November 15, 2023
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Introducing a New Capacitor Release Cadence

Dallas James

When it comes to building software, we understand that keeping your tech stack up to date is key. When tools don’t update until the last minute, that can mean long nights and hectic mornings trying to avoid potential breaking changes while attempting to minimize disruption. 

In our ongoing effort to provide a better experience for developers, we decided to update our release cadence to better serve the community. Let’s dive into the changes and see what future Capacitor releases will look like.

Why the change?

In previous iterations, major releases of Capacitor were based around ensuring that apps built with Capacitor would be compliant with the latest deprecations and requirements established by the mobile app stores. These releases often came just weeks before the deadlines associated with the requirements, giving developers minimal time to make the required updates to their applications. This caused a flurry of activity as plugin authors and app developers alike scrambled to get updates in place quickly to meet their own deadlines. 

We believe that Capacitor should instead have a much more proactive approach, which is why we’ve devised a new release cadence. The fundamental idea driving this change is to benefit both plugin authors and app developers who rely on Capacitor, to provide them the time and resources they need to be successful. While there will always be some level of flexibility built into our new cadence, this is what you can expect from us in the future.

What will the new release cadence look like?

Capacitor release cadence

In the pre-release stage, we will begin updating Capacitor based on the changes that are published in the upcoming Android and iOS releases. We will be identifying breaking changes to the plugins and adding new features where appropriate. Capacitor will remain in this state until after the final release of both the iOS and Android operating systems as well as the appropriate tooling updates required for these platforms as well.

A new major version of Capacitor will be published at this point and will be considered production ready. However, we will not make this new major version the latest tag at this point, and all new projects will continue to be created with the prior major release. During this window, we will be working closely with plugin authors to ensure that as many plugins in the ecosystem are updated to support the new major version as well as work out any bugs that surface due to the larger availability and adoption of this version. Developers may safely choose to upgrade during this stage if they choose to, with the understanding that many plugins may not be updated.

After a short period, we will then adjust the new major version to become the latest version of Capacitor that is installed on all new projects. It is at this stage that we will be encouraging developers to begin their upgrades to the latest version in preparation for the upcoming app store requirement changes. Our goal is to provide developers with a minimum six months upgrade window before the requirements are put into effect.

The prior major version will be put into maintenance mode when we make this change. All major versions will receive six months of maintenance support with an additional six months of support available through our enterprise support services.

Stay tuned

We hope that these changes bring consistency to our process that you can come to rely on and help Capacitor be an incredibly stable and integral part of your app development resources.

The upcoming release of the Capacitor 6 beta marks the beginning of our new release cadence for Capacitor, and we can’t wait to share it with you.

Dallas James