If Deadlines Are Not Arbitrary, Why Not Release WordPress 5.0 in the Beginning of January?

The WordPress 5.0 release schedule has been published and not everyone is excited about the expected November 19th release. November 19th is three days before Thanksgiving, a major holiday in the U.S.

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Historically, WordPress has shipped major versions in early to mid December rather than November. Holidays were considered because of the sharp drop-off in volunteer contribution activity. These versions were also part of a rigid and predictable four month schedule to get three major releases out per year.

However, WordPress 5.0 is no ordinary major release. It will contain Gutenberg and completely revamp the content creation and editing experience. Not to mention, we won’t know the full extent of plugin and theme compatibility until it’s installed on millions of sites.

Looking at the proposed release date and WordCamp US taking place on December 7th, it’s not out of the question to theorize the release occurring before and because of WCUS. It should be noted though that the roadmap Matt Mullenweg outlined at WordCamp EU earlier this year originally targeted a late August release.

I think it would be a bummer if WordPress 5.0 was not released before WordCamp US. However, it would be irresponsible as a project leader to force a release for public relations reasons.

As Mullenweg commented in a recently published article, he won’t release WordPress 5.0 until it’s ready. I don’t think releasing it to have a big moment on stage would qualify as being ready.

I think there should be consideration in pushing the release date to the beginning of next year. What better way to ring in the new year with a completely new editor in WordPress. It bypasses the holidays concern and allows people to apply all of their focus on making sure 5.0 is rolled out smoothly to sites they manage.

Gutenberg has been in development for more than a year and a half. Since the WordPress release strategy was thrown out the window last year and deadlines are not arbitrary, what’s a few more weeks of development and testing before pushing WordPress 5.0 to the public?