Node.js Hastens Up the New Version Release Cycle

7 December 2015

New York: What changes code base forking has brought on Node.js? A lot actually! Being on fire for some time for slow release cycles, Node.js has now started to offer its new releases in the rapid fire succession.

It has a Long Term Support (LTS) release line for enterprises and a stable mainline release channel for frequent incremental releases. Very recently, i.e. the late last week Node 5 was released, just a few weeks after the release of Node 4.2 which arrived after a month of Node 4.0 release. All these have happened not long after io.js fork proponents were welcomed back to Node fold, but in a shorter span.

This seems to be a departure from a year ago where the release cycles helped it lead to io.js fork. Mikeal Rogers, spokesman for io.js and also a community manager for Node.js foundation has said in a mail that, the io.js for was more about governance and also about the contributor’s role in running a project. The release schedule was one in many things that the contributors didn’t agree with; but it wasn’t the only deciding factor.

Six-Month Release Cycle

  • Rogers said that, under the foundation, the server-side JavaScript is governed by contributors with a great interest. So, there is now a Long Term Support release line for enterprises (LTS) and stable mainline release channel - version 5, which is expected to have more frequent incremental releases. Also, it’s been said that there will be no breaking changes until the Node version 6 which is due for release in April 2016.
     
  • “For some time now, the plan is to settle down to a six months release cycle with just one of the even release numbers eventually falling into LTS”, says Rogers. So, the version 6 of Node.js which is due for release on April is actually normal and the fast cycle between version 4 and version 5 is just an exception.
     
  • Rogers also said that, the version 5 was released quickly so that the version 4 can be put into LTS mode as early as possible. However, Node version 4 is still under active development and we just have a higher bar for changes which might be disruptive and this is why it’s more suitable for enterprises. So the production users of Node.js are recommended to use v4, not v5.

NodeSource, a Node.js services and support company which also participates in Node.js foundation, says that it has not seen rapid release cycles causing friction at the customer sites. According to Dan Shaw, the co-founder of NodeSource, the vast majority of their production customers are transitioning from Node.js version 0.10 to version 4. So, the production shops should be much focused on LTS release of Node.js.

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