Matt Mullenweg Announces WordPress 5.0 Release Plan, Estimates Release Candidate to Ship in November

Matt Mullenweg has announced a plan for releasing WordPress 5.0 with a tentative estimate for a release candidate to ship in November.

“With known knowns and known unknowns, I believe we will be at RC in about a month,” Mullenweg said. “However, I’ll be keeping a close eye on feedback during the beta process and adjust as needed and keep the community fully up-to-date with our best estimate.”

Gutenstats.blog shows that the beta plugin has passed 490,000 active installations, which Mullenweg said “far exceeds pre-release testing of anything that has ever come into core.” The Classic Editor plugin also has more than 400,000 installations, indicating nearly half a million site owners have already prepared to preserve their existing workflows.

“If we keep the 5.0 release to strictly 4.9.8 + Gutenberg, we will have a release that is both major and a non-event in terms of new code,” Mullenweg said. “It’s all battle-tested. In some ways 5.0 is already de facto out in the wild, with some forward-looking hosts already installing and activating Gutenberg for new installs.”

Mullenweg is leading the release but has designated 11 other leads to head up various focuses, including triage, design, JavaScript packages, REST API, merge process and several other important aspects of the release.

WordPress users can also expect a new default Twenty Nineteen theme to ship with 5.0. Designer Allan Cole will be leading that project, which involves adapting an existing Gutenberg theme for use as WordPress’ next default theme.

Last week’s developer chat left many attendees wondering about the status of WordPress 4.9.9. Contributors discussed the possibility of making it a quick PHP 7.3 compatibility release but it now appears to be all hands on deck as the focus shifts to 5.0.

Based on today’s announcement, it seems very likely that WordPress 5.0 will land before the end of 2018, barring any major impediments. The timeline for this major release falls during a busy time of year for many who will be responsible for preparing their products and client sites. Mullenweg said he will keep the community up-to-date as the release cycle progresses. The agenda for tomorrow’s dev chat will focus on 5.0 planning.

25 Comments


  1. Yes, release it around Christmas. We all love that :(

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    1. We (the team over at The Events Calendar) have a pretty comprehensive ebook we put out for people that aren’t familiar with the block editor yet. Chapters 1 & 2 are perfect to share with clients to give them a sense of what’s coming. Hope this helps!

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  2. With all the talk about the 490k sites that have Gutenberg installed, and that being the “great decider” why Gutenberg must be forced upon the world… why isn’t anyone concerned that, even the “official gutenberg stats” point out that WAY less than half of those sites have even USED gutenberg to write a post. How do I figure that?

    If 490K sites have Gutenberg installed and there have been 290k posts written. That means that 200k of the sites installed gutenberg have never used it. And at the same time, you can’t really have anyone believe that all 290k of the posts came from 290k sites. We all know how early adoter systems work. The small minority takes up a large portion of the usage statistics. So I would venture to say that less than 100k sites have even used the plugin (that assumption would basically say a site writes 3 posts.) But what if we assume that those that are actively using Gutenberg have written 10 posts each… that means only 29k sites are using gutenberg. And if we were to say that those “early adopters” have written 30 posts each using the plugin… then we are at less than 10,000 sites actually using Gutenberg…

    And at the same time… 400K+ have installed Classic Editor in the attempt to block Gutenberg and preserve the writing workflow that exists. So tell me this. 400K sites vs 10K sites… which is more persuasive.

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    1. I totally agree and I see it as you do. Also, given how prevalent WordPress is, last I checked 25-30% of the Internet, 490K sites seems like a drop in the bucket.

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    2. The posts number is only counting Jetpack sites, while the active sites is counting all. Also I believe it’s only counting posts, not pages created or edited to use Gutenberg. But don’t worry, at the speed posts are going up it will surpass active sites soon.

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      1. While I think the stats is fine, I’m really concerned about being tracked by Jetpack. I’ve been a Jetpack user for a long time but have no idea that I’m being tracked. As the privacy is a big deal today, I’m not feeling happy.

