A week with us: back to feature freeze for WordPress 5.9

The revised 5.9 schedule, allows the team to dedicate more time to bug fixes and polishing features they have been working on for the past few months. In addition, the end of the year is nearing which means performance review time!

Read on to see what everyone has been up to.

Our weekly team updates


WordPress 5.9

As WordPress (again) approaches Beta 1 for version 5.9, I continued looking into some tickets to bring them over the finish line.

I made eight commits to WordPress core, mostly various bug fixes and enhancements. I also triaged new tickets incoming into Trac (the bug tracking system that WordPress uses).

Some notable changes include:

  • Documenting the structure of the $plugin_data array passed to various plugin list table filters and actions. See ticket #53399 for more details.
  • Correcting a variable naming discrepancy in the wp_kses_xml_named_entities() function, so that the function could work as expected. See ticket #54060 for more details.


From now through December I will work 4 days a week, and I am looking forward to starting planning for the holidays and finally, visits from relatives from overseas.

Gutenberg and Core

Since the last update, I have done a large amount of testing and pull request reviews in the Gutenberg GitHub repository.
I also started on some end-user documentation for the 5.9 changes.


I am continuing to test Twenty Twenty-Two using 5.9 Beta 1 with and without Gutenberg installed. I made two small pull requests
to the theme to keep it up to date with changes made to Gutenberg. The theme now uses the new appearanceToolssetting for enabling settings in theme.json.


I have completed some regression testing for the upcoming Yoast SEO update and did an early test of Yoast SEO and Duplicate Post with the WordPress 5.9 Alpha and Beta 1.


Core tests

I continued to triage the tickets that need testing for milestone 5.9. On the e2e testing side, I’ve been working on the plugin upload tests, with this recently published PR. I’m also continuing to work on testing for the new updater features, which are rather complicated, with a blocker being debugged.

In general, there is a slowdown in the progress of e2e testing in WordPress Core. This is due to the upcoming release of WordPress 5.9, as well as the integration of Gutenberg into the release; with key test contributors busy on these tasks. So until this period passes, I’m focusing much more on Core Test triage. This is basically about adding feedback and details on Trac tickets that need testing, need to be reproduced, or have a patch that needs to be tested. Here is the Trac query to find these tickets for the 5.9 milestone.

WordPress Performance team

I also continue to host the Performance team meetings and take care of everything administrative about the team. The last meeting had some interesting updates on our progress. You can read more about it here.


Most of my focus remained on the Webfonts API. I continued working on implementing the Webfonts API in Gutenberg. I implemented adding the webfonts to font-family pickers in the editor and also fixed a lot of automated tests. I properly added the CSS variables and styles to the WP-generated styles, and after a thorough round of manual testing, the pull request is no longer a draft and it is ready for reviewing and merging. For more details, you can check out the PR in #36394.

As part of the performance-improvement initiative, I submitted a patch to remove the emojis script from block themes when there are no emojis present on the page (see #36765 for details). After some discussion, the pull request was closed. Apparently, the emojis script is not there to provide backward compatibility… Instead, it’s there to provide forward compatibility. Every year new emojis get released, and browsers don’t implement them immediately so the script ensures that all browsers will be able to show the new emojis.

I continued with rigorous testing of WordPress 5.9, focusing mostly on block themes. There are a lot of moving parts in that implementation so we need to ensure everything works as expected before shipping the next major release of WordPress.


The last two weeks have been busy with internal work. The end of the year means performance reviews. It was great to see all the self-reflection the team members made. Looking back to October 2020, when the team was officially formed, they all made a lot of progress.

Whether the goal was to improve technical or soft skills, everyone invested time in their personal growth and in the team’s growth.

I am proud of what everyone achieved this year!