WordPress 4.7 Development Kicks Off This Week

WordPress 4.7 development officially kicked off at today’s meeting in the #core Slack channel. This release is being led by lead developer Helen Hou-Sandí who has selected Aaron Jorbin and Jeff Paul as release deputies.

The first item on the agenda was an update on the upcoming 4.6.1 maintenance release. Jeremy Felt reported that the team managing the release set a schedule with a release candidate planned for September 1 and the official release on September 7.

New Default Theme (Twenty Seventeen) Under Consideration

Hou-Sandí opened the meeting with discussion on potential focus areas for 4.7. As this is the last release for 2016, many are wondering if a new default theme (Twenty Seventeen) will be included in the release.

“I am looking into this, and there is some promise out there,” Hou-Sandí said. “I know there have been a lot of questions in the past around why it hasn’t been a public process starting with design, and beyond the difficulties of design-by-committee, I am coming at this a bit late and cannot possibly start a raw process and have that finish within the next two months.”

She said she is working on having a definitive answer within the next week or two on whether a new default theme will be in the works.

Contributors Discuss a Roadmap for Getting WP REST API Endpoints Into WordPress 4.7

Hou-Sandí also addressed the possibility of getting the WP REST API endpionts committed to core during 4.7, a topic of great interest to the WordPress developer community.

“I am here to do everything I can to help with a proposed next step for 4.7, which would be content endpoints,” she said. Although getting the endpoints into core is not a guarantee, it’s a goal for which Hou-Sandí is willing to create a roadmap, with the help of contributors. The roadmap would provide an outline for what it would take to make it happen for 4.7, as well as a roadmap for “full management and admin API coverage.”

“The premise here is that content endpoints (posts, terms, comment, users, and their associated meta) represent the majority of use cases for the REST API,” Hou-Sandí said. “v2 of the plugin represents the non-meta endpoints, and has picked up in adoption, with I believe around 32k active installs. A lot of people and plugins roll their own endpoints as well, which are harder to detect, but some widely used plugins like WooCommerce can also be thought of indicative of REST API usage.”

Hou-Sandí identified a few important items that would give the WP REST API a good chance for success, including rigorous testing with 4.6 and trunk, resolution of remaining “quirky” issues such as password-protected posts, support for meta and options, a plan for forward compatibility, and security reviews from experts both inside and outside the WordPress community. She opened up the floor for more input on contributor availability and steps to making the project a success.

If the WP REST API endpoints are to make it into 4.7, contributors will need to be on board for tackling a sizable roadmap in just nine weeks before the first beta. Those in attendance at the meeting were enthusiastic and willing to make the final push. The team will meet next Monday in the #core-restapi channel to discuss a possible roadmap.

4.7 Wishlist Items: Better Organization for Media, Improved Theme Setup Experience, Improved Customizer Usability

The 4.7 wishlist items post already has dozens of ideas, most of which also have comments and engagement. The post is still open for feedback. After the dev chat, Hou-Sandí opened the floor for contributors to discuss areas of focus, which she said should be “specific enough to be actionable and mappable.”

Better organization for the WordPress media library is one common theme among the wishlist items. This includes improvements such as the ability to tag media items and search by file name.

Customizer component co-maintainer Nick Halsey said that he and others are working on eliminating usability dead ends in the customizer, which would include adding content authorship to navigation menus and allowing users to install themes directly in the customizer.

Hou-Sandí is also interested in improving the initial theme setup experience in 4.7 and recently posted about the problems she encountered and how core contributors can work on improving the experience.

The target date for WordPress 4.7 is December 6, which means the release should drop shortly after WordCamp US in Philadelphia. Beta 1 is expected October 26 and a release candidate is targeted for mid-November.


8 responses to “WordPress 4.7 Development Kicks Off This Week”

    • Regular and frequent releases are an important part of the WordPress Philosophies:

      The more frequent and regular releases are, the less important it is for any particular feature to be in this release. If it doesn’t make it for this one, it’ll just be a few months before the next one. When releases become unpredictable or few and far between, there’s more pressure to try and squeeze in that one more thing because it’s going to be so long before the next one. Delay begets delay.

    • Two things about the 2017 suggestion specifically:

      1. Moving the release date to 2017 would need to take until well into March to make any sort of difference – as it stands, all significant development for 4.7 has to be completed before the US Thanksgiving holiday. WCUS is another interruption just a week after that, and then the release is directly afterward in order to be well before the middle of the month and allow for a worst-case delay that does not adversely impact holidays. The period from late November through early January is low activity across the board (not just in WordPress), as people take time off or have other obligations. To then ramp back up would not be very far from starting a release all over again, which is why it doesn’t make sense to carry a release cycle across the new year.

      2. I volunteered (and agreed) to take over release lead duties for 4.7 based on a August-December 2016 timeline. It is not possible for me to continue this into 2017 given the above. Seems pretty important to have the release lead, you know, lead the release. If I want to enjoy the holidays, then I better have this done before then.


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