We have been hard at work now for a few months on the new features that will be coming in WordPress 2.9, and we are near the time when the first beta version will be available. We’ll need your help with beta testing the new features and ironing out any bugs.
There are a number of different ways in which you can get involved in the testing process, and each way is suited for each persons skill set and comfort level. First of all, you can join the wp-testers mailing list to keep up to date with the testing progress and to discuss things with the other testers. Secondly, you can head over to the Trac ticketing system and either create tickets for bugs you find or use some of the useful searches to look for patches that need testing or that need someone to try and reproduce the issue.
During the beta phase we are going to focus on stabilizing the new features and removing existing bugs which are well-understood and have easily testable solutions. During this process we will not be adding any new enhancements so as to ensure that the focus is on making the 2.9 release as bug-free as possible. We will also try and have a few special bug hunt days where one or more experienced WordPress developers will be available to help people track down issues and get patches committed to fix bugs.
To make is as easy as possible for you to get a beta testing install up and running we have put together a small WordPress plugin which makes it really easy to convert a test install of the latest release version of WordPress into a beta test install of the next up and coming release. The plugin is called WordPress Beta Tester and is available to download from WordPress Extend or can be installed using the built-in plugin installer. Please make sure you to only install this plugin on a test site. We do not recommend running beta versions on your normal, live sites in case anything goes wrong. You can read more about the plugin in “Making it easy to be a WordPress Tester“
We are aiming to release the first beta version of 2.9 around the end of October, after we have put the finishing touches on the new features. Then we switch to full on beta testing mode and your help and feedback will be very much appreciated. During the beta test program will push out new builds for automated upgrades regularly. Once we feel that a suitable level of stability has been achieved we will move into the release candidate phase. We hope to be able to make the final release 2.9 build available in either late November or early December.