Last week we released version 4.8 “Evans” of WordPress, as I write this it has had about 4.8 million downloads already. The release was stable and has been received well, and we were able do the merge and beta a bit faster than we have before.
When I originally wrote about the three focuses for the year (and in the State of the Word) I said releases would be driven by improvements in those three areas, and people in particular are anticipating the new Gutenberg editor, so I wanted to talk a bit about what’s changed and what I’ve learned in the past few months that caused us to course correct and do an intermediate 4.8 release, and why there will likely be a 4.9 before Gutenberg comes in.
Right now the vast majority of effort is going into the new editing experience, and the progress has been great, but because we’re going to use the new editor as the basis for our new customization experience it means that the leads for the customization focus have to wait for Gutenberg to get a bit further along before we can build on that foundation. Mel and Weston took this as an opportunity to think about not just the “Customizer”, which is a screen and code base within WP, but really thinking in a user-centric way about what it means to customize a site and they identified a number of low-hanging fruits, areas like widgets where we could have a big user impact with relatively little effort.
WordPress is littered with little inconsistencies and gaps in the user experience that aren’t hard to fix, but are hard to notice the 500th time you’re looking at a screen.
I didn’t think we’d be able to sustain the effort on the editor and still do a meaningful user release in the meantime, but we did, and I think we can do it again.
4.8 also brought in a number of developer and accessibility improvements, including dropping support for old IE versions, but as I mentioned (too harshly) in my first quarter check-in there hasn’t been as much happening on the REST API side of things, but after talking to some folks at WordCamp EU and the community summit before I’m optimistic about that improving. Something else I didn’t anticipate was wp-cli coming under the wing of WP.org as an official project, which is huge for developers and people building on WP. (It’s worth mentioning wp-cli and REST API work great together.)
To summarize: The main focus of the editor is going great, customization has been getting improvements shipped to users, the wp-cli has become like the third focus, and I’m optimistic about REST-based development the remainder of the year.
I’ll be on stage at WordCamp Europe in Paris tomorrow afternoon doing a Q&A with Om Malik and taking audience questions, will also have a few announcements. You can get to the livestream tomorrow on the WordCamp EU homepage.
10 replies on “4.8 and What’s Coming”
What time is the interview?
I don’t see it here:
It’s going to be at 3pm Paris Time.
Tx! For anyone else on EST, tune in at 9a tmrw, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6Jg8U-vPIE
Actually that was yesterday, this will be this afternoon’s link: https://youtu.be/e88INrSX5yk
I’m enjoying 4.8, and the text widget visual editor is going to make a huge difference for some of my clients who want to manage basic updates but don’t feel comfortable with code. Looking forward to your livestream tomorrow.
I would like to see support for image maps in the WYSIWYG editor. This would make it really easy to edit content and it would be mobile friendly. You have done much to improve the editing and content management experience of WordPress. Keep up the good work!
Very exciting. WP-4-Life!
When I saw theme twenty-seventeen, I felt WP was now getting really fun and hip. WP 4.8 confirms to me that we are getting unto the fast and furious highway… now. I think the current direction is good. Keep going.
[…] from the talks, for me, was when Mark Mullenweg announced a new feature to WordPress called Gutenberg. Gutenberg is essentially a new way of structuring and creating your content in WordPress, giving […]
[…] elaborated on changes to the release process in a post on his personal blog. The original idea was for releases to be driven by improvements to the three focus areas (the […]