Vaadin Framework 7 was released in 2013, but there are still a whole lot of Vaadin 6 applications, doing their job, each and every day. When Vaadin 8 comes out as a stable release, which is hopefully pretty soon, Vaadin 6 series won’t anymore be covered by our free support, 8 years after its initial release. If you are still maintaining Vaadin 6 applications, you probably have several questions in your mind. What does it mean, should you be concerned, what should you do?
What does “not supported” mean for an open source project?
Vaadin Framework is an Apache 2 licenced open source project. If you decide to start using an open source “product”, there is no official support for it. Companies might, however, be selling special support packages for users who want to “cover their backs”, like our Support service. The only “support” you get for free is that the company behind the OS project may have committed to maintain it actively for a certain period of time. Regarding Vaadin Framework 6, it means certain risks after it has become “end-of-life”, like:
In case a new Chrome version breaks the scrolling in the Table component, our R&D team probably won’t skip their night’s sleep finding a workaround for it.
If there is a new popular browser that is incompatible with Vaadin 6, you cannot expect our R&D to develop support for it.
If there is a security vulnerability, you cannot expect our R&D to develop a fix for it.
If we needed to maintain versions 6, 7 and 8 at the same time, that would most likely harm our further efforts quite badly, so at this point, we just need to start saying no, by default.
Luckily we’ve maintained it for 8 years already and are providing free and commercial help for a painless migration. This is what we are committed to as a company, because we know your business depends on it. This is also why we have to write these kinds of blog posts – to be transparent.
Naturally, our consulting services can still provide support, bugfixes, features and help for version 6, and even older releases, but that then happens by an hourly rate.
Although your Vaadin 6 application will by no means become broken once Vaadin 8 is out, my sincere suggestion is to move forward. The suggestion applies to both our support customers and the “free riders”. You’ll sleep better, because if your app breaks you know our R&D will do all they can to find a workaround. Also, Vaadin 7, and its minor versions, have brought in a lot of enhancements that might give your app a fresh feeling, even if you didn’t make any functional changes to your application.
The soon to be released Vaadin 8 will, in addition, bring major improvements to the core APIs that you work with daily. Developing new features will become more efficient than ever before and this will make it much more tempting to update your application during its entire lifespan.
Vaadin 8 has a bit stricter requirements than the older versions, regarding browser support and Java versions, but we believe most of you should be able to upgrade to Vaadin 8 as well.
Requirement matrix for Vaadin versions:
||Internet Explorer support
||6 or newer
||8 or newer
||11 and Edge
We know that many Vaadin 6 users are tempted to delay the upgrade and do it directly to Vaadin 8. Good thinking, but you probably won’t save a dollar with this strategy. While Vaadin 7 and Vaadin 8 are both major upgrades, their focus areas have been quite different. If you can’t start upgrading to Vaadin 8 yet (because of requirements or add-ons), you don’t waste any resources by upgrading to Vaadin 7 first.
The only place where you could save some conversion effort is by not converting Form usage into FieldGroup based data binding. Form (deprecated in Vaadin 7) is still available in Vaadin 8 so you most probably want to move directly to Binder, which is a replacement for the FieldGroup in Vaadin 8.
Also, the upgrade from Vaadin 7 to Vaadin 8 will be super fast to do as we have a so called compatibility package available and you can then gradually move into using the modern API introduced in Vaadin 8.
Sounds scary? Let us help!
If you are uncertain about the upgrade, you can of course get some real support for the upgrade from us. Our engineers have worked with both versions 6 and 7, and we have a vast experience of upgrading large business apps to Vaadin 7. We are also the guys that have built the framework from the ground up, so you’ll have the best help in the world – quite literally.
If you need our help, contact our sales persons close to you. We have also prepared a whitepaper that can help you to find the best strategy for your upgrade and get an overview of what you have to do.