Navigation Screen Removed from 5.6 Release Features

The Navigation Screen project was slated for inclusion in 5.6. Given the volume of work left to bring it to a stable state coupled with the imminence of the BetaBeta A pre-release of software that is given out to a large group of users to trial under real conditions. Beta versions have gone through alpha testing in-house and are generally fairly close in look, feel and function to the final product; however, design changes often occur as part of the process. 1 deadline for feature inclusion, contributors @andraganescu, @noisysocks, @talldan and myself, as Editor Tech Lead for 5.6, have decided to exclude it from this release. 

The Reasoning

The Navigation screen is still in experimental state in the GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the Plugin Directory or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party, so it hasn’t had any significant real-world use and testing yet. The deadline set to bring it out of experimental state was the Gutenberg 9.1 release, which would have allowed for 3 weeks of testing before Beta 1. That deadline was announced at Navigation triage on the 16th of September.

When the Gutenberg 9.1 RC1 was released on September 29th, there were still three major blockers unresolved: 

  •  Completion of the MVP redesign: needs design and accessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). ( feedback and iteration, as well as substantial development work.
  • Adding Navigation editor to the Customizer: needs design and technical investigation on the development side, as well as actual implementation.
  • Adding Links block: needs substantial development work.

On top of this, there are multiple smaller issues still in need of design and development. Therefore, the Navigation screen did not seem stable enough to ship with Gutenberg 9.1. 

Additionally, there is another big feature slated for 5.6 that is close to completion but still needs some extra work: the Widgets screen. It is currently undergoing testing in the Gutenberg plugin, and contributors who were previously focused on the Navigation screen will now be able to bring their full attention to Widgets and ensure it lands smoothly in 5.6. 

Next Steps

The priority now is ensuring that the Widgets screen gets thoroughly tested so any bugs are uncovered before Beta 1. We ask anyone who is able to help with this effort to read this post with more details on how to help.

For those wanting to help with development, we encourage you to attend or review the weekly triagetriage The act of evaluating and sorting bug reports, in order to decide priority, severity, and other factors. sessions in the #core Slack channel on Wednesdays at 7am UTC. The focus of these sessions has shifted from the Navigation screen to the Widgets screen, as of this week. 

As for the Navigation screen, active development will continue after 5.6 is ready, towards the end of November.

#5-6, #core-editor, #gutenberg