Delays in WordPress 5.9 Release
WordPress 5.9 is scheduled to be published by December 2021. A new version will be released in 2022.
According to WordPress, the third major version release for 2021 has been delayed to January 25, 2022. Even as recently as last week, core contributors were expressing concerns about whether the project would meet its 2021 deadline.
Behind the scenes, a rush to meet a deadline coincided with an awareness that failure to halt the release could result in “regrettable decisions” since “large red flags” warned there would be no way to discharge version 5.9 on time.
WordPress 5.9: High Expectations
As the first full site block editing feature in a WordPress version, version 5.9 is a major milestone for the WordPress community.
Using the Gutenberg block interface, publishers can edit every aspect of a website through Full Site Editing.
Gutenberg blocks are designed to make WordPress easier to use through a visual interface.
Version 5.9 Key Components Not Ready
Block-based editors were far from being complete even though they were easy to use.
Block-based editors are the future of WordPress, but without these essential components, its future remains uncertain.
They were faced with two decisions, according to the timeline published by WordPress:
- Implement a significantly reduced version of WordPress to meet the deadline.
- Bring back the deadline and release the full and intended version of WordPress 5.9.
WordPress said the following issues proved insurmountable and resulted in the delay in releasing version 5.9:
Near the end of the original alpha release cycle, issues arose that related to multiple major features planned for the 5.9 release, including:
Full Site Editing (FSE), which is a collection of features, such as global styles interface, Navigation Block, block themes, template editors, and site editing flows.
The Twenty Twenty-Two (TT2) theme, which depends on these FSE features.
The introduction of new features was frozen by WordPress in order to focus resources on the completion of version 5.9.
According to the announcement:
5.9 is still in feature freeze. Work from here on is strictly to address the changes that get the release to a stable state.
WordPress Rushed in an Unsafe Manner
A week ago, WordPress core contributors raised concerns. They noted that the project was far from being completed. She recommended that the release date be postponed, saying that it was being rushed too quickly.
The core contributor wrote:
I think there are some large red flags here that some things are not ready for 5.9.
Especially re-creating the entire post list for templates/template-parts at the last minute.
Don’t we want to give new flows ample testing in Gutenberg to ensure they are refined and the desired solution before including them in a core release?
We once thought the Nav Panel was the desired solution, imagine if we had shipped that to core WP just days after it had been developed. We would be regretting it now.
Overall, it seems like right now we are rushing things in a dangerous way.
We targeted 5.9 as the release for these items in the core but too many things are just not ready, hence the rushing to change so many things at the last minute.
Wouldn’t it be better to miss the expected target date than to rush potentially regrettable decisions and brand new flows into core WP at the last minute?
Releasing After Holiday is Better
From the outside looking in, it might seem frightening that WordPress core contributors are rushing things in a dangerous way to meet what is essentially an arbitrary deadline.
The core contributors were also frightened as the time ran out on a realistically delivered product.
In a way, it makes more sense to release a major version upgrade after the year-end holidays.
It is always possible for something to go wrong, and having it go wrong during the holiday shopping season would be a disaster.
There are several reasons why delaying the release until after the holidays makes sense.