Node.js v6 Released
Written by Ian Elliot   
Friday, 29 April 2016

Node.js version 6 provides major performance improvements, increased reliability and better security. It also features improved ECMAScript 2015 (ES6) support - 93% of ES6 features are now supported compared to 56% for Node.js v5.



This new "Current" version of Node.js comes just six months since the introduction of Node.js 5.0. However, as we reported when it was released version 5 was never envisaged as becoming a Long-Term Support LTS version. Instead Node.js v4 is the current LTS version and will remain so until October 2016 when it is replaced by v6. The announcement from the Node.js Foundation advises that: 

Users should begin transitioning from v4 to v6 in October when v6 goes into LTS.

The announcement also has information about the popularity of the Node.js platform:

With over 3.5 million users and an annual growth rate of 100 percent, Node.js is emerging as a universal platform used for web applications, IoT, mobile, enterprise application development, and microservice architectures. The technology is ubiquitous across numerous industries, from startups to Fortune 500 companies, and is the only unified platform that full stack JavaScript developers can use for front end, back end, mobile and IoT projects.

The most significant performance improvements in the new release come from module loading, which is no four times faster than in Node.js version 4 (Node.js v4). Not only will this will help developers to decrease the startup time of large applications improving their productivity, it will also provide a more seamless experience for end users.

Node.js v6 has the v8 JavaScript engine 5.0, which is responsible for its increased ES6 support which includes default and rest parameters, destructuring, class and super keywords. V8 also contributes a security enhancement with its improved implementation of Math.random().

Another feature that  makes it easier to write secure code with v6 is the new Buffer API, which will reduce the risk of bugs and vulnerabilities leaking into applications through a new constructor method used to create Buffer instances. There is also a new zero-fill-buffers command-line flag which lets developers safely use older modules that have not been updated to use the new constructor API. 

With these enhancements devs may be tempted to adopt v6 before October when it transitions into LTS. The disadvantage of this is that new minor features will continue to be added to v6 until then with the risk that regressions could be introduced.  On the technical blog the item Node v6.0.0 (Current), which outlines all the notable changes, James Snell gives this advice:

The general rule for deciding which version of Node.js to use is: 

  • Stay on or upgrade to Node.js v4 (currently at v4.4.3) if you need stability and have a complex production environment.

  • Upgrade to Node.js v6 if you have the ability to upgrade versions quickly and want to play with the latest features as they arrive.

If you use v5 it will be continue to be supported for the next 2 months to give you time to transition to v6. 


More Information

Node v6.0.0 (Current)

Node.js releases on GitHub

Related Articles

Node.js 5.0 Released 

Node.js Foundation Releases First Joint Code 


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Last Updated ( Friday, 29 April 2016 )