WordPress 5.9 has already been downloaded nearly 12 million times since its release earlier this week. Millions of WordPress users are discovering full-site editing (FSE) for the first time. What will they think? What struggles with they have that will need to be addressed? WordPress developers and power users have done an immense amount of testing on FSE features, but a flood of feedback from real world users is about to make its way back to the architects.
Planning for 6.0 and beyond is already underway with a special recognition of the unique support load that follows such a big, complex release.
“I believe that the relationship between WP5.9 and WP6.0 will be similar to the relationship between WP5.0 and WP5.1 in that there will be copious user feedback to process so that we can extend, refine, and in some cases even rework the user experience with the vast new feature set introduced in 5.9,” WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy said in an update published earlier this evening.
Haden Chomphosy is proposing that WordPress aim for three major releases in 2022, with the next two coming in late May (6.0) and mid-October (6.1). This timeline will “let WP5.9 breathe a little,” Haden Chomphosy said. It will also allow contributors to tackle outstanding items on the Phase 2 roadmap before the project moves on to the third (Collaboration) phase.
Haden Chomphosy also put out a call for more project manager type contributors to wrangle some of the details moving forward, as those currently managing releases need more support.
Reports of contributors getting burned out during the 5.9 release cycle may indicate the packing so much into one release over a longer period of time isn’t optimal, though it may have been unavoidable given how interdependent many FSE features are that were set to launch.
The initial discussions about possible release timing for 2022 brought a lot of feedback, as quarterly was being considered as one of the options. This discussion came fresh off a stressful year where WordPress aimed for four major releases but ended up delivering two. With the current shortage of contributors skilled in project management and operations, a well-spaced trio of releases in 2022 seems like a more realistic and healthy approach for retaining contributors.