Fourteen theme. WP 3.7 will be released in October, at which point we’ll begin short window (probably two to three weeks) for any features to be merged for 3.8. If a feature isn’t ready for release by this point in the development cycle, it doesn’t land in core and moves to the next release. The target for WordPress 3.8 is early December.
On August 8 at 18:00 UTC, Matt will host a WordPress 3.8 meeting in #wordpress-dev on Freenode.
Thursday’s meeting is a great time to propose features that you’re interested in working on, keeping in mind they may or may not make it into WordPress 3.8. But keep in mind an early December timeline sets up WordPress 3.9 to kick off no later than January. Bring your ideas and thoughts as 3.8 development begins!
To recap this post and the previous 3.7 post:
* Yes, this is more or less “feature branches,” but our rich plugin architecture makes it an obvious choice to follow the plugin-based model set by MP6. We have built features in plugins before — distraction-free writing in 3.3, the customizer in 3.4, and media in 3.5 all started as plugins. But they were pegged to a specific development cycle and did not have full teams developed around them, two issues we are now trying to fix.