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by Chris Bailey | Published August 2, 2018
The introduction of long term support (LTS) for versions of Node.js was a critical event that enabled the wide-spread adoption of the runtime, with up to 70% of developers seeing it as an important feature.
A large part of the value of the Node.js LTS policy is the clarity it gives to users on release schedules and the longevity with which a given version will be supported for critical fixes. Node.js applications, however, consist of significantly more that just the Node.js runtime. Even the most basic Express.js application contains 181 Node.js modules.
While some Node.js modules declare an LTS policy, there is little consistency in what that means, what releases are in LTS, and for how long. This means that users have to monitor and track the LTS policy of all of their individual dependencies and build complex update and migration plans in order to ensure that they are always in a position to receive critical fixes.
The approach laid out by the Node.js Module LTS Policy Project provides the level of visibility and consistency that users building production applications need. The project specifies a LTS policy that is based on the policy of Node.js itself. Node.js modules that choose to adopt the policy should provide fixes to LTS versions for the lifetime of the Node.js release it’s being used with. Essentially, anyone creating an application using an LTS version of Node.js and using the latest major version of LTS adopting modules will not have to update any of those modules to a newer major version, which would include breaking changes, in order to receive essential fixes. This means that users can more easily plan to adopt fix updates and new major versions based on their regular development schedules.
At IBM, we think this is a crucial step forward. That’s why we are adopting the Node.js Module LTS Policy across the modules and frameworks that IBM provides, including the LoopBack framework.
For more information on what the Node.js Module LTS Policy means for you, either as a user or a module owner looking to adopt an LTS policy, check out the Node.js Module LTS Policy project.
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