Weve been open source since late 2008. In that time weve had 40+ version releases, 6 major ones, and weve always maintained backward compatibility. You can take a 5.0 website and hit Update all the way through 126.96.36.199. Its always been important to us to keep everyone moving forward together.
For the first time in 6 years, weve decided to not put backward compatibility first and foremost. We really wanted to have a clean slate, so we could embrace ideas that involved deep changes to the system. The ecosystem of 3rd party tools and PHP itself has changed quite a bit in the last half a decade, and we dont want to be stuck in the past. Theres so much good new stuff in concrete5.7 that weve been able to include because we simply decided folks would have to migrate by hand instead of upgrading with a single click. We know that when you start playing with 5.7 youll see why we made this hard choice, but we want you to also know were not going to abandon upgrades again lightly. Wordpress NEVER does this, Drupal ALWAYS does this - were right in the middle: once every half a decade or so seems reasonable.
This does throw our typical release approach somewhat on its head, however. Weve made a commitment to continue supporting 5.6.x for security and critical bugs for at least a year. Were going to make some changes to our marketplace here to support 5.7 add-ons/themes as well as 5.6 ones too. In the past weve often talked about upgrading websites feeling like working on cars engine, while driving down the highway at 75/mph. In this case, were assembling a whole new car next to the one were in, driving both, and still at 75/mph.
So whats 5.7.0 for and how stable is it? Heres some absolute truths you can share with your bosses and clients:
The way themes, page types and composer are working now is not going to dramatically change in subsequent version. Add-on and theme developers should be making new versions of their work and thinking of new work that jives with the changes in approach weve come up with. Theres some deep awesome changes here that you should be wrapping your mind around.
5.7.0 is not as fast as 5.7.1 will be. We have a long history of building big new stuff in a .0 release and then optimizing in a .1 release. Expect more attention to performance in the next version.
There is no marketplace integration and this is not going out to the 3rd party installers until there is. Since no themes and add-ons are 5.7 ready yet, we were able to turn off the marketplace integration without much concern. Were circling back around to make that work with a nice new sexy feed in 5.7.1. Because theres no 3rd party stuff for this, and because of the next point, we dont feel this is what the DIY web builder crowd should be using when they install concrete5 on bluehost & gang - yet.
The docs are still being cooked. Were a good ways through user docs, were revisiting the way the API docs are made, and were writing some implementation docs for developers now. If youve got any time to help, wed love that. Additionally, there will be more attention put into the helpful blue box triggers that slide out in the next version. Those will link to user docs and videos that are being created.
If we were starting a new project for a client where we were expecting to build a site from scratch today, we would use 5.7.0. Its production ready, and a follow up release for marketplace integration, bug fixes, and performance optimization is scheduled for September 30th. We need you to start beating on 5.7.0 now so 5.7.1 is ready for the general public.
That being said, heres a whole lot of detail on whats under the hood.
This is glossing over so many small improvements to the system, and really giving short shrift to many of the large, fundamental changes. Were so excited about version 7 and we cant wait for you to use it. Thanks to all community members who have tested this release, and especially those in Github who have committed code to this release and help it get out the door. This includes (but is definitely not limited to) mlocati, remo, EC-Joe, EC-Chris, jobbrown, olliephillips, Mnkras, hissy, katzueno, mkly, jprostko, and many more.
[Update: August 24, 2018] Sunset has arrived
The end of life date was announced for legacy concrete5 today. Please see the announcement here. There will be no support for legacy concrete5 (5.6 and below) after August 24, 2018.