I think it's a valid question.
Not for general editing, but for some details, it could be important to know the processing order. See my related question in the feedback forum: http://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/lightroom_4_what_is_the_order_of_ton e_presence_tone_curve_hsl_effects_and_split_toning_in_the_actual_acr
On this user-to-user forum you hardly meet Adobe employees.
To get closer to your question you might want to check out the content of user MadManChan - Eric Chan is THE Adobe employee for such questions, as far as I understood.
Still I'd like to second Lee Jay that this absolute question might be a bit academic, because even with a perfect answer to it you still have to interpret "what does this mean for my develop editing? or for my exposure settings in camera when taking the picture, in conjunction with LR develop?"
If you approach it from another pragmatic way: what are you trying to achieve in develop where you struggle?
Rob Cole might have a lot of advice regarding that, as he has been through a lot of struggle in early LR4beta-days, and has come up with a heap of useful insights.
So a forum search for this content might be worth while as well.
I agree with Lee Jay.
Suppose you know the order of processing, you follow it, and then when you get to the last step, you look at the photo and decide it needs more contrast and a little more highlight adjustment? Then what have you gained by knowing the order of processing?
I'd be shocked if Adobe releases this order of processing publicly.
No matter what version of LR, I have always found that processing order is an individual choice. I have read a few times to just start at the top and work down. And that might work for some people. I have a workflow that just happens to work very well for me and I don't work from the top down. In fact, I venture to say that a lot of the people here would disagree with my workflow.
In the end, it is all a matter of what your vision is for the final processed image. And like DJ said, even if I use my own workflow, I may be going back to things for minor adjustments or tweaks to get the image looking as I want it. Frankly, I do not think there is any "perfect" order for processing. We all approach this differently.
I have always found that processing order is an individual choice.
Uh, no, it isn't. It is hard-wired and unalterable. The OP wasn't asking about in what order the sliders should be moved, but rather about the real processing that happens only when the Export button is pushed and which is not affected by the order of slider movements.
John Spacey wrote:
just a bump. can any Lightroom employees answer this
It's highly unlikely you'll ever get a complete answer because the ACR/LR processing pipeline is proprietary. That and the end user doesn't need to know the order since they can't change it and the order that a user may set the adjustments has zero impact on the processing order. I have a pretty good idea about the order but it doesn't impact the way I adjust images.