Drupal 8.3.0 will be released April 5; alpha begins week of January 30

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Update: Drupal 8.3.0-alpha1 is now available for testing!

Drupal 8.3.0, the next planned minor release of Drupal 8, is scheduled for Wednesday, April 5, 2017. Minor releases include new features, usability improvements, and backwards-compatible API improvements. Here's what this means now for core patches.

Alpha vs. Beta releases

In previous Drupal 8 minor releases, the first pre-release version of the minor was labeled as beta1, and expectations were slightly different for later betas. For Drupal 8.3.0, we've recategorized this first pre-release version as alpha1, to distinguish it from the subsequent beta releases. (We will also no longer have "beta target" issues; some strategic issues are considered for backport to 8.3.x, but only after they are fixed in 8.4.x, and only up until the new beta phase begins.)

This change should provide better clarity and fairness on which issues are accepted for commit. The overall timeline for the minor release is not changed; alpha1 simply replaces the previous beta1, and the previous, stricter beta2 now becomes beta1. (More information on alpha and beta releases.) The release candidate phase is the same as for past releases.

Drupal 8.3.0-alpha1 will be released the week of January 30

  • In preparation for the minor release, Drupal 8.3.x will enter the alpha phase the week of January 30.
  • Developers and site owners can begin testing the alpha.
  • The 8.4.x branch of core will be created, and future feature and API additions will be targeted against that branch instead of 8.3.x. All outstanding issues filed against 8.3.x will be automatically migrated to 8.4.x once it is opened.
  • All issues filed against 8.2.x will then be migrated to 8.3.x, and subsequent bug reports should be targeted against the 8.3.x branch.
  • During the alpha phase, core issues will be committed according to the following policy:
    1. Most issues that are allowed for patch releases will be committed to 8.3.x and 8.4.x.
    2. Drupal 8.2.x will receive primarily critical bugfixes in preparation for its final patch release window. (Drupal 8.1.x and 8.0.x are not supported anymore and changes are not made to those branches.)
    3. Most issues that are only allowed in minor releases will be committed to 8.4.x only. A few strategic issues may be backported to 8.3.x, but only at committer discretion after the issue is fixed in 8.4.x (so leave them set to 8.4.x unless you are a committer), and only up until the beta deadline.

Drupal 8.3.0-beta1 will be released the week of February 13

Roughly two weeks after the alpha release, the first beta release will be created. All the restrictions of the alpha release apply to beta releases as well. The release of the first beta is a firm deadline for all feature and API additions. Even if an issue is pending in the Reviewed & Tested by the Community (RTBC) queue when the commit freeze for the beta begins, it will be committed to the next minor release only.

The release candidate phase will begin the week of February 27, and we will post further details at that time.

See the summarized key dates in the release cycle, allowed changes during the Drupal 8 release cycle, and Drupal 8 backwards compatibility and internal API policy for more information.

As a reminder, we have until the start of the alpha to add great new features to Drupal 8.3.x. Stabilizing experimental modules (such as Inline form errors and Migrate Drupal), landing some key Media Initiative components, and working on bugfixes are all priorities for 8.3.0. Help with these changes now for a great Drupal 8.3.0!

Core

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