The Month in WordPress: September 2019
September has been a particularly busy month in the WordPress community—a lot of important work has been done as everyone in the project works towards an upcoming major release. Read on to find out more about this and everything else that has been going on over the past month.
WordPress 5.2.3 Security and Maintenance Release
Early in September, version 5.2.3 of WordPress was released as a security and maintenance release. Sixty-two individuals contributed to its 29 fixes and enhancements.
The security issues fixed in this release owe thanks to numerous people who disclosed them responsibly. You can read more about the vulnerability reporting process in the Core handbook.
WordPress 5.3 Enters Beta
WhileWordPress 5.3 is slated for release on November 12, it has already entered the beta phase with the second beta release being made available at the end of September. As this is a major release, it will feature a number of new features and enhancements, including significant improvements to the block editor, updates to the Site Health component, new block APIs, accessibility updates, and much more.
You can test the 5.3 beta release by installing the WordPress Beta Tester plugin on any WordPress site, although as this is software that is currently in development, we don’t recommend installing it on a live site.
Date/Time Component Improvements
For over a year, contributors involved in the Date/Time component of WordPress Core have been working hard on the “wp_date” project. The goal of this project is to fix and streamline the way that Core handles times and dates throughout the platform.
This ambitious project has seen incremental changes over the last few Core releases. The upcoming 5.3 release will include the final and most significant changes to the component, bringing much-needed stability to time handling in WordPress Core.
New Theme Review Team Structure
After recent discussions around the goals of the Theme Review team, some changes have been made to the leadership structure of the team. The team leads are now ‘representatives’ of different areas of the work that they do. This flat structure allows for representatives to work in more loosely defined areas so they contribute to the team in more diverse ways, and helps the team to be more focused on setting and achieving their goals. The new structure is outlined in the team handbook.
New Default Theme: Twenty Twenty
The upcoming 5.3 release will also include a new default theme for WordPress, Twenty Twenty. This theme will have a strong focus on readability and accessibility while being optimized for the block editor that first shipped with WordPress 5.0.
Development of Twenty Twenty has been going quickly, with a recent update showing more of the design and layouts that you can expect when the theme is released with WordPress 5.3 in November.
- The Gutenberg project has continued to see regular updates with the latest version set to be included in WordPress 5.3.
- Members of the Community Team will run a workshop to help event organizers create welcoming and diverse spaces for attendees.
- There are some proposed updates for the annual WordPress user survey that need community feedback.
- Work continues on the HelpHub project where contributors are moving documentation to the updated support portal.
- The Gutenberg team performed further usability tests in August, with some interesting results.
- Version 5.0 of BuddyPress was released near the end of this month, featuring a new REST API, improved group management, and other enhancements.
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