Today marks the start of the beta testing process for the first major core release since 2016, LifterLMS 4.0.0!
What’s a Major Release?
Before proceeding, we wish to convey that this release is a major release, but it does not include any major features.
LifterLMS aims to adhere to semantic versioning (although we’ll confess that we’ve made some mistakes along the way).
While many WordPress users are accustomed to a major release denoting large new features and enhancements, this is not necessarily true when following semantic versioning. In semantic versioning, a major release indicates that backwards incompatible (or breaking) changes have been introduced.
We strive, wherever possible, to remain backwards compatible. Doing so ensures that themes and integration do not have to worry about their codebases being negatively impacted by changes in LifterLMS. However, this also results in a larger codebase full of many unused and deprecated functions, classes, and files.
This makes maintenance more complicated and causes the codebase to be harder to read for new developers and contributors.
Therefore, LifterLMS 4.0.0 is primarily a release intended to clean house.
Breaking Changes in 4.0.0
We’re removing several hundred previously deprecated classes, methods, functions, files, variables, and assets.
In doing this we’ve shrunk the overall footprint of the LifterLMS plugin codebase, improved the overall code quality, and fixed numerous bugs and issues.
All breaking changes have been documented in the changelog.
LifterLMS 4.0.0 Timeline
The release cycle for LifterLMS 4.0.0 starts today, Monday, June 1, 2020 with the release of 4.0.0-beta.1.
We do not have a predetermined release date scheduled. Instead, we have some internal and public testing and quality assurance targets.
Once our targets have been met and we have determined that the beta is stable, we will ship a Release Candidate. One week following the publication of the Release Candidate we aim to move 4.0.0 to the stable public channel where it will be publicly accessible and become the primary supported version of LifterLMS.
Over the coming weeks expect to see several additional beta releases as bugs and issues are reported and resolved.
What Happens to 3.x?
LifterLMS does not (and will not) maintain multiple forks. We support and maintain a single stable release.
Upon the public release of LifterLMS 4.0.0 all users will encouraged to update to LifterLMS 4.0.0 and all future updates to LifterLMS will be updates to 4.0.0.
Contributing as a Beta Tester
The beta releases are available publicly to anyone interested in helping the core team root out bugs and issues.
You can subscribe to the beta channel using the LifterLMS Helper in order to start receiving automatic updates for beta releases through the WordPress admin panel. Alternatively, you can download the latest releases directly from the LifterLMS GitHub repository.
Beta testing is not always fun or easy. At this stage the beta is considered generally stable but you should still use caution and expect to find some issues. Do not install the beta in production.
If you have general comments or feedback on the beta let us know in the comments below or post a reply in GitHub on our 4.0.0 general feedback issue.
What Should a Beta Tester Look For?
The changes in this beta release are going to be mostly unnoticeable for most users and, therefore, most will not have any issues. Installing the beta will likely be uneventful and that’s good!
If you nave any 3rd-party integrations or themes installed on your site, you should check if developer has reported compatibility and, if they haven’t, reach out to them as soon as possible to ensure there’s no issues when 4.0.0 is released to the stable channel.
If you have any custom code on your site that uses LifterLMS actions, functions, classes, or custom templates, we urge you to test your site as soon as possible.
A Call to 3rd-Party Integration and Theme Developers
If you maintain a LifterLMS theme, plugin, or integration we need your help!
Please install the latest beta version and test your code against ours. If you find any issues along the way let us know by reporting an issue in GitHub.
We do not expect that you’ll encounter any issues. Almost all of the breaking changes being made are removals of previously deprecated functions and methods. We’re assuming that these deprecated methods are not being utilized publicly but we need your help to ensure that this is true!
After testing your integration please let us know by commenting on our 3rd-party compatibility issue in GitHub.
A Call to LifterLMS Experts
If you’re a member of the LifterLMS Experts program please collaborate with us during this beta period and help us ensure the transition to 4.0.0 is as smooth as possibly for all of our users but especially your clients!
We’d like you to, at the very least, install and test the beta in your own testing environment.
As an expert we expect that you have a few LifterLMS clients, possibly with custom templates and feature plugins. If your clients (and contracts) allow, please test (or help your clients test) the beta in a safe testing or staging environment.
If you encounter any issues or run tests and find that everything goes well, please let us know by posting in GitHub or emailing your contact at LifterLMS.