open source Node.js The project released its first major update of 2022 on April 19 with the launch of version 18, providing long-term support (LTS) until April 2025.
The new version adds a series of incremental features, as well as security features that were not available in previous LTS updates.
Among the security enhancements in Node.js 18 is support for the OpenSSL 3.0 cryptographic library. This isn’t the first time OpenSSL 3.0 has been seen in Node.js, but it’s the first time it’s been released in an LTS update.
“Node.js 17 will not be promoted to Long Term Support – only even-numbered release lines are promoted to Long Term Support,” said Bethany Griggs, Node.js Technical Steering Committee Member and Senior Software Engineer at RedHat. ITPro today. “Many companies are sticking to the LTS release lines, so the inclusion of OpenSSL 3.0 is important for Node.js 18 as it will be the first long-term support release to include this release.
The last LTS update, according to Griggs, was Node.js 16, which included OpenSSL 1.1.1.
“The OpenSSL 3.0 update was necessary for Node.js 18 because OpenSSL 1.1.1 will reach end of support on 2023-09-11, which is before the proposed end-of-life date for Node.js 18.” she said “Node.js developers should be aware of this update as the update tightened some restrictions on allowed algorithms and key sizes.”
If user applications are using APIs that are no longer enabled by default in OpenSSL 3.0, they may need to make adjustments to their applications when upgrading to Node.js 18, Griggs said.
Fetch API improves queries in Node.js 18
“The new Fetch API in Node.js v18 allows users to make HTTP requests quickly and transparently,” said Ethan Arrowood, senior software engineer at Vercel. ITPro today. “In just two lines of code, a developer can request data and parse the response into a usable format.”
Pprevious versions of Node.js required the use of a callback system request method, which required the user to manually manage the response data stream, Arrowood said.
Node.js 18 also provides an overview of Web Feed APIwhich enables an optimized approach to data streaming.
“The implementation of the Web Streams API furthers efforts to increase compatibility with the broader web platform ecosystem,” said Node.js Technical Steering Committee Member James M. Snell and system engineer at Cloudflare. ITPro today. “Web feeds are implemented in all major web browsers and non-browser runtimes such as Deno, Cloudflare Workersand Node.js, allowing API-compliant code to work in all environments.”
The next 10 years of Node.js
The ongoing development and future direction of the open source Node.js project is in part guided by an initiative known as The Next 10.
“The Next 10 aims to guide the strategic directions for the next 10 years of Node.js – building and reflecting on the first 10 successful years of Node.js,” said Griggs.
The initial result of The Next 10’s effort was to set technical priorities for the project, she said. The overall effort is collaborative and involves broad participation from the Node.js community.
“Each in-depth discussion led to the definition of certain key actions and outcomes,” Griggs said. “For example, the introduction of the Fetch API was discussed during the Modern HTTP Deep Dive, which will now be available by default in Node.js 18.”