In our recent ExpressionEngine 6 update, we mentioned that ExpressionEngine 6 will be a Long Term Support release (LTS) and maintain support for 5 years. In this post we want to provide a bit more clarification around what this means and what it will look like going forward.
Will there be breaking changes in ExpressionEngine 6 over the 5 years?
Since ExpressionEngine adopted semantic versioning, any breaking changes would have to be implemented in a major release (version 7, 8 etc). As such, ExpressionEngine 6 will remain consistent with that methodology and won’t introduce any breaking changes in the 5-year support period.
Will there be new feature additions to ExpressionEngine 6?
Over the course of the 5 years, it is our intention for there to be new feature additions for the first 2-3 years. Throughout the remaining years, we anticipate most active development of new features to be on version 7 and 8.
Will version 6 stay up to date with PHP and MySQL versions for the full 5 years?
Yes, version 6 will also stay up to date with new PHP and MySQL versions for the 5-year LTS release. So long as those PHP and MySQL versions do not introduce breaking changes to ExpressionEngine 6 we will support them. Out of the gate, we have decided to support PHP 5.6 +. We’ve made this decision based on the number of sites currently running on older versions of ExpressionEngine and PHP. Since PHP 5.6 through 7.1 are considered end of life, we do plan on rolling support for these php versions off, as we believe it would be irresponsible to provide support for them over the next 5 years. At some point in the future we will drop support for these versions of PHP. Similarly, we will pick up support for the upcoming PHP 8 release as well as any other new releases in the 5 year LTS timeline.
Will other versions of ExpressionEngine be released while version 6 is still supported?
During the 5 year LTS arc, it’s our plan to also release ExpressionEngine version 7 and 8. We can safely say ExpressionEngine 7 will not be an LTS release. We’re currently undecided on whether version 8 will be LTS or not. If version 8 isn’t an LTS release, the next release will be. It’s our plan to aim for an approximate 1 year overlap between LTS versions of ExpressionEngine going forward. We believe this approach will provide a constant, stable, long-term platform for organizations to rely on, with plenty of time to move from one LTS release to another.
It’s our plan to aim for an approximate 1 year overlap between LTS versions of ExpressionEngine going forward
So why did we decide to make ExpressionEngine 6 an LTS release?
Simply put, we believe LTS is a tried-and-true methodology for software, and it gives us the ability to provide a stable and supported platform that many organizations rely on. At the same time, it presents an opportunity to set the trajectory we believe CMS’s on a global scale should head. As such, we will iterate, innovate, and improve the product on an ongoing basis. If you’re running an older version of ExpressionEngine, this is the time to upgrade.