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You can use a feature flag framework to achieve the following:

  • Test experimental features with user segments

  • Manage feature rollouts centrally in a single location

  • Take individual features offline at the click of a button

  • Ensure safe and quick deployments

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A feature flag framework is a game-changing solution for software development. To release new software features with speed and accuracy, you must have access to a robust feature flagging tool that’s capable of enabling and disabling isolated features at your team’s command. In this guide, we will break down all you need to know about feature flag deployment and how it works.

Feature Flag Framework (What Is It?)

Feature flags are a piece of code that conditionally hides and displays functionality. Using a feature flag framework, you can manage the functionality of software remotely without deploying any code. Feature flagging tools allow software developers to instantly enable and disable individual features. For instance, if you only want a certain segment of users to access specific features, you can leverage a feature flagging tool to isolate access to those features.

These tools give software development teams the ability to centrally manage feature rollouts from outside of the application. Teams can even restrict access to features after they have been rolled out to the end-users. This level of flexibility is ideal for software development teams that are continuously trying to refine features and successfully meet the needs of their end-users.

Feature Flag-Driven Development (Why Does It Matter?)

To ensure your team is rigorously testing software features before they are rolled out, the feature flag framework provides teams with the freedom to deploy code separately from the live rollout. Teams can use feature toggles to enable or disable features for different user segments. With the right feature flagging solution, you can achieve this without any interruption in service.

Before rolling out a feature as part of the default user experience, it is essential to utilize remote switches to manage the lifecycle of a feature. When you have the ability to rapidly change what users can see at the click of a button, you can experiment with confidence and push features further. An effective feature flagging tool will enable you to make quick and safe deployments.

Many developers assume that a feature flag framework is only beneficial in the pre-release testing of new features. In reality, nothing is further from the truth. Feature flags enable teams to deploy code into a live environment in an entirely controlled state. As a result, site maintenance and upgrades can take place without the need for any downtime or impact on end-users.

If your team were to discover a bug or general issue with a feature, they can use a feature flag to simply take the feature offline while they resolve the issue. When you have the right feature flagging platform in your corner, it is remarkably easy to disable individual features. Developers can sometimes use feature flagging tools to decommission older features and phase these out.

Feature Flag Deployment (Best Practices)

To guarantee safe feature flag deployment, you should consider a range of best practices. Let’s explore how you can fully harness the possibilities of feature flags with smooth deployments.

Understand When Feature Flags Are Required

When you deploy a feature flag, it should serve a specific purpose. Once the flag has served its intended purpose, you should consider removing it from the code. As there are many different potential use cases for feature flags, every situation is slightly different and will have its own timeline. Keeping feature flag deployment to a minimum allows your team to lead with simplicity.

Software development teams can use feature flags to personalize content for user segments. A project manager may wish to target a user segment and provide these users with access to a specific set of features. For instance, if this particular group of users is paying for premium access to the software, the team could utilize feature flags to offer features to premium users.

Establish Review Processes For Feature Flags

You should think carefully about adding IF statements to your software code. We recommend using feature flags sparingly and with intent. Adding unnecessary code to your software can result in avoidable headaches. The best thing your team can do is treat feature flags like production code. With this in mind, you should always thoroughly review any alterations.

For instance, you can add approval flows to your software development team processes to ensure feature flag changes are reviewed. Mistakes can happen. A project manager targeting a specific user segment could accidentally disable a feature for all users. Developing rigorous review processes for feature flag deployment will help to prevent mistakes from occurring.

Create Consistency Using Feature Flag Management Tools

To minimize the risks associated with deploying features to a live production environment, you need access to an effective feature flag solution. While feature flagging is an important part of delivering personalized user experiences, consistency is also critical to any rollout. This begins with making sure that all team members know how to successfully deploy feature flags.

With a user interface for feature flag management, those on your software development team can create and coordinate flags with ease. This is where a solution like ConfigCat comes into play. ConfigCat is a cross-platform feature flag service for software teams. If you are trying to complete quick and safe feature flag deployments, you need ConfigCat in your corner.

When Should You Use Feature Flags?

Here are just a few examples of when you should use feature flags:

  • Phased releases

  • A/B testing

  • Canary releases

  • Continuous integration and delivery

  • Experimentation

If you want to improve user experiences, you can leverage feature flags in numerous ways to gain valuable insights and provide users with unique experiences through experimental features.

How Do You Implement A Feature Flag System?

The easiest way to implement an effective feature flag system is to utilize a feature flag management solution. ConfigCat is well-equipped to meet your needs as an all-encompassing feature flagging tool. If you want to begin rolling out new features to different user segments, ConfigCat has everything you need to ensure you hit the ground running with feature flags.

ConfigCat is a feature flag service that takes 10 minutes to learn.
Sign up for free
No trial period. No credit card.
Request a demo

Feature Flag Testing (Best Tool For 2023)

When it comes to feature flag testing, you should look for the following features in a tool:

  • The ability to target specific user segments

  • In-built solutions for running experiments, such as A/B tests

  • Easy integration with the rest of your technology stack

With an easy-to-navigate user interface, ConfigCat is designed to support the rapid creation and deployment of feature flags. Using this solution, non-technical team members can understand how feature flags work and become an integral part of the deployment process.

ConfigCat takes the confusion out of flag management and brings all developers along for the ride. It supports simple feature toggles, user segmentation, and A/B testing and has a generous free tier for low-volume use cases or those just starting out.

Are you ready to start deploying feature flags? Our cross-platform feature flag service takes only 10 minutes to learn and allows you to decouple feature releases from code deployments. To begin enabling and disabling features for target user segments, try ConfigCat today.

Worry not. Your feature flags are served.

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