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When you wrap brand new code in a toggle, you can easily enable or disable the feature for all users, or for specific segments of users without rolling back the entire application. Rather than waiting for a full release cycle, development teams can experiment with new features and get feedback from users much faster. This allows for a more agile development process and can help teams release new features more frequently.

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Let's face it, nobody is perfect and even the most thoroughly-tested code can have unforeseen issues when it's released into the wild. By using feature toggles, you can quickly disable a new feature if there are any problems and avoid affecting the stability of the application as a whole. Feature toggles also have many other names:

  • Feature flagging
  • Conditional feature
  • Feature flipper
  • Release toggle
  • Feature controls
  • Feature toggle
  • Feature switch

Without wasting any time, let's dive in deeper and look at the practical use cases of feature toggles. There is no shortage of reasons why you might want to use feature toggles in your applications.

What is a feature toggle used for?

Turn a feature "on" or "off" remotely in real-time

If your development teams want to drive innovation, they can use feature toggles to enable or disable new features in the application remotely, in real-time. This is ideal for those who want to carry out A/B testing or canary deployments. As you gradually roll out a new feature to a small subset of users, you can monitor how they interact with this new feature and make sure there are no glaring issues before pushing it out to the wider user base.

Experiment with new features

When a new release cycle comes around, there is always the pressure to finish new features and get them out the door. This can lead to hasty decisions and rushed code that's prone to avoidable bugs.

Using feature toggles, development teams can take their time to experiment with new features and get them right before pushing them out to users. Even if a feature is not completely finished, it can still be wrapped in a toggle and released to a small subset of users for further testing. This also enables you to get feedback from actual users much earlier on in the development process which can help shape the final product.

Take control of release management

From early access programs to beta releases, feature toggles can offer granular control over who has access to new features and when they can use these.

For instance, you can allow power users to have early access to new features and get their feedback before release. These individuals will know your product well and often align perfectly with your target market.

Why do feature toggles matter?

Reduce the risk of a release

If your developers are feeling nervous about releasing an experimental feature to the entire user base, feature toggles can help reduce the risk. By wrapping the new code in a toggle, you can easily disable the feature if there are any unforeseen issues.

Limiting the risk of releasing new features enables you to have more confidence in throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks. After all, that's what innovation is all about.

Gain feedback from user segments

During the development process, you can rollout incomplete features to user segments without fearing that it might break the entire application.

By pushing features out early, you can collect user feedback while you are still deep in the development process. This allows you to take a user-centric approach to product development. You are bringing users along for the ride as you experiment and iterate on new features.

Limit the number of rollbacks

Instead of rolling back the entire product, you can simply disable the failing feature with a toggle. You can quickly fix the issue and re-enable the feature without causing widespread disruption.

Who uses feature toggles?

Product management and customer success teams can use feature toggles to set up beta programs and release new features to power users. This allows them to collect user feedback early on and make sure the final feature is fully aligned with customer needs.

As we have already mentioned, development teams can use feature toggles to test new features and get feedback from actual users to inform the development process. This helps ensure users are at the forefront of their minds as they are coding.

Even sales teams can get in on the action. To meet the specific needs of customers, they can use feature toggles to temporarily enable or disable certain features and tailor the user experience to their needs.

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 Toggle Vs. Feature Flag (What's The Difference?)

These two terms are used interchangeably but there are some subtle differences. While feature flagging is about simply enabling and disabling features, a feature toggle is more about full feature lifecycle management. From development and release right the way through to sunset, toggles give you complete control over your feature lifecycle.

Why use a feature management system?

A feature management system unifies all efforts to control the feature lifecycle under one platform. Fortunately, the vast majority of feature management tools are easy to use and require no technical expertise to get started.

This means team members from across your business can leverage feature flags to enhance customer experiences and mitigate risks. ConfigCat is a feature flag service for teams that's takes just 10 minutes to learn. Yes, 10 minutes.

To hit the ground running with feature toggles, you need ConfigCat in your corner. Sign up today.

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