WordPress 4.9 kicked off in last week’s core developer meeting and the schedule for the upcoming WordPress release has now been published. Beta 1 has been scheduled for October 4 and the official release of WordPress 4.9 has been targeted for November 14, 2017.
WordPress 4.9 will be the second major release this year with the theme of editing code, managing plugins and themes, a user-centric way to customize a site, and will also aim to refine the existing features. Mel Choyce and Weston Ruter are the co-Release Leads for 4.9.
Choyce published a list of specific goals that outlines what they will be aiming for WordPress 4.9.
In the newest version of WordPress, the contributors are looking forward to adding a nested folder structure that will offer access to files deeper than two levels. They are also aiming to add better warnings for the users who are editing themes and plugins, an improvement which Choyce described as “graduating from cowboy coding school.” The feature will help users in preventing small errors that could have an impact their website negatively.
WordPress 4.9 will also come with improved code editing experience by adding syntax highlighting. 4.9 contributors are examining the possibility of incorporating CodeMirror functionality into the Customizer’s custom CSS box as well as the plugin and theme file editors. An experimental Syntax Highlighting Code Editor for WordPress Core plugins is currently in its development phase on GitHub as a potential solution for a seven-year-old trac ticket for code editor improvements.
One of the main specific goals for 4.9 is the customizer improvements. Contributors in the customization field are refining the ability to draft and schedule changesets in the Customizer. They are also looking forward to providing a better experience for the widget and menu mapping area. It will ease users when switching between themes, improving homepage settings (“Page on Front”), and displaying responsive images in the Customizer sidebar.
The list of goals for 4.9 also includes many other items and the release leads are tackling it with the understanding that some features and improvements may not be ready in time. One item on the list is getting in API endpoints that Gutenberg requires.
New Gutenberg design lead, Tammie Lister has proposed a revised, tentative roadmap that anticipates having the new editor ready for a merge proposal in December 2017 regarding WordPress 5.0. Lister said the outline is not yet set in stone and Gutenberg’s path to 5.0 would be dependent on the success of the merge proposal.
After a brief discussion, the proposed schedule was confirmed and the feature project merge deadline is coming up on September 27, followed by Beta 1 and Beta 2 on October 4 and October 11, respectively.
Any enhancements that are not ready to proceed will be put on hold for a future release.