The finalized goals for WordPress 3.1 are “to have a very short dev cycle, a decent amount of testing time, and a release in mid-December. Low on new features, heavy on ui and code cleanup, and avoidance of schema changes. Save the big ideas for 3.2 where we’ll have the liberty to implement those ideas in PHP5. No schema changes and no big new APIs.”
Besides bug fixes and code cleanup, users can look forward to a new wordpress.com inspired admin bar and theme browser, as well as post templates and styles, and a separate network dashboard.
The team plans to halt new feature submissions on October 15th, followed by a primary code freeze on November 1st, and a string freeze on December 1st. The beta period will begin November 15th until the estimated final release date of December 15th.
Keep in mind that this will be the last major release to support PHP and MySQL 4. If your hosting provider has not yet switched to PHP 5.2 or higher and MySQL 5.0.15 or higher, it’s time to start bugging them.
Personally, I’m really looking forward to seeing what will come of the development team’s focus on bug fixes and code cleanup with this release. What are you looking forward to in WordPress 3.1?