Every framework has its own version history – it’s being maintained and updated. So every new version brings new functionality, some functions are changed or deprecated, so it’s quite important to know which version you will be using for your projects.
Currently on the market there are two active Laravel versions – Laravel 4 (released in May 2013) and Laravel 5 (released in February 2015).
Also each of major versions have their own sub-versions:
- Laravel 4 has 4.0, 4.1 and 4.2 branches
- Laravel 5 has 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3 released in August 2016.
According to the roadmap released by framework author, there should be a new subversion every half-year:
- Laravel 5.3: Summer 2016
- Laravel 5.4: Winter 2016
- Laravel 5.5: Summer 2017
Also there is an important term – LTS version, which stands for Long Term Support. It means that bugfixes for that version will be provided for 2 years, until the next LTS version. For non-LTS versions bugfixes are promised for 6 months only, unless it’s a security fix which is provided for 1 year from the version release date.
The first, and so far the only, version to have that status is Laravel 5.1. The next LTS version is promised to be Laravel 5.5 due to release in Summer 2017.
Differences between Laravel 4 and Laravel 5
Laravel 4 version was the one which brought big popularity to Laravel framework, but it’s not updated anymore, and also it lacks a lot of functions released in Laravel 5.
So, in short, for new projects it’s not advised to use Laravel 4.x version – you should use Laravel 5.x, probably Laravel 5.1 as it has long term support, or Laravel 5.2 as the newest version at the time of writing this.
Differences between Laravel 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3
In contrast to Laravel 4 to 5 version differences, which were breaking and huge, 5.x and 5.y versions are not that different. Some functions added, some updated/removed, but the core structure remains the same.
I’ve seen some clients stay with 5.1 version because of LTS, and some of them aim for the newest version – which is 5.3 at the moment.
So, these are the facts. Which version are you using for your production projects?
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