Node.js 4.0.0 arrives with ECMAScript 6 backing

The latest upgrade of the server-side JavaScript technology combines the Node.js and io.js code bases

Node.js 4.0.0 arrives with ECMAScript 6 backing

Version 4.0.0 of Node.js, the popular server-side JavaScript platform also known simply as Node, arrived this week, equipped with ECMAScript 6 and ARM processor accommodations.

Proponents of Node detailed the release in a blog post on Tuesday. Accessible at the Node website and billed as a "stable" version, the release combines Node and io.js, which had been a fork of Node, into a single code base. It includes version 4.5 of the V8 JavaScript engine, which "brings with it many bonuses for Node.js users, most notably a raft of new ES6 features that are enabled by default including block scoping, classes, typed arrays -- Node's Buffer is now backed by Uint8Array -- generators, Promises, Symbols, template strings, collections (Map, Set, etc.) and, new to V8 v4.5, arrow functions," the blog said.

"First class" support for ARM processors is featured as well. "Our test suite must be continually passing on ARMv6, ARMv7, and the new 64-bit ARMv8 processors. So Node.js is officially ready for use by hobbyists and ARM server users alike," according to the blog post

Version 4.0 brings about a regular release cycle -- the lack of regular releases had caused dissension leading to the io.js fork -- and a plan for a long-term support. "Release versioning now follows SemVer (Semantic Version 2.0), so expect increments of both minor and patch version over the coming weeks as we fix bugs and add features." The support plan, meanwhile, involves issuing LTS (long-term support) releases every 12 months, following the first LTS release in October. These releases will be maintained for 18 months, with no more than two active LTS releases at any given time.

"As always with a major release, we don't expect the adoption of Node.js v4 to be painless," the blog said. "It will take time to adapt, particularly as compiled add-ons catch up with the new version of V8 (hint: see NAN for our official solution to the compatibility problem). Thankfully, the io.js v3.x series of releases have given many add-on authors a chance to prepare their code for Node.js v4, so much of the npm ecosystem is ready today."

After forking out of Node.js late last year, io.js proponents came back into the Node fold in May.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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