This schedule assumes several things:

  • Contributors stick to time commitments and project cycle schedules
  • We absolutely do not let scope creep get the better of us
  • All committers slog through has-patch tickets regularly so patches don’t sit unattended until the end of cycle
  • Freeze means freeze
  • No major security issues crop up and pull people away from 3.5
  • No one gets really sick, has a baby, gets married, etc.
  • Up to 6 weeks of beta and 4 weeks of RC
  • No missing deadlines

The plan:

July 11-18, 2012 Confirm proposed scope.
July 25, 2012 Until now, focus has been on miscellaneous fixes and early patches, and exploring individual feature proposals (comps, brainstorming, etc.). We should be ramping up the development cycle here.
August 5, 2012 WordCamp San Francisco Hack Day. Initial gut check for feature planning and early development. Work through early-stage problems.
September 5, 2012 Soft freeze on feature development. This is an evaluation period. Here, we mercilessly cut things and quickly reassign contributors to things that need more attention. Three weeks until the hard freeze and beta 1.
September 26, 2012 Hard freeze on feature development. Stop feature development; focus on testing and compatibility (supported platforms, browsers, RTL, accessibility, etc). Ship a Beta 1.
From this point on, no more commits for any new enhancements or feature requests in this release cycle, only bug fixes. Any enhancements/feature requests not completed and committed by this point will be punted to future. Please don’t get angry and complain when this happens; it’s necessary to get us to an on-time release. You can keep working on your pet ticket and have it ready for 3.6 early.
October 10, 2012 Beta 2 target date. Two weeks after beta 1.
October 17, 2012
October 24, 2012
October 31, 2012
Betas 3, 4, 5. Keep the pressure up with an option for a beta release every Wednesday. (No more than two weeks between betas.)
November 7, 2012 Release Candidate 1 target date. Two weeks after beta 3. String freeze. Any work is focused on regressions and blockers only.
November 14, 2012
November 21, 2012
Release Candidates 2, 3, as needed. No more than two weeks between RCs. Must have at least a second RC on or before November 21, to keep us on track for December 5 (Thanksgiving is November 22).
November 30-Dec. 3 Final Release Candidate, if necessary.
December 5, 2012 Target date for WordPress 3.5 launch.

To get involved in WordPress core development, head on over to Trac and pick a 3.5 ticket. Need help? Check out the Core Contributor Handbook.

Get your patches done and submitted as soon as possible, then drum up people to test the patches and leave feedback on the ticket. As stated above, no patches for enhancements or feature requests will be committed after the posted deadlines, so that we can all focus on squashing bugs and hopefully deliver the most bug-free WordPress to date. Wish us luck!