All-women Release Squad

I recently commented on Twitter that I have a stretch goal of having a release squad that is all women by the end of 2020. With the work I’ve been doing to prepare for my upcoming sabbatical, I’ve been giving a lot of thought about how to do this and what I hope it accomplishes.

What’s the Goal?

The primary goal of any release cycle is to ship a stable and enhanced version of the WordPress CMS, but for the past year or so we’ve also been sharing the procedural work with a team of people. I affectionately refer to them as the release squad.

My hope is that with a release squad comprised entirely of people who identify as women, we’ll be able to increase the number women who have that experience and (hopefully) become returning contributors to Core and elsewhere. This doesn’t mean the release will only contain contributions from women. And if our current squad training process is any indication, it also doesn’t mean that we’re asking a squad to show up and do this without support.

What’s the Plan?

I have a list of about 75 women who raised their hands to participate in this release squad. I think that we can use the current squad training process (ride along, navigate while someone drives, drive while someone navigates) to progressively level up everyone’s skills. Stepping away at any time is an option as long as it’s communicated. 🙂

So far, this is the broad idea for how we will get there:

  1. Prepare and Plan
    1. Make sure the timing works for anyone who already volunteered.
    2. Determine current skills and team involvement.
    3. Reach out proactively to gather additional people where I don’t have quite enough.
    4. Gather groups and group mentors.
  2. Ride Along on Release 5.5
    1. Join triage sessions, meetings, etc and ask every question.
  3. Navigate Release 5.5.x
    1. Collaborate with the 5.5 release squad to navigate a point release and ask every question.
  4. Drive Release 5.6
    1. Drive the release while collaborating with some long-time women contributors.

How Can You Help?

The preparation for this will be a big undertaking, but probably just as much training effort as any other release squad I’ve worked with. It’s still a stretch goal, but I figure the best way to get there is to get started. I’m interested to hear from:

  • Anyone who wants to be a mentor or part of the release process.
  • Anyone who has a little extra time to help me with the preparation.
  • Anyone who has questions about how this will work. 🙂

#5-6 #planning

WordPress 5.4 Planning Roundup

According to the tentative release schedule for 2020-2021, we are due to start 5.4 this week.

These are the milestones, based on the previous cycle:

  • Kickoff: 14 15 January 2020
  • Beta 1: 11 February 2020 (4 weeks from kickoff)
  • Release Candidate 1: 03 March 2020 (3 weeks from beta 1)
  • General Release: 31 March 2020 (3 weeks from release candidate 1)

Proposed WordPress 5.4 Scope

The main goal for 2020 is full site editing via Gutenberg.

For 5.4 these are the tasks:

As with every release, all component maintainers and teams are invited to prioritize their bug-fixes and enhancements for 5.4. Some suggestions that came from a few maintainers included:

  • Build/Test Tools
    • Add support for the newer versions of PHPUnit
  • Comments
    • The component was dormant for a while so during this cycle the new maintainers will do gardening and bug fixing
  • Design
    • The Design Team has a long list of issues they want to work through and they are polishing it for publication.
  • Privacy
    • UI Improvements
  • Site Health
    • Performance improvement
    • Work on endpoints needed by Gutenberg (Menu API and Settings API)
  • Users
    • Changes to sites with a large number of users
    • Tweaks to REST API endpoints
  • Media

In addition, all components and teams are invited to continue polishing current interactions and making the UIs more user-friendly.

I also collected all the proposals from the open call for tickets: I will submit them to the relevant component maintainers so they can evaluate if there are enough resources to address them during this release cycle and update the status.

Please bear in mind, if a ticket is still waiting for review, has no patch, or no owner, it is unlikely that it will land in 5.4. This shouldn’t stop you from continuing to work on it, gather feedback and ultimately polish it enough to have it in a future release.

Proposed WordPress 5.4 Leads

This section is still pending some answers. I will fill it in as I get Yeses and Noes from people. 

The roles needed for the release are:

  • Design Coordinator
  • Editor Tech
  • Editor Design
  • Core Tech
  • Docs Coordinator
  • Docs Writer

@matt will continue his role as release lead.

As suggested by @desrosj in a comment, it makes sense to have some roles not change for every release because it takes a while to learn and pass on the information. So David Baumwald and I will stay on for at least a couple more releases, as Triage PM and Release Coordinator respectively. The goal is for us to learn enough so we can then mentor a new group of release and focus leads.

Let’s do this!

