What’s new in Node.js 8 and Node.js 9

Node.js 8 is tapped for long-term support, while Node.js 9 becomes the new current release line

What’s new in Node.js 8 and Node.js 9
Benjamin Nelan (CC0)

Node.js 8 is graduating to Long Term Support (LTS) release status, which is intended to signify a level of stability for use in enterprise deployments. Accompanying this new designation for Node.js 8 is the debut of Node.js 9, with asynchronous resource tracking, as the “current” release line.

Node.js 8 features

With an LTS release of the popular server-side JavaScript runtime, the focus is on security and stability. The LTS release is actively maintained for 18 months. First introduced by the Node.js Foundation in late-May, the Node.js 8.x line features:

  • The Google V8 6.1 JavaScript engine.
  • The NPM 5.0.0 client.
  • Better performance—20 percent better than the previous Node 6 LTS release in typical web applications.

Two other features—N-API, for native add-ons, and HTTP/2—remain in an experimental mode, still subject to code changes. The Node.js Foundation recommends users of Node.js 6 start testing Node.js 8 and users of Node.js 4 upgrade to Node.js 8.

The new feature of Node.js 9

For Node.js 9, most changes center on the deprecation or removal of APIs and migrating the code base to a new error system. The goal of the migration is associating a unique code with errors thrown by the system, allowing error messages to be changed without being considered as breaking changes. Other features in Node.js 9 include:

  • An async hooks module that provides an API for registering callbacks to track asynchronous resources within an application. This feature, which also has appeared in the Node.js 8.x line, is experimental at this stage.
  • The Google V8 6.2 JavaScript engine.
  • Support for HTTP/2 and N-API, which are available for use without a command line flag but are still experimental.

Where to download Node.js

Download URLs for the latest Node.js 8 release and 9.x are available from the Node.js website.

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