Feature toggle management can play a pivotal role in accelerating the development cycle. If you often find yourself feeling frustrated by the start-stop nature of feature development, introducing a few feature toggles into your cycle can prevent you from delaying deployments. Let’s take a step back and consider what feature toggle management is and how it works.
Feature toggle management enables teams to enable and disable individual features at the click of a button without a full code deployment. This is all possible using a feature toggle, which is a simple binary flag that you can turn on and off. When the feature flag is enabled, the isolated feature is made available to either all users or a specific segment of users.
When it comes to controlling the release of new experimental features, feature toggles are ideal. If you are developing and releasing new features at a rapid pace, you need a solution that gives you the ability to move quickly without making full code deployments. Through feature toggle management, developers can release new features to small groups for testing.
There is no shortage of benefits that come with feature toggle management. Here are just three potential benefits to consider:
With the support of feature toggles, developers can quickly release new features to different user segments, before rolling these out to the rest of the user base. When you do this, it allows for faster release cycles as developers can release new features once they are ready for testing, rather than waiting weeks or even months for a full code deployment.
An effective feature toggle management solution allows developers to gain greater control over new feature releases. The developers can enable and disable individual features with complete ease and do not have to consider when the next full code deployment will take place. If you are working in an Agile development environment, this type of setup is particularly useful.
By rolling features out to small user segments for testing with feature toggle management, you are limiting the risk of new features creating issues for the entire user base. A potentially buggy and half-finished feature isn’t going to break the rest of your application if you are using a feature flag to isolate the code away from the rest of your code.
Even though developers regularly use “feature flagging” and “feature toggle management” interchangeably, there is a difference between the two terms. While feature flagging refers to using flags to enable and disable features, feature toggle management is all about the overall process of managing these feature flags and staying across the codebase.
Feature toggle management typically comes with the ability to target specific user segments and schedule the release of new features.
Sure, feature toggles present a full range of potential benefits for developers, but they are not always the right option. If a feature is complete and ready for release, it’s often best to simply release it without a toggle. Sometimes, if you are using many feature toggles at once, this can add unnecessary complexity to the codebase. You should use feature flagging sparingly.
When a feature is in the early stages of development, you should consider using a feature toggle to separate the feature from the rest of the code. This means you can then release the feature to a small subset of users before rolling it out to everyone. By keeping things small to start with, you give yourself the necessary space to address bugs as they arise.
Whether you want to enable features to beta testers or cater to different use cases and provide features to a specific user segment, you can leverage feature flags in no shortage of creative ways. It’s just important to remember that every feature flag should have a clear purpose.
ConfigCat is well-equipped to meet your needs as a feature flag management platform. Using our solution, developers can easily control the release of new features. The platform offers a simple and intuitive user interface - making it remarkably easy to create and manage feature flags, as well as target user segments or specific groups of users.
If you want to hit the ground running with feature flags and explore their full potential, you need access to the right feature toggle management system. ConfigCat is ready to meet your unique needs and support developers in their efforts to roll out new features faster.