#5-4 #planning

Update: 9 Projects for 2019

Updated Jan 20 for more accurate reflection of targeted WP releases. -Josepha

About a year ago, Matt posted 9 projects for Core to focus on in 2019. We didn’t ship as many as hoped, but we made a lot of progress. I’ve shared each project below and included links to their primary tickets or round up posts. I’ve also included an idea of when they are likely to be complete where possible.


In Progress

What’s Next

The projects that we didn’t ship this year will carry over into 2020.

The Core/technology focus for 2020 will be full site editing (which happens primarily in #core-editor) as well as a few ecosystem needs for which we will look to #meta (easier releases, continued work on block directories, etc). For a concept of the long term roadmap, keep an eye on the Roadmap page; it’s updated frequently.

This post was compiled by @chanthaboune, and reviewed for clarity and accuracy by @andreamiddleton, @jeffpaul, and @matt.


5.2.3 Release Planning

You may have noticed discussions in devchat the last month or so* around timeframes for 5.3 later this year as well as working to release a 5.2.3 sooner than that due to resolved defects waiting to be released. This proposal provides an opportunity for us to release 5.2.3 in the nearer term while others begin to shift their focus to 5.3. Read on to see the proposed focus and timeline for 5.2.3!

Proposed focus

Along with the items already milestoned for 5.2.3, we can look into including items related to the PHP version bump coming in 5.3, backporting some block editor features, as well as improving accessibility and RTL issues. Issues noted below are linked to Trac and include their summary and related keywords for quick review.

The following relate to the PHP version bump:

  • #47160: Backport blocking of plugin updates if required PHP version is not supported [defect] [2nd-opinion] [needs-patch]
  • #47699: Remove redundant JSON polyfills for PHP native functionality [enhancement] [has-patch] [has-unit-tests] [needs-dev-note]
  • #47797: Provide compatible core update for users not on PHP >= 5.6 [enhancement] [has-patch] [needs-testing]

The following, along with any backported Gutenberg items, relate to improvements in the block editor:

  • #45739: Block Editor: $editor_styles bug. [closed] [defect]
  • #45935: A URL in do_block_editor_incompatible_meta_box function does not have classic-editor__forget parameter [closed] [defect]
  • #47079: Incorrect version for excerpt_allowed_blocks filter [closed] [defect]
  • #47216: Block Editor crashes on custom post types without title support [closed] [defect]
  • #47489: Emoji are substituted in preformatted blocks [closed] [defect]

The following relate to improvements across the accessibility and RTL focuses:

  • #30506: RTL: Hours and minutes fields order reversed in post editing [closed] [defect]
  • #46757: Media Trash: The Bulk Media options when in the Trash shouldn’t provide two primary buttons [closed] [defect]
  • #46758: Media Trash: Primary button(s) should be on the left [closed] [defect]
  • #46899: Ensure that tables generated by the Settings API have no semantics [closed] [defect]
  • #46978: Remove title attributes from the Meta widget [closed] [defect]
  • #47113: Media views: dismiss notice button is invisible [closed] [defect]
  • #47122: Media views: fix unlabelled controls [closed] [defect]
  • #47141: Radio and checkbox labels rely on implicit association [closed] [defect]
  • #47145: Feature Image dialog does not follow the dialog pattern [closed] [defect]
  • #47386: Fix headings hierarchy in the legacy Custom Background and Custom Header pages [closed] [defect]
  • #47390: Improve accessibility of forms elements within some “form-table” forms [closed] [defect]
  • #47458: Fix tab sequence order in the Media attachment browser [closed] [defect]
  • #47502: Media modal bottom toolbar cuts-off content in Internet Explorer 11 [closed] [defect]
  • #47603: My account toggle on admin bar not visible at high zoom levels [closed] [defect]
  • #47688: Color hex code in color picker displayed in RTL instead of LTR on RTL install (take 2) [closed] [defect]
  • #47693: customizer Color picker should get closed when click on color picker area. [closed] [defect]
  • #47758: Font sizes on installation screen are too small [closed] [defect]

While we haven’t historically handled default theme-related changes in a minor release, the following are also potentially viable and related to Block Editor and Accessibility improvements as well:

  • #47190: Twenty Seventeen: Native audio and video embeds have no focus state. [closed] [defect]
  • #47340: Twenty Nineteen: Revise Latest Posts block styles to support post content options. [closed] [defect]
  • #47414: Twenty Seventeen: Button block preview has extra spacing within button [closed] [defect]
  • #47543: Twenty Seventeen: buttons don’t change color on hover and focus [closed] [defect]

Proposed timeline

Proposed timeline for this minor release is as follows:

I recognize that the release is the week of the US Labor Day holiday, but hopefully we can keep roughly to this timeframe so that we don’t drag on too long into September and further disrupt plans on 5.3.

