If Deadlines Are Not Arbitrary, Why Not Release WordPress 5.0 in the Beginning of January?

The WordPress 5.0 release schedule has been published and not everyone is excited about the expected November 19th release. November 19th is three days before Thanksgiving, a major holiday in the U.S.

Historically, WordPress has shipped major versions in early to mid December rather than November. Holidays were considered because of the sharp drop-off in volunteer contribution activity. These versions were also part of a rigid and predictable four month schedule to get three major releases out per year.

However, WordPress 5.0 is no ordinary major release. It will contain Gutenberg and completely revamp the content creation and editing experience. Not to mention, we won’t know the full extent of plugin and theme compatibility until it’s installed on millions of sites.

Looking at the proposed release date and WordCamp US taking place on December 7th, it’s not out of the question to theorize the release occurring before and because of WCUS. It should be noted though that the roadmap Matt Mullenweg outlined at WordCamp EU earlier this year originally targeted a late August release.

I think it would be a bummer if WordPress 5.0 was not released before WordCamp US. However, it would be irresponsible as a project leader to force a release for public relations reasons.

As Mullenweg commented in a recently published article, he won’t release WordPress 5.0 until it’s ready. I don’t think releasing it to have a big moment on stage would qualify as being ready.

I think there should be consideration in pushing the release date to the beginning of next year. What better way to ring in the new year with a completely new editor in WordPress. It bypasses the holidays concern and allows people to apply all of their focus on making sure 5.0 is rolled out smoothly to sites they manage.

Gutenberg has been in development for more than a year and a half. Since the WordPress release strategy was thrown out the window last year and deadlines are not arbitrary, what’s a few more weeks of development and testing before pushing WordPress 5.0 to the public?

30 Comments


  1. I agree, at this point we have all waited so long and the debate of whether it should be included at all has long died there is no reason to release it during the holidays.

    I wouldn’t mind waiting for the release 2 more months (January) if it meant I don’t have to deal with this nonsense. It might give more time to do some final bug scrubs as well, and do some additional testing.

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    1. That is typical American Thinking, what about the rest of the world. Another delay of a Release is only waste of time. Let’s get it rolling out now on 19 November as it is the best date we can imagine, just fitting into our already scheduled WP5 updates over the years. In most parts of Asia we don’t have Thanks-giving or Christmas Holidays and if you really are so worried about a simply update only shows that until now no regular testing and updates have been done on your sites or customer sites. It is still not too late to start with exactly that right now!

      Let’s get Things done and no more waiting for WP 5.0! Please release it on 19 November!

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  2. Might be a good time to remind people that it also possible to keep to WordPress advantages without suffering from the agitations associated with the mismanagement of WordPress releases and features, by sidestepping to one of its forks.

    You already covered ClassicPress, but now I want to introduce calmPress https://calmpress.org/ which is about more than just being anti gutenberg. (yes there is an unfortunate collision with the initials. Seems like there are not enough characters in english or that developers suffer from very limited imagination ;) )

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    1. That looks nice, better than ClassicPress. I have created at some point a plugin called Lighthouse to remove/disable useless/deprecated/bloated functionality from WordPress. I think this fork is a step in the right direction. I’ll keep an eye on it.

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    2. CalmPress – ClassicPress has gone WAY beyond being just anti-gutenberg.

      Our vision is to be a business-focused CMS that is powerful, versatile and predictable. Our democratic process ensures power can’t be centralised and we’re setup as a not-for-profit and will soon be registered as a Charity.

      Our goal as a charity will be to reinvest all monies back into the development of ClassicPress, and to start initiatives to help those who use it, including training, grants and so on.

      You’d be more than welcome to join our growing team of volunteers – together we are stronger.

      I’d recommend everyone checks out our website to see how far we’ve come in such a short time.

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      1. It would make perfect sense to me for Calm and Classic to merge. I hesitate to say this but it’s going to be tough to make a success of either and the chances of both becoming a success are slim. So definitely a case of stronger together IMHO.

        I think many of us would like to see a viable alternative to WP (I don’t consider Joomla or Drupal as viable) and I wish both projects every success. It would also be nice to see some major injection of cash and support from a large tech company (hello Google).

        Oh, and while you’re at it, remove the “Press” bit from your name(s) :)

        Best of luck!!

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  3. For those of you who manage client sities – just update them after Thanksgiving :)

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  4. Just turn off any auto-update, and run this on your own schedule when you do have the time. This is really a non-issue.

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  5. I don’t understand the angst. Just don’t update until the day you want t update.

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    1. The vast majority of WordPress users have never tried Gutenberg, and probably know nothing about it.

      When they update to 5.0, they’re going to be presented with an unfamiliar editing screen that changes the way they write content.

      That’s going to cause a massive blowback and influx of support requests. We’ve already seen the beginning of this in the .org forums.

      Yes, the Classic Editor plugin can be installed – but there will still be additional support requests from people who want to use Gutenberg, but are struggling with it.

      Even if 5.0 is deemed to be “ready” for release in late November, it shouldn’t be released until January. If it is released over the Holiday season, send your thoughts and prayers to the people working in WordPress support.

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      1. You had enough time to build newer projects already with Gutenberg and to prepare your customers already for that change. Newer projects all contain Gutenberg since months in all our newer projects and our customers are more than happy with that and can’t wait to see the final release of WP 5 – so please keep 19 November.

