A week with us: WordPress 5.9 feature freeze

In a few weeks, WordPress 5.9 will be released, and this week marked the feature-freeze deadline. From this point forward no new features can be included, and all core contributors will be focusing on fixing bugs and getting ready for the public Beta release. Are you stressed yet? We are. But we’re also excited!

Our weekly team updates


Webfonts API

This was a turbulent week for the Webfonts API. All developers and contributors involved went in overdrive and we saw a lot more testing done. All comments were positive and from the feedback we received, theme developers want this.

Unfortunately, this API will not be included in the 5.9 release. Despite that, we’re not giving up and already have a plan to move this forward in 6.0. Our next steps will be to move the API to the Gutenberg project where it is primarily needed. In Gutenberg, we will be able to implement it for the font-family pickers in the editor and more efficiently handle the theme.json parsing, among other things.

WordPress 5.9

I backported some of my commits from Gutenberg to WordPress 5.9. These include improvements for loading block styles more efficiently, as well as allowing to load multiple stylesheets per block when the block gets rendered. These are truly exciting times!


This week marked the final release of Gutenberg that is scheduled to be included in WordPress 5.9. As such, my highest priority was doing code reviews and ensuring that we get things done on time.


Last Thursday, we finally published a blog post I have written for the Yoast SEO blog: Writing accessible content: 4 checks you can do with Yoast SEO and the block editor. I say finally because it took me much longer to complete than I had anticipated. I want to become better at sharing knowledge, and this is one way for our team to do that. If you have ideas for topics you would like is to write more about, let us know in a comment.

Gutenberg and WordPress core

The time of the feature freeze for a release is two-fold: You look back with some regret over the features that did not make it, and then you move on to celebrate the updates that did. This week I have focused on testing and triage, mainly on changes to the site editor and the WordPress admin area. I have also jumpstarted the testing of some of the Yoast plugins with WordPress 5.9 alpha. Because WordPress released version 5.8.2 on November 10, I have done a lot of switching back and forward between different WordPress versions. Phew.


An early version of Twenty Twenty-Two has been merged into the 5.9 alpha. We can count on there being some small changes to the theme before the final release. This week, besides testing, I did a small pull request to update the format of theme.json to version 2. I did not participate in the early development of the theme. Being familiar with block themes, it is still striking to me how much faster it is to build a block-based theme than a classic, PHP-based theme. So much of the responsibility of accessibility, RTL, and responsiveness is moved from the theme developer to WordPress and the block editor. Both the development time and the time that needs to be spent on testing are lowered drastically. That is very exciting for the future.


Team Performance WordPress

This week, I continued my tasks on the WordPress Performance team. Among others, I hosted the last weekly chat of the team. You can read the recap of the chat here.

e2e tests in WordPress Core

In the last few days, I’ve continued updating the tests for uploading new versions of themes and the reviews of the same feature tests for plugins.


Last week I was on a holiday and didn’t have an update, so my update includes the start of the current week and the week before last.

WordPress 5.9

As WordPress approaches the feature freeze and Beta 1 for version 5.9, I continued looking into some tickets to bring them over the finish line. I made twenty-seven commits to WordPress core, mostly various bug fixes and enhancements. I also led a meeting for new core contributors and triaged new tickets incoming into Trac (the bug tracking system that WordPress uses). Some notable changes include various coding standards fixes in core. See tickets #53359 and #47422 for more details.

WordPress 5.8.2

I handled the Update API and Credits API commits for the WordPress 5.8.2 security and maintenance release. It features two bug fixes in addition to one security fix. Because this is a security release, it is recommended to update immediately. All versions since WordPress 5.2 have also been updated.

One notable change includes removing the expired DST Root CA X3 certificate from the WP core certificate bundle to resolve issues with OpenSSL 1.0.2. See ticket #54207 for more details.