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Core

WooCommerce core release calendar

Releases in the past year

With WooCommerce 3.7 we started the journey towards smaller, more frequent, and more stable releases, with multiple fix releases being an exception rather than a rule. We got there by switching the fundamental principle of our releases from being feature-based (like 3.5 or 3.6) with a relatively long time between minor releases and a high number of follow up fix releases, to being time-based and regular.

In the last 6 months, we’ve perfected our process and adapted to a regular 2-month cycle. We delivered releases 3.8 through 4.1 using this 2-month release train process. However, we believed we could do better and thus we started streamlining our release process even more to achieve a regular monthly release cycle. 

The first release we produced using the monthly release cadence was WooCommerce 4.2 and we followed that up with WooCommerce 4.3 just last week. As we would like to continue bringing value to our merchants and developers more often, in smaller and easy to update packages, we will be continuing with a monthly release cadence going forward. To provide clear expectations and bring more predictability to our releases, we’ve decided to publish a release calendar for the upcoming months. 

WooCommerce ♥️ Jetpack

We modeled a lot of our release process changes on similar approaches that the Jetpack team has used to deliver monthly releases for 3 years now. In doing so, we landed on the same release day that they use, and have found that it adds unnecessary complexity when using both plugins (both to us as developers, and to anyone using those plugins on their site). With that in mind, we are moving our releases from the first Tuesday of every month to the second one.

Release calendar

Please find the planned release dates for WooCommerce core minor releases below. We’re starting using the second Tuesday of the month principle in September with version 4.5 planned for September 8th. In addition, we’ve decided to keep the releases feature-light during November and December where most merchants experience high demand from their customers. We encourage everyone to manage their own update schedule appropriately, based on the needs of their store. If we decide to release a major version, we plan to announce it at least 2 cycles in advance. As we’ve internally discussed the best possible date, we’ve started preparing the August release for August 18th, so the next release will be an exception to the rule above.

2020-08-18
2020-09-08
2020-10-13
2020-11-10
2020-12-08
2021-01-12
2021-02-09
2021-03-09
2021-04-13
2021-05-11
2021-06-08

Releases will always be on the second Tuesday of every month, unless there is a specific need to move it.

Release process & quality

Before each release, we go through a stabilization process for all modifications in that version. We start with a code freeze that is shortly followed by a one week beta period. During this phase, we perform the first set of manual tests, automated compatibility checks with all extensions in our marketplace, and evaluate performance changes and potential regressions. After the beta period, we enter a two-week release candidate phase, where we go through additional rounds of manual testing using multiple popular hosting providers, some of the most popular themes and plugins. We are also thankful for all the effort from external testers who regularly help us to ensure we release a stable package.

WooCommerce release cycle at a glance

Throughout the pre-release period, we try to keep the number of changes to a minimum to ensure the final product is stable and contains no critical errors. The package that is released at the end is what you can update to when you click the Update button in the WordPress admin interface.

In addition to the steps outlined above which should ensure fewer conflicts and bugs, we’re also updating our day to day work to test every code change more thoroughly than ever before. We’re adding new unit tests for all the code we touch to maintain consistent operation. We’re identifying the most important merchant interactions throughout WooCommerce and covering them with end to end tests that help us identify regressions much earlier, thus providing a quick feedback loop to all the developers contributing to WooCommerce.

Through these changes, we hope to bring our customers value more frequently, while also improving the stability of the WooCommerce platform and everything built on top of it.

5 replies on “WooCommerce core release calendar”

Thanks for making it clear. Also good news to know major updates in advance. Please always be backward compatible or maintain an option to keep old settings or behavior(for example don’t make the change to new woo cart mandatory!!, an option to maintain the old one would be nice). We appreciate all the work is made on new features but outside wp ecosystem, not all players are so fast(particularly latin america, africa and spain) in updating code, etc. Payment gateways for example are still working with old wc versions etc. We as technical users/mantainers have a lot of work to make upgrades smoothly, contact developerts, etc. not being easy particularly easy in covid times. Have you ever thought of having a stable long term support version with security updates only as many big softwares do? By the way, woo is an excellent and reliable product! thanks to the team.

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Hi Daniel,

Thanks for your kind words. Long term support version is something we considered, but I’m afraid there isn’t enough bandwidth in our teams to work on multiple WooCommerce versions at the moment. We are and will be doing as much as possible to keep the platform backward compatible while changing and updating it for the better.

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the woocommerce need extreme makeover it weight now 50MB!!! the admin is very slow when you have 60k orders and numbers like that with clients and products and no server can run it fast enough.

please for god sake build it again

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Hi Eli,

Thanks for your input! Before each release, we are testing new WC version on several larger shops (80,000 up to 1 million orders, 40k+ products, 70k up to 3m registered customers) and using this input for future improvements.
If you find any particular report or screen in admin screen slow, please try to reach out to your hosting provider to improve the experience for you and let us know in GitHub. We are always looking for ways to optimize the speed of our platform. Thanks!

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