Actions needed

We’ll want to confirm this focus, timeline, and release lead(s) for 5.2.3 in devchat. So please comment on this post or come to devchat prepared to discuss, thanks!

Update on 15 August 2019

Note that from yesterday’s devchat that we’ve agreed to exclude the two “remove” related tickets from the proposed list of items in 5.2.3. I’ve gone ahead and used strikethrough on those in the listing above.

We’re working to capture release lead(s) nominations, so please add those to this post, yesterday’s devchat summary post, or come to next week’s devchat to nominate a lead. You’re welcome to nominate yourself or someone else. We plan to confirm release lead(s) in next week’s devchat and then work to confirm the 5.2.3 timeline.

Update on 27 August 2019

Note that during today’s bugscrub that we decided to skip RC2 as there are no new commits since RC1 and no regressions reported against RC1. We will continue with the remaining timeline and planned release on September 4, 2019 at 17:00 UTC.

* see: June 26th, July 3rd, July 10th, July 17th, July 31st, and August 7th.

#5-2-3, #planning

WordPress 5.3 Planning Roundup

In Core chat, I shared three potential target dates if we wanted to have one last release in 2019. There were pros and cons to each*, but after a lot of discussion and outreach it seems that the November date is the most comfortable option.

Proposed WordPress 5.3 Schedule

To give everyone a concept of what those target dates along the way will be, I’d like to suggest these (and open the comments for discussion):

  • Beta 1: 23 September, 2019
  • Release Candidate: 15 October, 2019
  • General Release: 12 November, 2019

For some context, the dates I’m trying to avoid in November are the week of the 4th (for post-WCUS recovery), and the week of the 25th (US Thanksgiving). The 11th of November is also an observed holiday in some countries. Let me know if I missed anything.

Proposed WordPress 5.3 Scope

I’ve asked most component maintainers for an idea of what could be included in a release during this timeframe. Most of these updates are focused on polishing current interactions and making the UIs more user friendly. Some highlights are:

  • Grouping: support for dividing your page into sections
  • Motion: support for visual motion when moving/arranging blocks
  • Column patterns and widths: support for fixed column widths, and predefined layouts
  • Big images: support for saving progress after a big image fails to upload
  • Media accessibility: some fixes and a lot of polish as a result of the a11y audit
  • PHP 7.4: support for the new version coming late in November
  • And also: Build/Test updates, better administration of emails, and a lot of under the hood improvements!

Proposed WordPress 5.3 Leads

This section is still pending some answers. I will fill it in as I get Yeses and Noes from people. 🙂

  • Editor Tech:
  • Editor Design:
  • Core Tech:
  • Theme:
  • Docs coordinator:
  • Marketing/Release Comms:
  • Triage PM:
  • Release coordinator:

*The Pro and Con Summary

  • The October target feels too soon, especially with summer holidays, pre-WCUS traveling/prep/etc, and multiple events that would take contributors time. But it does let us get in all the fresh updates that have happened in the past 10 Gutenberg releases.
  • The November target is after WCUS, but should land squarely before the holiday gauntlet. It is later than October and those updates are piling up, but it also gets us ready for PHP 7.4 coming at the end of November.
  • The December target is very far away, and we would want a minor before then (discussions of that minor have been colored by concerns with complexity). We could probably keep this target as a backup in case November goes sour. 🙂

#5-3 #planning

WordPress 3.6 Planning Session

I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays! We’re back to our regularly scheduled IRC meetings tomorrow, and are going to start by scoping and planning out the 3.6 cycle. Wednesday, Jan 2, 21:00 UTC. Please make every effort to attend! The theme I’m proposing for 3.6 is “Content Editing”, so especially start thinking about editing, editorial workflows, revisions, autosave, DFW, etc. Also be thinking about what you’d like to work on and how much time you can commit this cycle.

#3-6, #irc, #planning

Core Team Meetup Recap – Part I

As most people know, the core team (leads, primary committers, Matt) is having its annual meetup this week, packed into a house in Tybee Island, GA with an hour by hour schedule to try to get through as many things as we can. We’ll try to do recaps of everything we talk about to keep everyone in the loop (feel free to ask questions in the comments).


