Some significant recent news about Gutenberg and its release has come out this week.
Matt Mullenweg announced an expansion of the release team and named some members of the WordPress community who will help lead “the critical focuses required for a smooth and successful release.” Things like triage, accessibility, REST API, and themes are mentioned. Matt says he “believe[s] we will be at RC in about a month… but we will keep an eye on feedback.”
A new default theme is something that might be easily put aside in a major releasee like this, but there will be a new Twenty Nineteen default theme for WordPress. According to Matt's update, Allan Cole will be responsible for “adapting” (apparently an existing) Gutenberg theme to become the latest theme packaged with the core.
Gary Pendergast notes this is a good time to help with Gutenberg testing because “[t]he broader Gutenberg project is a massive change, and WordPress is a big ship to turn.” In addition, Gary stresses that the Classic Editor plugin will be supported after Gutenberg's release: “We’re never going to leave site owners out in the cold there.”
At the make.wordpress.org blog, Gary shared the newly proposed WordPress 5.0 scope and schedule. Included are the proposed deadlines:
Beta 1: October 19, 2018
RC 1: October 30, 2018
Release: November 19, 2018
Secondary RC 1: January 8, 2019
Secondary Release: January 22, 2019
The primary release date is drawing some reaction from developers — especially those in the US since that falls close to the Thanksgiving holiday. As we move forward, it will be interesting to see how likely (or unlikely) it is that the fallback date will become the new target.
According to the gutenstats.blog, as of late Thursday (October 4th), there are almost 500k “active” installations and almost 300k posts written on WordPress.com and Jetpack-enabled sites.
Jason Cohen at WPEngine offers a vision for a special synergy between Gutenberg and the Genesis Framework in terms of backwards compatibility and “Gutenberg-First” themes.