During Matt Mullenweg’s keynote speech at the Joomla World Conference this past weekend, he announced the date WordPress 3.8 would be released. The magical day is December 12th. It’s not that the release date was a secret, considering the project schedule was published before development got started. It’s just that for as long as I can remember, release dates didn’t mean anything. At least, that’s how it appeared.
Attitude Change Or Par For The Course?
When I asked Matt what was the sudden attitude change towards release dates, he responded with: “Deadlines aren’t arbitrary – http://wordpress.org/about/philosophy/“. Andrew Nacin also chimed in by linking to the same document. I get it. Release dates are not arbitrary. But it’s nice to see WordPress being delivered on whatever dates are being chosen. WordPress 3.7 shipped on time and it looks like they are going to be 2 for 2 with 3.8.
In the past, WordPress would have a project schedule with dates showing the different stages of development, including the final release date. Those schedules came with the caveat that they were not set in stone. From my perspective, it looked like those dates were rarely followed, if ever. Andrew Nacin educated me on the previous versions of WordPress and how close they were (or not) to being on schedule.
— Andrew Nacin (@nacin) November 10, 2013
Even if WordPress was late, it wasn’t the end of the world. We just had to wait a little longer for shiny new features. Thanks to the concurrent development of WordPress 3.7 and 3.8 along with proposed features being developed as plugins first, WordPress 3.8 is already ahead of the game. The old process would have had MP6, DASH, and WordPress 3.8 development start at the same time. Matt Mullenweg explains the new development process much better than I can.
Nice To Be On Schedule
Development schedules are promises that occasionally are broken. We know that release deadlines are not arbitrary. However, watching WordPress actually abide by the schedule set out before development starts is a nice change. Besides, how will we schedule WordPress release parties if we never know when the guest of honor will arrive?