The 31st of March, marked the official end of life for the beloved and embattled hero of our open source products -- SilverStripe 2.4. Capping off the first open-source distribution of the CMS, SilverStripe 2.4 spanned an identifying era for SilverStripe, and for many of us who have been using the product for years, it became an emblematic and almost timeless product. Time has finally caught up with our tired workhorse, and we will no longer be supporting or updating anything prior to the version 3 release of the software.
In lieu of the carrying out a eulogy, I'll take some questions.
What's so much better about SilverStripe 3?
Content authors will enjoy a much more streamlined and modern CMS interface that empowers them to create and edit content with ease and speed. Most users find the interface greatly improved, but not changed so much that they can't find their way around.
Developers will have access to much better APIs, particularly around the Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) which is more secure, and much more efficient than its 2.x counterpart. The template language has received a complete overhaul, allowing for more powerful and predictable syntax. Further, the inventory of modules available for 3.x dwarfs those of 2.4 by a ratio of nearly 10 to 1, and all new documentation efforts, including the new Lessons section are targeted toward the 3.1 APIs.
Interesting, but, nah, bro.
By continuing to run a SilverStripe 2.4 site, you're exposed to vulnerabilities that may never be patched. With each new release of the software, upgrading becomes more and more difficult, and you're less likely to find a developer who is experienced working with legacy code.
But I'm not doing anything with my site. Why bother upgrading?
Your site may be frozen in amber, but time keeps moving forward. Think of your untouched site like a vacant house. It may not face the daily wear-and-tear of hosting a family, but it's still subject to the perennial winds of change, and will eventually fall apart. Browsers continue marching on, technology incessantly evolves, and hackers keep building out their arsenals. As an example, your website may be hosted in an environment that runs a sunsetted version of PHP, which is unsustainable. When upgraded, that new PHP version is likely to break your 2.4 site.
Sounds expensive. I can't really afford to upgrade.
While it's true that the 2.4 to 3.1 transition is far from seamless, and often incurs significant costs, you are likely to face costs either way. Running an unsupported release of software is destined to end in failure. The only question is how catastrophic that failure will be. In general, preventative care is less costly than disaster recovery.
"End of life" sounds so morbid. Will there be services?
Yes. You can come out to the Up-to-Date funeral home, on the corner of Left and Main, in the Better APIs district, just past the Don't Hack Me shop. Services will be open to the public for 3.1 hours.