[wp-hackers] Community Views on Now and the Future

David House dmhouse at gmail.com
Sun Mar 5 15:50:45 GMT 2006

On 04/03/06, Robert Deaton <false.hopes at gmail.com> wrote:
> With the growing frequency of topics that are frustrated with the way
> WordPress is currently moving, especially this post from the forums
> list ( http://comox.textdrive.com/pipermail/wp-forums/2006-March/001532.html
> ), I'm growing curious as to how the hackers community as a whole
> feels, so I'd like to throw up a little survey, and find out what some
> people honestly think.

I tried responding to each question individually but I ended up just
writing a bitty essay, so here's my general feelings.

What we've got:
* A large community with a lot of good ideas and the skills to implement them
* A lot of people willing to give up their time to code, testing, docs
and support.
* A decent product that hundreds of thousands of people use

Where the flaws are:
* Matt's low participation in WP discussion.
* Lack of vision/long-term roadmap
* No release schedule

To expand in order:

Matt's commits are few and far between, to put it lightly. We also
don't see many of his words on hackers, and he has confessed he
doesn't read many of the threads. Yes, I know, he's a busy man, he
gets X amounts of emails per day. So perhaps its time he took a step
back from the development scene and became the project's
publicist/leader instead. He'd do a great job as the latter, being
tuned into the current blogging zeitgeist and getting invitations to
all kind of fancy conferences.


Skippy was totally right when he said we need a vision. I'm apparently
one of the "contributing developers" and I haven't seen any kind of
plan for 2.next (I presume the devs have now read through the various
2.next threads and decided what we want in it).

In terms of long-term mission, we have Matt's explanation of the
WordPress mission statement:
But that doesn't hold up to much scrutiny:

"You say you focus on web standards to produce something unique, but
how does coding in XHTML make your software any different from the
hundreds of other modern blog systems?". All the other buzzwords
dropped in that email don't seem to bear any relevance on day-to-day
discussion on the lists. When was the last time we said "ah, no, lets
not do that, that's not very semantic"? We say we're focusing on web
standards but things like Atom 1.0 recieve little attention.


We still have no kind of formal short- and medium-term roadmap. People
say stuff like "2.02 is coming soon" with no indication of when that
will be. Are the due dates on trac's Milestones set in stone? For
example, there's a due date of the 7th (Tuesday) for 2.02. Will we
stick to that? If not, when is it? This applies to major releases more
than minor ones. Can we set up some kind of timetable like the

- Major release
- Subsequent security releases if applicable
- 1 month's debugging
- Minor bug-fixing release
- Subsequent security releases if applicable
- 4-6 months' development
- 1 month's testing
- Final RC for plugin authors
- ~ 1 week, 10 days
- Major release

Then rinse and repeat. This is a 6-8 month timetable, which I think
sounds reasonable. People have been supportive of this in the past, I
feel it would relieve some of the tension around major releases.

(This is kind of unrelated, but didn't really fit in anywhere else.)
I'd also like to get some kind of formal review on tickets for
bg|commit status. As I see it we need five bug levels: 1) new 2)
confirmed 3) fix available 4) fix confirmed 5) commit. We'd move 1 ->
2 when someone can replicate, 2 -> 3 when someone posts a preliminary
patch, 3 -> 4 when someone confirms the patch works, and finally a bug
gardener or someone with similar seniority (e.g. a committor) would
move 4 -> 5 if the posted patch looks like a _good_ solution.


Finally, I'd like to add a couple of words regarding a recent success
the community has had. Speaking as a code-wrangler, I have to say I've
been encouraged by the last few weeks of activity. Ryan seems to have
put a lot of time into committing and coding, removing the committing
bottleneck. I've also been encouraged by attempts to improve WP's
quality of code, like http://trac.wordpress.org/ticket/2525.

Current opinion: we're improving.

-David House, dmhouse at gmail.com, http://xmouse.ithium.net

More information about the wp-hackers mailing list