Matt Mullenweg Announces WordPress 5.0 Release Plan, Estimates Release Candidate to Ship in November

Matt Mullenweg has announced a plan for releasing WordPress 5.0 with a tentative estimate for a release candidate to ship in November.

“With known knowns and known unknowns, I believe we will be at RC in about a month,” Mullenweg said. “However, I’ll be keeping a close eye on feedback during the beta process and adjust as needed and keep the community fully up-to-date with our best estimate.”

Gutenstats.blog shows that the beta plugin has passed 490,000 active installations, which Mullenweg said “far exceeds pre-release testing of anything that has ever come into core.” The Classic Editor plugin also has more than 400,000 installations, indicating nearly half a million site owners have already prepared to preserve their existing workflows.

“If we keep the 5.0 release to strictly 4.9.8 + Gutenberg, we will have a release that is both major and a non-event in terms of new code,” Mullenweg said. “It’s all battle-tested. In some ways 5.0 is already de facto out in the wild, with some forward-looking hosts already installing and activating Gutenberg for new installs.”

Mullenweg is leading the release but has designated 11 other leads to head up various focuses, including triage, design, JavaScript packages, REST API, merge process and several other important aspects of the release.

WordPress users can also expect a new default Twenty Nineteen theme to ship with 5.0. Designer Allan Cole will be leading that project, which involves adapting an existing Gutenberg theme for use as WordPress’ next default theme.

Last week’s developer chat left many attendees wondering about the status of WordPress 4.9.9. Contributors discussed the possibility of making it a quick PHP 7.3 compatibility release but it now appears to be all hands on deck as the focus shifts to 5.0.

Based on today’s announcement, it seems very likely that WordPress 5.0 will land before the end of 2018, barring any major impediments. The timeline for this major release falls during a busy time of year for many who will be responsible for preparing their products and client sites. Mullenweg said he will keep the community up-to-date as the release cycle progresses. The agenda for tomorrow’s dev chat will focus on 5.0 planning.