WordPress 5.3 Retrospective Recap and Next Steps

The week of WP 5.3 release I posted a call for feedback for the development workflow.

Thank you to everyone that left their comments! Reflecting on what worked and what didn’t is a great way to move forward together and steer the wheel if and when needed.

Some comments didn’t follow the proposed format of start/stop/continue so it wasn’t very clear where they fit: I tried to put them in one of the categories. I also rephrased some feedback that was sometimes given as a positive statement (continue doing A instead of B) and sometimes a negative statement (stop doing B and do A). Finally, I added feedback I collected from the focus leads or from anonymous sources.

If something doesn’t feel right let me know and I will amend the post.

Read on for everyone’s feedback!

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#5-3, #summary

Dev Chat Summary: November 20, 2019

Here’s a summary of the November 20 Dev Chat (agenda / Slack archive).


The 5.3 Retrospective – Call for Feedback post.

@clorith asked, “Would it be an idea to also allow for an anonymous form to submit to that? I know some folks may not be comfortable with the potential for conflict, and may feel safer giving an honest feedback if it wasn’t all public under their name? Then the feedback could be provided by the leads under a followup post, with no relation to individuals.”

@francina said she’d change the post to mention that anyone who’d like to give feedback privately is welcome to do so. 5.3 release leads @davidbaumwald, @youknowriad, @justinahinon, @audrasjb also committed to offering the same.

Upcoming Releases


@whyisjake offered the current list of tickets in the milestone at https://core.trac.wordpress.org/query?group=status&milestone=5.3.1

After a quick discussion of potential release dates, December 11, 2019 came out a potential winner. It’s pretty soon, but it still gives us time to triage 5.3 regressions and bugfixes. That decision is not final – it’s pending more discussion in the comments.

Got thoughts on timing? Please leave them in the comments – the sooner the better.

While we see how those conversations shake out, @audrasjb graciously offered to lead the first 5.3.1 bug scrub on Thursday November 21, 2019 18:00 UTC

Next up: a call for volunteers to lead the release.

@sergeybiryukov, @audrasjb, @amykamala, @marybaum, and @whyisjake all raised their hands. Everyone expressed great confidence in the potential candidates.

Want to be part of the 5.3.1 release squad? Please leave a comment.

Open floor

@youknowriad brought up a discrepancy in the release cadence between WordPress Core and Gutenberg:

By December 11, the date proposed for a 5.3.12 release, Gutenberg will be ahead of Core with about 5 releases and this is a problem. 12 Gutenberg releases shipped into 5.3 . This is too much for a single WordPress release and with the current schedule, it’s seems like this is going to be similar for 5.4. This is not tenable for the future. It’s hard to stabilize and ship, it’s hard to summarize the changes for third-party [developers] and users, it’s more scary to ship and people were recommending the plugin to be installed for their clients (and it’s risky since the plugin is a development plugin). So how to reduce that gap is a big issue that needs solving IMO.Ideally I do think a shorter release cycle for majors is better. (Why not just a 5.4 in like end of January). [O]therwise we’ll have to include enhancements in minors.

This generated a long discussion that continued well past the end of the Dev Chat. See the full conversation starting here.

@davidbaumwald led the chat and wrote these notes. @marybaum did some editing.

#5-3, #devchat, #summary

5.3 Retrospective – Call for feedback

5.3 “Kirk” was released on November 12, 2019. It was twelve weeks in the making, it had a big team behind it and the highest number of contributors ever. Congratulations to everyone!

In order to prepare a retrospective post, I would like to ask everyone to leave some comments below with things they would like to bring up. To help, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What should WordPress start doing as a part of the development process?
  • What should WordPress stop doing as a part of the development process?
  • What should WordPress continue doing as a part of the development process?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below! Remember when commenting to keep the discussion professional and focused on ways the process of creating WordPress is either already working great or can be improved.

Edited to Add: if you rather not give your feedback in a public space, please reach out to the following people on Slack. They are available to collect your feedback in a safe space, with no judgement and use it in the retrospective in an anonymous form:

#5-3, #retrospective

Dev Chat Summary: November 13, 2019

@francina led this week’s dev chat – the last one of the 5.3 release cycle – see the agenda here.

For the full transcript, see the Slack archive here.

Your faithful reporter: @amykamala. Let’s get going!


@francina opened Announcements with the release of WordPress 5.3, which went live on November 12, 2019!

