When developing software for your business, not only should you create a high-quality product, but you should also provide extensive support. Software is a critical part of most businesses. Without proper support, the software can quickly become outdated and unreliable.
Support is particularly important for customer-facing applications and products that need to be constantly updated and supported.
With this in mind, the following is a detailed breakdown of why it's so essential to provide long-term support (LTS).
What Is Long-Term Software Support
LTS is the practice of maintaining a product or application for an extended period of time. This support includes updates that address technical issues (such as bugs) and security patches. It's important to remember that LTS is not the same as indefinite support, but rather it's a finite period during which a company commits to supporting a product.
LTS Release Versus Standard Release
An LTS release is a software release that gets support from the developer for an extended period, typically two to three years (in some cases, as long as five years). This contrasts with the standard support offered by developers, which is typically only six months to a year.
Providing an LTS option allows users to stick with a particular version for an extended period of the software without worrying about the quality degrading due to technical issues or security vulnerabilities.
4 Reasons To Get Started With LTS
Choosing an LTS over a standard support release might not seem like it's worth the extra effort. However, there are several benefits that make it a worthwhile investment. The following are four reasons you should consider offering LTS for your software:
1. LTS Zooms In On Stability
When a software program is first released, it's not uncommon for there to be several bugs and glitches. Developers address these issues over time through updates and patches. However, this process can take months or even years. Because software support often stops after just six months with a standard release, users can end up with an unreliable product.
As a result, they will have to upgrade to a newer release even if they are happy with their current software.
LTS, on the other hand, provides support for a much longer time, typically two to three years. This extended support means that users can trust that the software they're using is stable and unlikely to be affected by any significant issues. It also means they won't have to upgrade to a new software version if it doesn't benefit them.
Additionally, one of the key benefits of LTS is that it eliminates the risk of regressions. A regression is a change to a software program that causes it to stop working correctly.
For example, regressions can occur when a developer adds a new feature to the software that introduces a bug. You can prevent regressions by releasing a short-term support (STS) version that includes the new features. This STS version can then be user-tested for potential bugs, which you can iron out before introducing any new features into the LTS version.
2. Upholds The Pillars Of Information Security
When it comes to software development, there are three pillars of information security: confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
Maintaining a high level of security is vital to keeping software up-to-date and protecting your users. Once software support stops, it can be challenging for developers to keep up with the latest security threats.
As a result, it will leave your software vulnerable to attack. With LTS, you can be sure that your software will have the latest security patches and updates for a much more extended period. In addition, fewer changes are made to LTS versions, thereby preventing regressions and making LTS versions more stable.
As a result, you'll be able to uphold the pillars of information security for your software since it will be less likely to be compromised by things like cyberattacks or bugs.
3. Increases Software Reliability And Safety
By making your software LTS, you significantly boost its reliability and safety. Firstly, you can address any security vulnerabilities you discover because you're maintaining an LTS software for a longer period of time. As such, users can feel confident that your software is safe to use.
Secondly, you can use an STS version to perform frequent testing. Doing so will help to ensure that any new features or changes introduced in the LTS version won't cause any regressions.
In other words, you can be sure that the software will continue to work as intended. As a result, because LTS is based on a proven software version, users can have greater confidence in its reliability.
4. Continued Functionality And Compatibility
The issue with applications that have a short life cycle is that these applications can lose compatibility with the normal or STS version of the app. As a result, users may be unable to take advantage of new features or bug fixes.
Additionally, as the application changes over time, it may become incompatible with other software that it relies on. For example, an accounting program may need to interface with a payroll program. If the payroll program update is incompatible with the accounting program, this can cause significant problems.
LTS versions of software aim to avoid these issues by providing continued compatibility and functionality for longer. As a result, users can be confident that their software will have continued functionality and compatibility for a longer time.
Start Providing LTS For Your Software
Providing LTS for your software can be incredibly beneficial to your users. If you're considering an LTS solution for your software, then Brainspire can help. We can also help you decide on the right length of support for your software to ensure you get the most out of your investment.