Node.js 4.2 released under new Long Term Support plan

Natali Vlatko

The new Node.js 4.2 release has been christened “Argon”, the first drop under the new Long Term Support plan that provides various levels of support over a 30 month period. The plan aims to help operations teams and enterprise application development.

Node.js 4.2 has been released and has brought with it the promise of Long Term Support (LTS). The new plan from the team behind the popular runtime environment offers continued support for a period of 30 months from the date of each release.

Support is broken up into 18 month and 12 month variants, with the latter being dubbed “Maintenance mode”. The formalised strategy came about via the Node.js LTS Working Group, whose final iteration takes into account both historical and future releases of Node.js, according to Rod Vagg:

The point of establishing an LTS plan for Node is to build on top of an existing stable release cycle by delivering new versions on a predictable schedule that have a clearly defined extended support lifecycle. While this may seem at odds with the open source tradition of “release early, release often” it is an essential requirement for enterprise application development and operations teams.

Vagg also says that new LTS major versions can be expected every 12 months, with October being the time to mark in your calendars. “Within each major LTS version there will be a number of incremental releases, mostly confined to patch version number increments with the possibility of incrementing the minor version number if absolutely required for bug fixes”.

Due to this timeframe, this will mean that several LTS versions will be active at once, whether they’re being actively supported or classified as under ‘maintenance lines’. The plan on GitHub states that there will be no more than two active LTS releases at any given time, overlapping for a maximum period of six months.

Developers can determine if they are working with an LTS version of Node.js by checking the process.release.lts property within node:

$ node -v
$ node -pe process.release.lts

It’s important to note that io.js doesn’t get a look-in here: io.js releases will not have official LTS or maintenance support.

Node.js 4.2 “Argon”

The Periodic Table has served as the inspiration for the codename of Node’s latest release; the naming pattern will continue for LTS releases to differentiate between them all. The process will also be followed alphabetically, hence the choice of Argon.

Notable changes to this release are credited as the following:

  • icu: Updated to version 56 with significant performance improvements
  • node: Added new -c (or --check) command line argument for checking script syntax without executing the code
  • node: Added to hold the current ICU library version
  • node: Added process.release.lts to hold the current LTS codename when the binary is from an active LTS release line
  • npm: Upgraded to npm 2.14.7 from 2.14.4

A full list of commits, as well as acknowledgement of known issues still being looked at, can be found over on the Node.js blog.

Natali Vlatko
An Australian who calls Berlin home, via a two year love affair with Singapore. Natali was an Editorial Assistant for (S&S Media Group).

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