Matt, Mark Jaquith, Westi and I arrived (well, they arrived; I live here) on Monday and had a day to plan out the agenda topics and work out how we wanted to schedule the week. Â Rather than plot out a unique schedule every day, we put together a repeatable pattern for morning and afternoon that looked like this:

Schedule chart

For the record, “Break” means “Check email, catch up on Trac tickets, etc,” not, “Hang out on the couch watching Hulu.”

On Tuesday we also took a field trip to buy a cable modem capable of handling the bandwidth increase we’d ordered. That night, everyone else arrived: Nacin, Koop, Dion (dd32), Andrew (azaozz), and Jon (duck_). We had dinner at the Crab Shack and planned an early start on Wednesday.


Wednesday was our first day as a full group. We followed the schedule fairly well, though as always with us, some things took longer than expected. 🙂

Breakfast: We went to eat at the Breakfast Club, where a bunch of the guys had Blackhawk burritos in honor of our absent member, Ryan Boren.

Our first main topic was a 3.3 debrief to discuss for about 45 minutes how the 3.3 development cycle went. (Going to split out the notes from these sessions into separate posts, or this post will be a mile long.)

After that we had breakout sessions, where the intention was for smaller groups to brainstorm/discuss an issue, then come up with a proposal/recommendation to present to the group. The two topics were QA and Updates (specifically the road to auto-updating and how we could get there). Mark assigned people to each session and half the group went upstairs. Coincidentally, that was the UPdates group. (sorry) Afterward, we regrouped and caught each other up on our proposals.

Lunch: Blackhawk burritos keep you full for days, so people just made sandwiches.

Round 2 started bringing in @ryan via Skype video from his home in Texas. The main discussion centered on our development cycle/release process/scoping/timelines. We discussed a number of things we could try to keep the cycles more consistent, reduce bottlenecks, and improve accountability.

Dinner: It was my birthday, so we all went to the Tybee Island Social Club for “Winesday” and continued our talks about everything from the site to growing local developer and user communities. There may be a picture of Koop and/or Nacin wearing a child’s birthday hat. Mark Jaquith has the footage.


Breakfast: Miscellaneous breakfast stuff at the house. Pretty sure there was a bunch of bacon involved.

Morning session: Plugins, plugins, plugins. You name it, we talked about it. Findability in the directory, improving the repo and developer experience, plugin review, encouraging collaboration, 3rd party repos, communication with authors, and more.

Both breakout sessions were plugin-centric. In addition to general recommendations, each subteam was required to identify two discrete action items to help us move forward in their assigned area. One subteam (Me, Westi, Jon Cave, Andrew Ozz) was focused on planning upcoming sites in the Make and Learn areas, while the other (Matt, Nacin, Koop, Dion, Mark) focused on improving the directory.

This day we did an actual fun outing to get us out of our chairs and away from the laptops for a bit, and went out on a boat for an hour so the guys could get a tour of the river/marsh and hit the ocean as we looped past the Cockspur Lighthouse.

Core team, on a boat

Dion (dd32) and Matt

Mark and his lens


Matt and Cockspur Lighthouse, Tybee Island

After the boat, we went to lunch at North Beach Grill. There were conversations about infrastructure, performance, automated testing, and crawfish poppers. Before going back to the house, we did a 5-minute walk down to the water.

Westi on the beach

In the afternoon, rather than doing another block of heavy discussions, everyone worked on their computers. Some of you may have had some issues accessing svn etc last night, and so did we. So that took a while. After that it was general hackery and miscellaneous discussions about functions, bugs, and the usual things wp devs talk about when they are together. This lasted into the evening, so instead of going out to dinner we ordered pizza from Huc-a-Poo’s and kept working.


Today we’re having a modified schedule because Westi leaves to go home this evening, so we’re trying to get certain things finished before he leaves. We’ll be working this afternoon from a coworking space in downtown Savannah, and will be recording video responses to some of the questions on the forum thread I posted last week. If bandwidth supports it, we’ll livestream this while we record, and could possibly take more questions from people in #wordpress-dev. If we do it, we’ll use the Ustream “WordPress” user channel, and it will be mid-afternoon eastern time (maybe around 3pm?). Once we get there after lunch and can tell if the livestreaming will work, I’ll post on this blog with the verdict.

Off to Friday’s sessions! We’ll start posting the session writeups as time allows, but will get them all up there no later than the end of next week (there are a lot of notes).

#wptybee, #meetup, #planning