Feature plugins appeared in the wake of the 3.6 release cycle, in which two large efforts were reverted before the final release: a UI for content using post formats and a refreshed aesthetic for the admin, notably with a new set of icons. Both suffered from the same problem: attempting to create and iterate on a significant feature within a single release cycle. The identification of that problem led to the idea of developing features as plugins, decoupling them from the time restrictions of fairly quick release cycles. (While post formats had further issues that led to changes not landing in core, the admin design changes became known as MP6, a feature plugin which was merged in WordPress 3.8.) Over the last two and a half years, we’ve had successful feature plugins that were merged into core, efforts that began small and grew as discovery happened, ideas that never quite got off the ground, and ideas that were initially explored in “plugin” form but ultimately became patches for various reasons, usually technical. With over two years of active feature plugins behind us, it’s time to take a look at what’s been successful, what hasn’t been, and where we go from here. So, what’s next?
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