A Thanks to Laravel for the LTS Releases

I just wanna shout my thanks to Taylor Otwell, Graham Campbell, Mohamed Said, Dries Vints & all the other great Laravel maintainers for spending the time and effort in maintaining the LTS releases of the framework (In addition to all the other work you do for the framework and it’s ecosystem).

On Reddit & Twitter I commonly see the LTS releases being referred to as an anti-pattern with a general recommendation to avoid, which I can sort of understand in the view of most common use-cases of Laravel, but I want to share how the LTS releases have a benefit for me.

I maintain BookStack, a Laravel-based project started in 2015 with steadily growing popularity. The project is maintained completely in free-time by myself and others in the community. As with most growing open source projects, with growing popularity time has become more limited as effort is spent on issue management, helping users and maintaining the project itself.

Evolving and upgrading the framework is of course necessary to keep up with technology and ideas. For the project I see two main costs on upgrading to a newer version of Laravel:

  1. The time spent updating the codebase.
  2. The time spent supporting the user-base with requirement changes from the framework upgrade.

In regards to 1, the LTS releases don’t really have a large impact other than being able to wait before then upgrading through multiple versions in one hit, which is more efficient but the time saving is relatively insignificant.

In regards to 2, this is a big deal for me. New versions of the framework often come with slight requirements changes, mostly the PHP version. For this we need to update install scripts, document ways to upgrade existing installs and support any issues raised by our users. While it does not seem like a lot, this can consume a surprising amount of time that would be better spent on the application itself. Being able to have this on a 2 year, instead of 6-month, cadence while receiving bug & security fixes is a big deal which allows me to focus on the code, on the framework which I love.

So, Thanks.