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WordPress 5.3 will be the final major release of 2019 and aims to polish current interactions and make the UIs more user friendly. Matt Mullenweg is the Release Lead for 5.3, Francesca Marano is the Release Coordinator, David Baumwald is the Triage PM, Riad Benguella is the Editor Tech Lead, Mark Uraine is the Editor Design Lead, Andrew Ozz is the Core Tech Lead, Anders Norén is the Default Theme Design Lead, Ian Belanger is the Default Theme Wrangler, Justin Ahinon is the Docs Coordinator, JB Audras is the Accessibility Lead, Mike Reid is the Marketing Lead, and Mike Schroder is the Media Focus Lead. All release decisions will ultimately be theirs to make and communicate while gathering input from the community. There will be a new bundled theme included in 5.3.

Note that WordCamp US will be from November 1-3 and the US Thanksgiving holiday is November 28-29. Both tend to involve travel for a number of people and reduced activity; thus the schedule was crafted to allow ~2 weeks buffer from the target release date until Thanksgiving week. Given the effort that goes into a major release, WCUS, and the end-of-year holidays it is safe to assume that activity on core will slow dramatically after the 5.3 release until January 2020; enjoy that downtime and thank you all for your contributions! 🙏

Release Schedule

8 May 2019 Trunk is open for business. (Post-5.2)
31 July 2019 5.3 Kickoff meeting
27 August 2019 Bug Scrub (Slack archive)
5 September 2019 Bug Scrub (Slack archive)
12 September 2019 APAC-Friendly Bug Scrub (Slack archive)
18 September 2019 Bug Scrub (Slack archive)
23 September 2019
(+7w 5d)
Beta 1, begin writing Dev Notes and About page, and last chance to merge feature projects. (Slack archive) (Zip download)
From this point on, no more commits for any new enhancements or feature requests in this release cycle, only bug fixes and inline documentation. Work can continue on enhancements/feature requests not completed and committed by this point, and can be picked up for commit again at the start of the WordPress 5.4 development cycle.
25 September 2019 Bug Scrub (Slack archive)
30 September 2019
Beta 2 and continue writing Dev Notes and About page. (Slack archive) (Zip download)
2 October 2019 Bug Scrub (Slack archive)
7 October 2019

8 October 2019
Beta 3, continue writing Dev Notes and About page, and soft string freeze. (Slack archive) (Zip download)
9 October 2019 Bug Scrub (Slack archive)
15 October 2019
(+1w 1d)
Release candidate 1, publish Field Guide with Dev Notes, commit About page, begin drafting release post, and hard string freeze. (Slack archive) (Zip download)
17 October 2019 Bug Scrub (Slack archive)
21 October 2019 Bug Scrub (Slack archive)
22 October 2019
Release candidate 2, update About page images, and continue drafting release post. (Slack archive) (Zip download)
29 October 2019
Release candidate 3, update About page images, and continue drafting release post. (Slack archive) (Zip download)
5 November 2019 (+1w) Release candidate 4, though may be difficult with folks returning from WCUS. (Slack archive) (Zip download)
11 November 2019
Dry run for release of WordPress 5.3 and 24 hour code freeze. (Slack archive)
11 November 2019 Release candidate 5. (Slack archive) (Zip download)
12 November 2019
Target date for release of WordPress 5.3. 🎉

To get involved in WordPress core development, head on over to Trac and pick a 5.3 ticket. Need help? Check out the Core Contributor Handbook. Get your patches done and submitted as soon as possible, then help find people to test the patches and leave feedback on the ticket. Patches for enhancements will not be committed after the dates posted above, so that we can all focus on squashing bugs and deliver the most bug-free WordPress ever.

If you want to dive deeper into 5.3, development is discussed at a weekly meeting in the #core Slack channel and occurs next at Wednesday at 21:00 UTC. Wish us luck!