5.8 Pre-planning

Following Josepha’s early thoughts on 5.8 planning, I am kicking off the pre-planning phase of WordPress version 5.8.

Full site editing in 5.8

The plan for WordPress 5.8 is to merge and release the minimum viable product (MVP) of full site editing (FSE). This makes this release particularly complex to handle. It’s a new, exciting change, and it needs the appropriate time to marinate in CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. for contributors with enough time to work on it.


I would like to propose the following schedule.

MilestoneDateDays from
AlphaFebruary 23, 2021
First FSE go/no go dateApril 13, 2021
Second FSE go/no go dateApril 27, 2021
(If go) FSE MergeTo be determined, but as soon as possible after being greenlighted
Feature freeze/Bug FixesMay 25, 202191 days after Alpha
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. 1June 8, 202114 days after Feature Freeze
Release Candidaterelease candidate One of the final stages in the version release cycle, this version signals the potential to be a final release to the public. Also see alpha (beta). 1June 29, 202121 days after Beta 1
General releaseJuly 20, 202121 days after RC1

What’s this “Feature Freeze” step?

As previously discussed (first post, second post), mixing defect work and beta testing is not great for a number of reasons:

  • As a project, we want to respect the beta testers efforts by not introducing new bugs (defect work fixes) in areas they’ve already tested.
  • A mature software project has a beta period during which the focus is on testing changes made during alpha period to ensure its stability.
  • Having a separate deadline for enhancements/features and bugs is beneficial to allow developers to switch focus after the first deadline to address a slew of outstanding bugs.

Enter the “Feature Freeze” step: two weeks where contributors and committers can take care of the thousands of defect tickets in TracTrac An open source project by Edgewall Software that serves as a bug tracker and project management tool for WordPress..

This process should allow time to dedicate appropriate attention to those tickets, without taking attention and resources away from beta testing, which needs to be a priority, especially in this release.


With such a complex release, Core needs a group of experienced contributors leading the release. For this release, the ride-along/mentorship will pause so that the leads, with previous experience in releases, can focus on the process.

Pre WP5.8 Squad – Skeleton Crew

The period leading to the go/no go step, will need a minimal squad that will focus on:

  • bugbug A bug is an error or unexpected result. Performance improvements, code optimization, and are considered enhancements, not defects. After feature freeze, only bugs are dealt with, with regressions (adverse changes from the previous version) being the highest priority. hunting for WP5.7.x minor releases
  • triagetriage The act of evaluating and sorting bug reports, in order to decide priority, severity, and other factors. and group tickets into future milestones
  • test Core and FSE tickets and PRs

We are kicking off with a minimal squad of three roles:

Full Squad

Once we’re past the go/no go dates the skeleton crew, together with the project leadership, will determine which skills are needed to successfully complete the cycle.

What about scope?

The focus of the release is full site editing. As suggested in the recent FSE FAQ, the specific scope is to merge the interface that allows for template interaction outside of content, as well as 20+ new blocks, and design tools. This part of the FSE merge will not be offered to users by default, but instead will be geared toward our extender community (theme authors, 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 WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party developers, agencies, builders, etc) so that they can experiment with their users in mind.

As with other releases, it is possible to include more features, provided someone can spearhead them.

I will start a round of check-ins with component maintainers as soon as the timeline is confirmed.

#5-8, #planning