She congratulated everyone, NOT just the folks active in the chat, on an amazing job. Several Core committers were especially pleased that 5.3 came in on schedule (🎉) with the biggest group of contributors ever.

Here are a few statistics:

  • 12 weeks of development
  • A release squad with nine focus leads, covering every relevant component that got an update
  • 645 contributors
  • 658 bugfixes
  • A new default theme, Twenty Twenty
  • Lots of fun and new friends made
  • And much, much more!

Before release the squad counted at least 153 user-experience enhancements.

Highlighted Posts

The annual WordPress survey is open! Your feedback is not just appreciated – it’s vital to the future of WordPress. So please fill it out and share it everywhere you can think of.

Tanking the floor for a moment, @chanthaboune told the group this survey is new – not the same as last year – and is broader. Whether you’re a contributor, designers, developers, users or hosts, please participate!

Again, please share the survey with anyone who touches WordPress in any way.

5.3 Housekeeping

Big thanks to everyone who has helped with testing so far! If that includes you, please keep testing and report any issues, concerns or enhancement ideas in a comment on Trac.

That’s how WordPress gets better and you get to shepherd your best ideas through the process.

Need a refresher on how it works? Here’s an outline of the post-release process.

@francina wrapped the discussion with a note that in the next few weeks the release leads will open a call for retrospective. Want to share some honest, constructive feedback? That’ll be your chance!

5.3 Housekeeping Calls from component maintainers

@francina opened the floor for component maintainers to bring up topics for discussion. These are the components.

@marybaum said “I love that we have a #core-css channel. Does that mean Core CSS is a component?”

@peterwilsoncc replied, “it’s closer to a focus than a component. Tickets can still be assigned to the affected component, eg Admin, Themes, etc. “

@sergey asked “If we have a `javascript` focus, should we add one for CSS as well? 

After a few more comments from folks, @francina reminded all 30,000-plus potential attendees that we don’t make final decisions in devchat.

She asked the folks talking about CSS to follow this process:

  • Make a proposal on the Core blog
  • Discuss
  • Come to a conclusion
  • Act

Here are the reports from other component maintainers:

@williampatton: “Themes component is looking good. Prepping for next release.” 

@peterwilsoncc: “From the security team, now we have a Travis CI account that allows for private repos, we have the security tests running regularly. It should make it easier to find out if they’re passing during the release process.” and went on to ask @sergey if it was possible to add it to Trac.

@garret-eclipse: “In the privacy component @rogierlankhorst has started work on a consent api.

Open Floor

@mensmaximus asked whether “we ever change the user management screen to a tabbed interface. What is the current state and what do core devs think?”

@williampatton started with a general reply: “There are lots of thoughts on redesign for user management, but lots of ideas mean lots of decisions [making it] hard to reach agreement.”

A lively discussion followed. Hopefully the WordPress world will see some new ideas for an even more usable Admin experience!

(Ed. note: The UX discussion and the conversation below, about jQuery, happened at the same time, and you’ll see the comments jump from one to the other. Still, imo, both are worth your time and effort to decipher!)

@enrico.sorcinelli has “noticed that Juery’s `$` is no longer globally defined in admin.” That’s made some of their client sites cause issues with users’ code.

@clorith answered, “The jQuery `$` being globally available was a bug.” That bug got fixed in one of the JS updates in 5.3.

“Although it’s not ideal, reports of issues are fewer than expected, and the code errors would be within the plugin code,” @clorith continued, adding, “I tend to lean towards leaving it being the right thing.” 

Here’s the ticket they’re talking about and the full discussion, including some observations on the future of jQuery.

@clorith noticed two items leading the pack of recurring issues, 24 hours in:

  • The update to add_submenu_page gives doing-it-wrong errors. We knew this, but devs weren’t prepared for users to have debugging enabled. 
  • The change to spread operators had plugins breaking, because things like custom walkers had dependencies on the previous operators.

See the full discussion starting at the link above. (Ed. note: this highlighted test is the same link.)

@pbiron asked if anyone had reported problems with the new big-images or rotate-on-upload features. 

@clorith and others noted very few issues.

#5-3, #devchat, #meeting-notes

WordPress 5.3 RC 5

The fifth release candidate for WordPress 5.3 is now available for testing.

WordPress 5.3 is currently scheduled to be released on November 12 2019.

There are two ways to test WordPress 5.3 release candidate 5:

For details about what to expect in WordPress 5.3, please see the first,  secondthird and fourth release candidate posts.