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      2. Oh, man. Many are worried. Especially with a release possibly coming out so close to the holidays in the US. A late 1st quarter 2019 release date (or early 2nd quarter) would be so much better for everyone, IMO. (way after the Jan 22 date, Nov 27 seems so crazy)

        I think it would keep the sanity of the developers trying to crunch through it, alleviate the stress on support staff and companies right before the holiday, and allow users to test it and learn it a little more.

        — Who wins by rushing it? Automattic and core developers may feel like they’re not rushing it, but the optics and the hands-on experience from people like me propose that it is being rushed.

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      3. Jetpack does not comply to GDPR requirements for this tracking.

        Beware: Using Jetpack is illegal in EU.

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  3. Matt Mullenweg’s “A Plan for 5.0” is actually a list about “several members of the WordPress community,” primarily his Automattic employees, assigned to the current team. Where’s the plan? For that look here:
    https://make.wordpress.org/core/5-0/

    This formal Release Schedule linked from the WordPress.org Roadmap is a table of steps including four Betas without any dates, just “TBD.”

    With such a major shift as WordPress 5 will bring, it’d be useful to have full details on WordPress.org. Here’s one example of the various roadmaps for Drupal:
    https://www.drupal.org/core/release-cycle-overview

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    1. Well, according to the Release Schedule, the kick-off is no earlier than November 15. Even allowing for a tight three-day cycle for each beta and 7-day weeks, we won’t a RC before the end of the month, if all goes well…

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    2. I see the Release Schedule now up to date (or did I miss that…), likely after today’s Core meeting. Beta period has ended and now in release candidate mode:
      https://make.wordpress.org/core/5-0/
      November 19, 2018 is Target date for release of WordPress 5.0.

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  4. I’ll be keeping a close eye on feedback

    This statement contradicts his previous stance regarding Gutenburg saying that they ignore the ratings.

    For those who are a little observant, note that Gutenberg PR people have stopped replying to GB reviews completely in the past few weeks.

    That’s telling of how much of a close eye he’ll be keeping on feedback.

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    1. I’ve been watching the ratings and in fact have read hundreds of the reviews. It’s great data, not all that’s useful, but certainly an input that’s been useful in the past year and a half of Gutenberg being in public beta.

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    2. Hiya,

      I’d like to interject that there are no “Gutenberg PR people”, we’re volunteers with very limited time, and we get worn out. It’s not a desired outcome, and it pains me to see so many topics go with no response, but there’s only so many hours in a day, and only so many of us there to try and help, guide, and listen to user input and also provide replies.

      Participation is encouraged, and we welcome anyone wanting to help out though

      The feedback of the reviews is being read though, it’s true we’re not picky about the star ratings, it’s the user experiences that get described that are of interest more so than arbitrary numeric values :)

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  5. I am not at all opposed to the “eventual” release of Gutenberg – in fact, I rather embrace the change, HOWEVER, it is my strong opinion that it is still not ready for prime time.

    Those of us who have embraced the imminent change, pre-prepared for this major change, and are actively planning our approach and implementation strategies realize the potential of the change – while at the same time, we are all blatantly aware of the Gutenberg shortcomings and complexity that it will present us.

    Matt (I hope you read this!),
    PLEASE do not release this until it is really ready! PLEASE listen to the myriad of designers and developers who are using WordPress to support their clients and their businesses.

    I feel we are truly at the mercy of Matt and his 5.0 release team. I would like to be able to believe and trust that the approach to the release of WordPress 5.0 will keep everyone’s best interest in mind. Sadly, that does NOT seem to be the case.

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    1. Thank you for your feedback — I don’t want to release unless it’s ready either. It’s not ready today, and that’s why it’s not released right now. When it is ready, we’ll put it out there.

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    2. Kerry, I totally agree with you.

      We are not against change. As a maintenance company, what we want for our clients is stability.

      I just can’t believe 4.9.9 was scratched like this and that a RC is planned for next month. How about a beta with a “stable” version of Gutenberg that is in use ?

      The plugins we developed won’t be impacted by Gutenberg because they almost all are back-end plugins. But I can’t imagine the pressure plugin authors like WPML, Polylang, Caldera Forms and others are feeling right now. We are mainly asking them to adjust their work, for the millions of users they handle, based on an un-stable plugin.