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  6. If you’re worried about any sites you maintain: install and activate the Classic Editor plugin — you can do that right now. It won’t affect current installs, but will ignore Gutenberg when it does arrive, ensuring the upgrade to 5.0 will be much smoother.

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  7. define( ‘WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE’, false );
    add_filter( ‘auto_update_plugin’, ‘__return_false’ );
    add_filter( ‘auto_update_theme’, ‘__return_false’ );

    Turns off auto-updates. Just make sure to remove from your wp-config.php file after you’re done updating.

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  8. Will this update require immediate updates on our part with Divi & plugins? If not, we won’t be doing anything until AFTER the holidays anyway! Nov/Dec is JUST too crazy: client businesses want projects done before the 1st of the year, family concerns – What’s not to like about a WordPress update in JANUARY. Please……….

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  9. Not sure how this makes sense, as there’s nothing for a “moment” at WordCamp US.

    5.0 is just 4.9.8, which is already released and widely used, plus Gutenberg, which is already released and widely used. People with the classic editor plugin active will see literally no difference than the version number.

    There are some things I’m working on for the keynote, but they’re about Phase 2 and 3 of Gutenberg, other roadmap items, and some .org stuff. The release will be driven by the software being ready or not, not our arbitrary annual US conference.

    “I think there should be consideration in pushing the release date to the beginning of next year.” — Jeff, Gary’s post did exactly this, including saying alternative dates in January!

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    1. Make Gutenberg the default editor for WordPress.com and Calypsofirst, then let us know what the user reaction and opt-out rate is before we make it the default for everyone else.

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      1. That would make sense. And exactly that is why it simply will not happen that way.

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    2. Matt,

      You said something about phase 2 that is not clear – you said that widgets will be replaced by blocks. Are you referring to the built in widgets or all widgets will disappear?

      P.S. For anyone who has any doubts about Gutenberg, and prefers shortcodes, because they are very easy to create, head on the wordpress.org, and find and download the “Lazy Blocks – Gutenberg Blocks Constructor Plugin”. Thanks to this plugin, I went from absolutely hating Gutenberg, to (and I’m ashamed of being a traitor !!!), to absolutely loving Gutenberg, and seeing it’s potential.

      There are a few things that I don’t get with Gutnberg, and I fixed 2 out of the 3 biggest issues that I have. The editor’s 635px width (why???), adding space between the columns in the columns block, and making the blocks responsive (it’s 2018 – right?), but something that I can’t figure out is how to select multiple HORIZONTALLY laid blocks (using the columns block), so I can transform them in to a reusable block. Selecting multiple blocks that are vertically one under the other is not an issue, but horizontally laid blocks is a mission impossible.

      Thanks,
      Nick.

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    3. This Thanksgiving I’m going to THANK YOU for your continued support on this platform which brings food to our table.

      A year and a half which you guys spent on Gutenberg development were more than enough for any theme/plugin author to make their items/projects Gutenberg compatible and custom block rich.

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  10. I am a fixed deadlines guy… give you the last word.

    By the way…

    Do you know Twenty Eighteen WordPress Official Default Theme lunch date?

    Most webmasters I know think it is not happening this year.

    All I know is a volunteer moderator said If work starts on a Twenty Eighteen theme, it will be announced at https://make.wordpress.org/core/ first.

    Do you think that´s true?

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    1. Twenty Eighteen as far as I know is a no-go and to jump right into Twenty Nineteen as Matt said HERE

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  11. That Release Date is very good! Thanks – just perfect fit. If you really have problems and are worried about having to solve too many problems simply hire us ;-) we don’t have Thanks Giving, nor a Christmas Holiday and even working over the new year. It might be the best decision you took as you can celebrate all your holidays without any problems together with your families.

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  12. Its a US holiday, I get what folks are saying but its a big world out there.

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  13. I wish everyone would quit bitching about everything. Serious WordPress admins will control the updates applied to their websites. Get on with the rollout of WordPress 5.0 and be done with it. Move on folks, this is a non-issue and much ado about nothing…

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  14. I’m not a Gutenberg hater or anti-change but this is probably the biggest one in the history of WordPress and for those of us managing lots of client sites agree January would be an infinitely more sensible move.

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  15. Be lean. Launch faster. Fail faster. Fix faster. Rather than delaying launch til January. Maybe we can just launch faster, and let the market decide… Unless you want to enjoy holiday and release it on Jan 2019.

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  16. Good post Jeff. I like seeing some of your personal opinion in your articles. You know your stuff and do your homework. Don’t be afraid to inject your own perspective.

    Great stuff as always!

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  17. If we have contributors from all over the world, why are we all upset about US Thanksgiving? October 8 is the Canadian Thanksgiving. I am Canadian.

    At my work place, if someone is let’s say Jewish, and today is a Jewish holiday, we won’t expect the someone to come to work today. If you are Christian, we wont’ expect you over the Christmas day/eve. If you are Russian, Italian, Peruvian, Croatian. We won’t expect you to come on Russian, Italian, Peruvian, Croatian and so forth holidays.

    Releases shouldn’t revolved around US Holidays. With all due respect for Americans. Go have your turkey, or whatever you you do in US Thankgiving. Others will be working

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