Release Candidate 5 contains some bug fixes for the new default theme, Twenty Twenty – for reference, see #48557 – and addresses the following tickets:

  • #47708 – 5.3 about page
  • #48312 – Fix a typo in an inline comment
  • #48542 – In wp_default_packages_inline_scripts(), make sure the root URL middleware is registered before using the media middleware
  • #48543 – Comments: check if comment form element exists before adding a key handler to detect the cmd/ctrl-enter key press.
  • #48517 – Bundled themes: several changes to ensure consistency and accuracy for default theme headers
  • #48518 – Upload: When an image was scaled because it is larger than the big image threshold, use the originally uploaded image’s dimensions in wp_get_missing_image_subsizes(). Fixes an edge case/inconsistent behaviour when a registered image sub-size is also larger than the big image threshold.

Plugin and Theme Developers

Please test your plugins and themes against WordPress 5.3 and update the Tested up to version in the readme to 5.3. If you find compatibility problems, please be sure to post to the support forums so we can figure those out before the final release.

The WordPress 5.3 Field Guide has also been published, which details the major changes.

How to Help

Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages!

If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.

#5-3, #testing

Dev Chat Summary: November 6, 2019 (5.3 week 12)

This post summarizes the weekly dev chat meeting from November 6th 2019 (agenda / Slack archive).


WordPress version 5.3 Release Candidate 4 was released on Tuesday 5th. Everyone please help by testing out the RC.

Upcoming Releases – 5.3

@joyously asked where to look to see how translations are going for WordPress 5.3. @mapk shared the link to the project summary on Translate.

@collet raised some issues discovered on Twenty Twenty:

  • One issue related to nested rules in full-width Group & Cover blocks: 965.
  • Four issues related to column block: 960, 961, 962 and 963.
  • One issue related to nested blocks on starter content: #959
  • Also mentioned a pull request (701) that would be a worth inclusion in 5.3

@johnbillion answered Twenty Twenty can be updated independently of core. It’s ultimately up to the team behind the theme to decide if any of these bugs need to go into Twenty Twenty before 5.3 is released, or whether they can wait until a patch release of the theme.

@anlino will take a look at fixes for the columns issues today and tomorrow. Hopefully he can get those fixes before 5.3 final release. If there isn’t time to get them tested and merged properly, at least we’ll have the fixes good to go post-release.

The issues will be discussed in Twenty Twenty GitHub repository and in the core-themes and core-editor Slack channels to see what can land in time for final release of 5.3.

@collet also mentioned an issue related to the About page. In the about page. it’s said that “Heading blocks now offer controls for text and background color”. However, there is no control to change the background color inside the editor. It doesn’t appear to be related to Twenty Twenty. It needs to be updated in the About page.

Finally, @mikeschroder asked for more testing concerning a recent post published on Make/Core: Use of the “wp_update_attachment_metadata” filter as “upload is complete” hook

Open floor

@isabel_brison asked if a core-css channel could be created on Make WordPress Slack team to discuss CSS stuff. Given the amount of positive reactions, the Slack channel was immediately created by @peterwilsoncc 💥🕺💃

@mpcube asked for a review on ticket #48506. Discussion to continue in the proper ticket.

Move Dev chat meeting time (end of daylight saving time)

@audrasjb asked for a final decision about moving the dev chat meeting time with end of daylight savings time (DST). The meeting attendees agreed to move it from 20:00 UTC to 21:00 UTC starting on Wednesday 13th November. The New Contributor Meeting will also move from 19:00 UTC to 20:00 UTC.

These notes were taken by @audrasjb and proofread by @davidbaumwald

#5-3, #css, #devchat, #twentytwenty

Dev Chat Summary: October 30th 2019

This post summarizes the weekly dev chat meeting from October 30th 2019 (agenda / Slack Archive).


WordPress version 5.3 Release Candidate 3 was released on Tuesday. Everyone please help by testing out the RC.

Core editor team released Gutenberg version 6.8.

Dev chat meeting time

Like every year, with end of DST (daylight saving time), the meeting time should be moved from 20:00 UTC to 21:00 UTC.

Two options are proposed:

  • Moving on Wednesday November 13th (the day after WP 5.3 is going to be released)
  • Moving on Wednesday November 20th (one week later)

Please share your thoughts in this post’s comments.

WordCamp US Contributor Day

WordCamp US’s contributor day is planned for Sunday 3rd November.