      That is insane.

      I’m not interested in setting a date. I’m interested in a release of a stable plugin for Gutenberg, a couple of months for developers to adjust and then, adding it to the core.

      It feels to me that the fact that no major version would be released in 2018 is a problem. That shouldn’t be.

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      1. That is surprising. I am happy with the progress of Gutenberg and impressed with the difference between now and even two months ago. It went from expletive-filled rants to “Oh, that’s what you were going for.” But it’s more than six weeks from perfection. It feels like only yesterday that they came out with handles that you didn’t have to chase to select, and it seems like many major developers have yet to announce completely compatible adaptations.

        Let’s keep at this healthy pace. People were surprised enough the first time by something that most people seemed not to want, to the point of conspiracy theories. Now, when they finally feel comfortable, the last thing anyone wants to see is the brand dragged down because things exploded on masse or weren’t firing on all cylinders.

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  6. Great news–very much looking forward to Gutenberg in core. The concerns about not releasing before it’s ready are fair, though I’m confident in judgement of the core team. Having more people involved this release cycle means more people involved deciding when it’s ready–good stuff!

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  7. Could Gutenberg be great? Eventually yes but what’s making it weak is what is left out, some things that would make it more practical and palatable to a lot more users.

    The biggy is how bad the code view is and has always been in WordPress. In fact I am warming to how you can target the code in each block.

    What’s letting it down is that the code is horribly formatted. I am surprised that WordPress has never cracked this seeing as it is the fundamental nuts and bolts of web design and, we see how it can be done in the Froala editor and CodePen. Additionally we recently have seen the introduction of code mirror in WordPress and it’s surprising that it hasn’t been further developed and pushed into more places in WP.

    A better IDE like experience for code would also clean up having to view all the comment tags delineating blocks and make the code more useable.

    Other small quibbles. Better implementation of metaboxes and how they can be arranged including WP standard controls like being able to move featured Ines to the top under the Title as you can do now for CPTs.

    Being realistic, my extras are not going to miraculous appear anytime soon due to the amount the time it takes to implement such things. This all begs the question why Gutenberg is being forced as the de facto default at this early stage. The implementation with classic plugin to retain the current editor is clumsy and bug prone. A simpler switch in Writing settings that triggers the filter:

    add_filter(‘gutenberg_can_edit_post_type’, ‘__return_false’);

    would be more sensible because Gutenberg and classic just don’t play well together.

    If and when Gutenberg hits the spot for all workflows and use cases with all pain point ironed out, then phase out the classic editor. It all just seems premature at this stage.

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    1. I may add, if you are reading Matt, that one other addition, in the long run, when you have time, is to add a de-block option where all the content can be reverted to a classic block. One can already do this manually if you copy all blocks and paste into a classic block and then manually remove the comment tags. It shouldn’t be too hard to write a script to automate this. Now I understand that it may be problematic where third party bocks are mixed in so theses instances these could be left untouched or at least the option to leave them untouched and placed after the content.

      This would play well for those developers who need to switch sites to new templates and who need to take pages back down to their bare content, doing this because they need to apply a radically different design or because they didn’t care for the work of the previous designer/developer.

      Looked at and tried the example of templates this morning and I can see where these would be of benefit. But, this is the point, Gutenberg has a lot further to go before any of these things are really useable and useful. Until then Gutenberg is redundant where combining options such as Divi and Toolset (or whatever you are having yourself) are just far more powerful and sophisticated solutions.

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  8. I’m currently rebuilding a very complex designer-built site using gutenberg that is a horrible mix of x-theme, visual composer plus other third party layout / editor tools. Gutenberg should resolve a lot of issues and make updates less problematic. But my biggest concern is the release date. End of year is always frantic with high workloads. The thought of receiving hundreds of unexpected support calls from clients in November is very scary. Mid January or early February much better.

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  9. Any major software release can cause problems. It seems logical to avoid doing anything that could interrupt people’s holidays. Holiday time is stressful enough for everyone, from clients to developers. And who wants to be upstaged by Santa?

    It seems to me that the potential negatives of releasing during holiday season outweigh the positives.

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