After missing the dates for Beta 1 due to severe blocks, WordPress 5.9‘s release leads agreed last week to postpone the release. They proposed a timeline for moving forward at the time, which has now been verified.
The first beta is scheduled for November 30, 2021, with the following betas scheduled for December. The first release candidate is set for January 4, 2022, with the official release date set for January 25.
Matt Mullenweg’s deadlines are not arbitrary mindset has driven core development for the past decade, avoiding releases from being delayed by the temptation to cram in one more feature:
Deadlines aren’t set in stone; they’re a promise we make to ourselves and our users that helps us keep track of all the things that could be included in each release.
Deadlines allow agencies, product developers, and hosting firms with millions of WordPress users to plan ahead of time for upcoming releases, allowing more sites to update regularly. The situation with WordPress 5.9 is unique in that it entails delivering a set of interdependent features as well as laying the groundwork for a new style of the theme.
In a post announcing the new timeline, 5.9 Core Tech Lead Tonya Mork explained, “Because the FSE features are very closely linked, eliminating some of its elements would risk making the release unstable.” “Moving fixes to a 5.9 minor or 6.0 was ruled out to avoid offering a sub-optimal experience.”
According to Mork, the team contemplated deferring full-site editing (FSE) and the Twenty Twenty-Two theme that relies on it to 6.0, but decided that deploying the set of features sooner would be more beneficial.
“The 6.0 release isn’t expected until April 2022, which is far too long for the community to wait,” Mork remarked. “After going over this list of issues, the Core Editor team determined that the features could be released in 5.9 under the amended schedule.”
Anne McCarthy, who is co-leading the release’s testing, is in the trenches with FSE and produced a summary of why she believes the release should be delayed in this case. She mentioned better contributor sustainability and the value of users having access to the entire range of FSE features rather than smaller bits as reasons for the decision.
“In particular, pushing everything to 6.0 would postpone the Twenty Twenty-Two theme, the debut of block themes in general, and a tonne of user value in finding ways to change all areas of a site,” McCarthy explained.
The decision to push 5.9 back to January 2022 has received excellent feedback from all parties, and many people who have been following the project’s progress have praised the team’s candor throughout the decision-making process.
It’s encouraging to see the release leads behaving in the best interests of users and contributors rather than rushing something half-baked out the door.
Meanwhile, if you want a sneak peek at some of the latest features coming in 5.9, watch the video released by the release team today. It demonstrates the incredible flexibility of the future Twenty Twenty-Two theme, as well as how much more you can accomplish with WordPress without switching themes.
Jump in and start testing the new features ahead of the beta release if you want to be a part of the team that makes FSE better for everyone.