Continuous Integration and Continuous Development/Deployment, most commonly abbreviated as CI/CD has changed and improved the way modern software is developed and shipped. When compared to traditional approaches which had a definite end, the CI/CD process is always ongoing with a strong emphasis on automation. As a result, new features and updates are steadily released to end users. This puts a huge overhead on developers and stakeholders to manage features efficiently. But, with the right feature management tool in place, this can be streamlined and simplified without much overhead, if any at all.
Feature flagging is a powerful technique that allows remote teams to quickly and easily toggle features on and off in their codebase. With feature flags development, teams can deploy new code to production without immediately making it available to end users.
This can be especially useful for remote teams, as it allows them to deploy code safely and efficiently. That’s because remote teams may not have the same level of communication and coordination as they would in a co-located setting. By using feature flags, remote teams can deploy new features and updates more frequently, without the risk of disrupting the user experience.
Let’s discuss what feature flagging actually means and how to get started with it.
Clients with global customer bases often hesitate to use feature flags for specific use cases due to concerns regarding possible latency and slow response time. Feature flags let you launch new features and change your software configuration without (re)deploying code.
That's why fast response time is of great importance at ConfigCat. For context, ConfigCat is a developer-centric feature flag service with unlimited team size, awesome support, and a reasonable price tag.
To that end, ConfigCat provides data centers at numerous global locations to ensure high availability and fast response time all around the globe. These data centers are all equipped with multiple CDN nodes to guarantee proper redundancy and multiple layers of load balancing based on geolocation to achieve speed, throughput, reliability, and compliance. Thanks to a previous DDoS incident, ConfigCat also got the chance to test its infrastructure in real life and made preemptive security improvements.
Creating software products is a highly collaborative process nowadays. Developers, designers, product managers, marketers, and many others all work together to bring software to life and ensure a smooth experience for customers.
Though developers are responsible for building new features, the control of releasing these features might be better in the hands of people that are outside of engineering teams. We can give these people control with the help of feature flags.
With the rise of cloud computing, Function as a Service (FaaS) services are becoming quite popular in the software industry. This is in part due to them not requiring the setup and implementation of a backend server to process and respond to data requests. This allows developers to focus on doing what they do best, writing better code.
By integrating such a service with feature flags, you can expand the way your functions work by toggling functionalities on or off and even rolling them back if anything goes wrong. Added to that, there is no limit on the number of feature flags you can implement, and they can be integrated into just about any language and framework out there.
It has become very common to use e-commerce websites to conduct shopping. Today, e-commerce is a large and competitive market with many options for consumers to choose from. Because of this, E-Commerce companies need to find ways to differentiate themselves and retain customers. One popular method that companies use to improve their website's performance and drive up sales is to conduct A/B testing.
By doing A/B tests, businesses can test different versions of their web pages and app features to see which ones perform best with their audience.
Feature flags have equipped software developers with the ability to seamlessly roll out and roll back new features with the click of a button.
Due to their design and architecture, feature flags can be adapted and integrated into many languages and frameworks. They can also be used with other technologies to enhance or add decoupled functionalities. Using them in a real-time 3D creation tool like Unreal Engine is no exception to this.
Software development workflows change over time, and they involve an organized plan of development tasks. Today, these tasks build up the software incrementally. The industry standard for tracking code changes is the source code management tool - Git. But, besides Git, there is another great thing that helps development teams. It is a feature management system. Read on to learn what a Feature Management System is, and its use in software development.
With a well-implemented feature flagging solution in place, your end users' experience should not be interrupted during feature rollouts. If unforeseen bugs are later discovered in the new feature, you should be able to easily roll it back without redeploying your application. In my opinion, feature flags are most useful in situations like these and are becoming quite popular in the software industry for releasing and controlling existing features throughout many applications. Because of their flexible nature, feature flags can be integrated and used alongside existing technologies to enhance day-to-day operations.
Knowing what your customers expect is one of the most difficult challenges when developing a product. Your team may prefer a particular color scheme, whereas your customers may prefer a different one. Fortunately, even if you're updating as you go, you don't have to read customers’ minds.
Including A/B testing in your development process can help you ensure that you're always in sync with your customers and never have to second-guess your decisions. Furthermore, it is simple and inexpensive, and it has the potential to significantly improve the success of your work.