The primary goal of many software companies today is to keep end users engaged with their software by releasing new features and updates. This is made possible via a mechanism known as feature flagging. As software applications grow and scale to the ever-increasing demand for new features, another problem arises. It is easy to lose track of where we use feature flags throughout our code. This results in forgetting to remove them when their features have been fully implemented and deployed. How do we fix this?
Feature flagging services have become a crucial part of software development. They simplify the release of new software features by removing the complexity of the feature flagging system and allowing developers to concentrate on their software. In this article, we'll examine the ways of adding a new feature to a React application and compare the use of feature flags by integrating two well-known feature flagging services, ConfigCat and LaunchDarkly, into the application.
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.
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.
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.
Before feature flags, releasing a new feature would require taking your application offline to make changes, then redeploying it. In addition, if you find bugs after the release, you'll have to start the process from scratch. Despite being a traditional approach, this won't serve your users and your business well today. A feature flagging solution allows you to release and even roll back features without downtime with just a few clicks.