Having spent last half year with OctoberCMS, and moving away from Joomla (ok, it's not that easy, I'll be migrating my sites another year or two before I come fully clean of Joomla), I am strongly convinced that I made a right choice. Yet, looking back into the time when I was frantically searching for the new ways of (professional) life, I can see that I have almost missed October. Actually - not even missed, rather rejected it, and possibly more than once during my repeated comparisons of different available tools.
When I look into various open source projects, one of the questions I am asking is "how much alive and kicking this project is?". And when I looked into OctoberCMS, it did not convince me. For one reason only. A CMS that runs on Laravel 5.x? When Laravel 7 has just been released? And that scared me away from it. I feared to jump onto a ship that may already be sinking.
Many people will walk the same path as mine - get tired of WP or J, check a dozen different alternatives, and will reject those, that seem to be sticking with old versions of the underlying frameworks - for the fear that they are not being cared for any more. And will go elsewhere.
It was only after I actually looked into the github repo, seeing how popular it is, how active contributors are, and how many stars it has, I started to look closely, and stayed :-)
I'm not criticising the October team for sticking with the LTS Laravel, I know Luke and others are crazy busy and put a huge amount of time and work into the development and maintenance of October, and I can only express huge thanks to the whole team. I simply started to wonder about the marketing side-effects of the current approach - and I'm looking forward to opinions of others on this.
So, the question I would like to raise here, is as follows:
Would we have a bigger (or much bigger) developer community using OctoberCMS, if it was actually following the Laravel releases promptly? Or would it be irrelevant?
It is an interesting question, but I would think that a fair few people see October CMS as its own entity that doesn't have to strictly follow Laravel's release practices. We have discussed this on GitHub previously when talking about the move over to Laravel 6 (starting from https://github.com/octobercms/october/issues/4381#issuecomment-501438204).
Following the LTS releases is really just the best path we can follow, while the core team are all either unpaid or working off donations. Laravel has paid devs and can afford to move forward at a brisk pace - we simply can't keep up with that on top of making sure that October is getting the attention and new features that it deserves. I personally believe that this also insulates us from the (rare) bad ideas that Laravel comes up with. I would hope that people looking into October appreciate that over any apparent lack of keeping up with major releases.
I'm with you, though - I would love to hear if people think differently.
While we might get less people turned away from a brief glance at the Laravel version by keeping in lockstep with Laravel's major releases I don't think the effort is worth it right now. If I was getting paid full time for working on the project then perhaps an argument could be made, but right now it just doesn't make sense.
In fact, it's almost a positive sign that October doesn't follow the major releases, it shows that we invest a lot of time into making sure that we can shelter our users from the breaking changes that Laravel so loves to throw around. For context we started working on the Laravel 6 upgrade back when it was still going to be Laravel 5.9 and it's pretty much completed now, but not without a lot of hard work undoing Laravel's breaking changes so that we could be a more stable platform for our users.
Laravel's release cycle is just too rapid to keep up with (new major version every six months, regardless of whether it needs to be a major version or not) without being paid to work on the project full time.
And practically speaking, the only real problem with October not following the latest & greatest is compatibility with packages designed with Laravel. If there's any killer features that someone wants from a newer version of Laravel a PR can always be made to October directly to incorporate them before we're based on the newer version. Even that really isn't that big of a deal because we use LTS and most Laravel packages will support the LTS version too (although they don't have to).
I can certainly see your point, and from the very beginning I wasn't questioning the technical reasons behind it - merely the negative promotional side-effect. Maybe you could consider explaining in the docs that exact rationale? That should solve the doubts that some people - like me - may have when considering their platform choices :-)
Anyway, thanks very much for taking time to respond!
Sure, problem is where to put said description :) If you can think of a place where it would have made sense for you to read that about October while you were evaluating it I would be happy to hear it :)
Hi @LukeTowers, It may look like I have abandoned the thread, but it is not the case - it was a busy month, and I think I needed to let my brain digest the question "where to put the info".
It has to say the project is alive and kicking, and be visible enough that it catches attention early, not deep in the docs. How about something like this:
[Edit] Earlier on, my suggestion was to explain somewhere in the docs why the project only follows LTS Laravel releases. But ultimately, I think my biggest doubt when I first started exploring the project, was whether it is kicking and alive. That's why instead of a wordy explanation of what and why, just highlighting the number of GitHub stars, and when the most recent release was, should do the trick. Especially the latter, because I suspect that most OctoberCMS newbies (like me half year ago) may totally overlook the "edge" updates.
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