Due to some unexpected constraints on my time this year, I’m going to be stepping down as the 4.7 lead, and I’m happy to announce that Helen Hou-Sandí is stepping up to lead the release in my stead. I’ll still be behind the scenes providing whatever support is necessary, and I’m really looking forward to the release . You might remember Helen for her famous work on WordPress 4.0.
Updates from Matt Mullenweg Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts
Since some people read this and not the news blog, 3.8 is out. 🙂
tl; dr: Still on track for release next Thursday. We’re extending the window for code changes by 3 days, through the 8th. RC2 package on the 9th will be what ships on the 12th.
December 5th, our targeted but controversial freeze date, is drawing to a close. First the bad news: there are two blockers and we could not ship the package we have tonight, despite a lot of great effort. The good news is we are close, there are good priorities on the remaining issues, the new features appear resilient and are live on WP.com which has generated a ton of testing, and we’re far enough out from our target (the 12th) that I’m confident we can ship that morning and still have had a 4-day freeze.
As a side-effect of the longer freeze and predictable date, I also think the best WP hosts will push it to their customers same-day and we’ll continue or improve our record of having localized versions ready to go.
What could break it? If an unknown unknown blocker pops up on Tuesday or Wednesday, we’re going to have to delay the release until the following week. Discovering that issue sooner, so it wouldn’t cause a delay, is a function of testing — the more we can test and cover now the better. We want to shake out big issues now, not next week. The more people that can run the RC or trunk at this point, the healthier the release will be.
What’s open right now? Our most substantial blocker, no-JS fallback for THX #25964, was raised a few weeks ago and we could have flagged its priority and developed a solution then, rather than the flurry of activity its had over the last two days. Our other blocker, the about.php page, is similar: I should have kicked off that page (#26387) when we nailed down exactly what headline features would be in the release, which was much earlier. Often user-focused non-code deliverables wind up as the last thing we do, but they’re so visible they deserve time to bake just like a complex backend change would. Of the the other 15-ish open issues there is nothing intractable, but there’s also nothing trivial, and for some issues we need to make a non-obvious decision to move it forward. We made the decision to punt or revert a number of things that weren’t fully ready yet, like the new author widget and RSSJS.
The things we missed are not a matter of having enough time, they’re a matter of priority. I think properly triaging issues as soon as they come in and being disciplined about working from highest to lowest will allow future release to avoid these problems. Even though that’s not hard to understand intellectually, sometimes you have to make the mistake to really grok it. I’m extremely proud of everyone who has been involved so far and in the amount of learning and growth I’ve observed even in our accelerated cycle.
Excellent 3.8 brainstorm session today. People talked about a number of interesting ideas and started to form some groups around them. Not everyone is in IRC, so wanted to give an opportunity for people to post a comment with a given area here, and if you’re interested in contributing to that area reply to that comment. This allows people to connect asynchronously. As people comment please connect with them directly in IRC, email, whatever, and discuss.
Next week groups will bring more fleshed out proposals for forming a Plugin Project team, including a lead, mockups, user tests, existing plugins…
An upcoming free Stanford HCI (human computer interaction) course coming up:
(Hat tip: @DanielBachhuber.)
You might notice that this P2 has gotten a big head. All of the Make P2s have actually, and like the rug in the Big Lebowski we think it really ties the room together.
The Get Involved tab has been added, docs have been moved under support, home has been hidden. This isn’t ideal — we’d eventually like to move to more of a verb-oriented navigation system — but it is better than everything under Make being its own island and not really linked to or from the main W.org side, or to each other. Hopefully it will also let more folks know about how to get involved (I added a link to the Make Core Handbook to the top sidebar widget.)
The Core Contributor Handbook is live here, and has a lot of great content from a number of contributors already:
What we’re looking for is someone to “own” the CCH and be responsible for:
- Expanding and editing it, getting feedback from devs.
- Walking people through it to get ideas on how to improve it (and get people involved with WP!).
- Soliciting other contributors (don’t want a one-person show) and keeping an eye on all the changes.
- Figure out a cool way to package and print the handbook.
Let me know if you’re interested in taking on this role, a comment on this post is fine.
This also reminds me — it would be great to be able to see a feed of changes on a site, like edits to a page. Anyone have a favorite plugin there?
MT has given the typography on WordPress.org a refresh to bring it more in line with our sans-serif (instead of Lucida) approach in the WP dashboard, and also tightened up the vertical space the sub-heads were taking up on the page. Helvetica / Arial is a bit tougher than Lucida at smaller pixel sizes, so drop a comment here if you notice anything funky on the site.
Been giving a lot of thought to how to give plugin authors more control over their plugin pages. In WordPress custom headers have been hugely beneficial in people’s ability to make a theme their own without having to be a designer. (And designers can make them really sing.)
As an experiment we’ve turned on custom headers for the plugin directory. If you’d like to try out this feature:
- Make a 772×250 pixel jpeg or png. (No animated GIFs. :))
- Check it in to your plugin’s SVN directory with the path
assets/banner-772x250.(jpg|png). Note that the
assetsdirectory is added to your plugin’s root directory, not trunk.
- On the next plugin directory refresh (every 15 minutes or so) you should see your image start showing up on the page.
For an example of this in action, check out Hello Dolly, natch. Our goal is to mainly see how people use them, so if you try this out leave comment below with a link to your plugin!
Final note: this is just an experiment, and there is a 98.254% chance the dimensions, placement, and text overlay for this header will change in the future, or the idea might not work at all. But I think it’s a nice toe in the water for letting authors really make their plugin pages shine.
Remy, Plugin authors can now add custom header images to their WordPress.org listings | WPCandy, Wil, and 88 others are discussing. Toggle Comments
One idea that grew from this thread about the number of developers whose jobs are supported by WordPress was that we should try to get more information about the WP developer community at large. There are probably hundreds, maybe thousands, that have never registered at WordPress.org, let alone been to a WordCamp or subscribed to this blog. It would be interesting to know about them, and also to give them an opportunity to participate in (and maybe even contribute to) the community.
I’m planning on including a link to a survey in the 3.2 announcement post. Because the email goes to end-users as well as developers, this is a great opportunity to capture some feedback from them too. We’ll open source the anonymized/aggregate raw response data and probably present some of the analysis at WordCamps too, like the upcoming State of the Word at WCSF.
The goals of the survey are:
- Gather data on the number and nature of companies and independent developers that use WordPress. (How many jobs has WP created?) Use this both for some static reporting, but also to track trends over time if we do a similar survey next year.
- Provide the community with a picture of the end users. What people and companies use WordPress, and how?
- Inspire greater participation in the community through awareness and the opportunity to receive more information.
It’s currently sitting in the wiki at https://codex.wordpress.org/User:Pjad/WordPress_User/Developer_Survey
What do you think? Any questions missing or ones we should re-word?