Why are there multiple versions of Node.js?

A brief history:

  • Node.js was on v0.12.x when some people created a modified version called io.js
  • io.js got up to v3.x
  • Node.js and io.js became buddies again and kept the Node.js name
  • Node.js was launched into v4.x to keep up with the io.js versioning

So, what’s with the multiple versions on the nodejs.org front page?

A blog post titled What You Should Know about Node.js v5 and More from 10/30/2015 shares that:

  • even number releases (LTS, aka long term support) will be actively supported for 18 months; will introduce no new features or breaking changes; and will only be updated for things like stability, security, and performance reasons
  • odd number releases (stable) will have support for 8 months; have all the new fancy features; and will be updated every week or two

It seems that LTS releases will work well for teams that don’t want to worry about frequent updates to Node.js, while those who don’t mind updating frequently can take advantage of the latest features!