5.3 was branched last week, so contributors will be able to work on WordPress 5.4 milestone since trunk is now version 5.4-alpha.

@earnjam and @wpscholar will be leading the core table, Helping people get set up, learn how to get started, find places to focus on work, etc. They also should have several component leads present that can split off and focus on their areas for people who are interested.

Upcoming Releases

WordPress 5.3 Release Candidate 4 is scheduled next Tuesday if needed.

There is still 7 tickets open in the milestone.

@azaozz regrets that things weren’t reported much earlier, during beta. By the way, two tickets have patches already, one is almost there, and one may be a candidate for 5.3.1. As 5.3 was branched, all fixes are probably going to be committed to trunk (5.4-alpha) but hold on on merging to 5.3 for couple of days to allow easier testing and review. All are (possible) regressions with the way some plugins use particular hooks around image post-processing and image meta updates.

@joyously reported a feedback found in Alpha/Beta support forum. It was already merged to Gutenberg and looks fixed in 5.3 block editor code. @youknowriad was pinged as Editor focus lead for WP 5.3.

Open floor

@joyously asked about backporting security fixes to old versions request’s status.

@clorith and @audrasjb noted there will be a panel session at WordCamp US. For those who are not attending WordCamp US, questions can be sent via Twitter.

@desrosj added that there was a very large amount of feedback. @chanthaboune and others are working to compile all that feedback so that all of it can receive proper consideration.

#5-3, #contributor-day, #wcus

Dev Chat Agenda for October 30, 2019 (5.3 week 11)

Here is the agenda for the weekly meeting happening later today: Wednesday 30 October 2019 at 20:00 UTC. Please share any items you’d like to include in the comments below!

  • Announcements
    • Highlighted posts
    • Move Dev chat meeting time (end of daylight saving time)
  • WCUS/contributor day
  • Upcoming Release Discussions
  • Calls from component maintainers
  • Open Floor

If you have anything to propose for the agenda or specific items related to those listed above, please leave a comment below.

This meeting is held in the #core channel. To join the meeting, you’ll need an account on the Making WordPress Slack.

#5-3, #agenda, #devchat

Dev Chat: 10/23/2019

The facilitator for this week’s chat was @audrasjb.


WordPress version 5.3-RC2 was released on Tuesday. Everyone please help by testing out the RC.

The latest Dev Note published for 5.3 discuses “Noteworthy Admin CSS Changes in WordPress 5.3”.

Also, the official Field Guide for 5.3 was published!

@audrasjb called attention to the wonderful documentation work this cycle by @justinahinon and @jeffpaul. Thank you to both for their extraordinary efforts!

5.3 Updates

@azaozz Pointed out that there are only two tickets needing work after RC2, excluding the About Page. Follow the ticket progress in Trac here.

@ianbelanger informed the group that there are currently 0 tickets in the Bundled Themes component for Twenty Twenty. However, he added that an RC3 release would be helpful.

@audrasjb brought up ticket #48396 regarding @afercia‘s request to revert two lines of CSS to remove an unwanted changes on disabled buttons. @azaozz confirmed the revert to be a minor one and suggested that it move forward based on testing.

A pre-RC3 Bug Scrub in the #core channel was tentatively scheduled for Monday October 28, 2019 15:00 UTC. If there are no new tickets or regressions reported prior, the scrub will not take place.

@sergeybiryukov asked about branching for 5.3 this week. @peterwilsoncc suggested certainly branching before WordCamp US Contributor Day, as to allow for good-first-tickets to be committed for new contributors. @desrosj added that branching could be done at any time now that the dust has settled from RC2, but deferred to @azaozz‘s judgement as Core Tech Lead for 5.3. @azaozz suggested trying to resolve a couple of remaining issues in 5.3 prior to branching in the next few days, and a consensus was reached around this idea.

These notes were taking by @davidbaumwald and proofread by @audrasjb

#5-3, #dev-chat, #summary

Dev Chat Agenda for October 23, 2019 (5.3 week 10)

Here is the agenda for the weekly meeting happening later today: Wednesday, October 23, 2019, 20:00 UTC. Please share any items you’d like to include in the comments below!

  • Announcements and highlighted posts
  • Upcoming Release Discussions
  • Calls from component maintainers
  • Open Floor

If you have anything to propose for the agenda or specific items related to those listed above, please leave a comment below.

This meeting is held in the #core channel. To join the meeting, you’ll need an account on the Making WordPress Slack.

#5-3, #agenda, #devchat