To say that software production can be complicated is like admitting that the oceans are deep. Engineers, however, have come up with interesting procedures, which improve development processes greatly. Are feature flags really that helpful? Let’s take a closer look.
Main advantages of feature toggles
Flags, toggles, switches. They have many names, but their purpose is the same all over the world. The main advantage of feature flagging is the possibility of merging new functionalities with the main branch and activating them… later. Only when they are ready. As a result, developers don’t keep changes for too long on a separate branch. In order for this method to be efficient, though, all changes should be small. They must also be introduced gradually. If these conditions are met, digital manufacturers receive smoother and more cost-effective development processes. But that’s not all.
Those processes become safer, too. You see, when a new feature doesn’t work, devs can quickly turn it off and focus on a fix without influencing the whole app. That’s why many digital professionals refer to feature switches as security buttons. When a red light pops up, a virtual button gets pressed and that’s it. The faulty feature is disabled. End-users sometimes don’t even realize it because the product is still running. It is still available on the market. All the problem-solving happens backstage, while the show goes on. So, app engineers don’t have to worry about resolving conflicts right away. They can address the issue calmly. There’s not that much time pressure, which usually has a negative impact on development as well as work conditions.
Canary deployments as a form of app evaluation
With feature flags, software engineers can also define how many users should see the new functionality and – if everything works – gradually increase that number to 100%. That’s how canary deployments work. For example, a company that is preparing a new version of a San Francisco restaurant app can start with a small group of seafood enthusiasts. They evaluate which functions are fine and which aren’t. Additionally, the company can give access to early features and release them only to this particular group of users. When the number of complaints is acceptable, the range of particular elements grows. Eventually, all new features become available to every app user interested in San Francisco restaurants. A pro feature flag management tool can control this type of app evaluation process.
Professional tools for feature flag management
The disadvantages of feature flagging are clear when there are too many things happening at once. In such situations, new feature deployment might become messy. And that means chaos. How to deal with chaos in a software development process? A feature flag solution is just the thing. The set of tools specifically designed for feature management seems to be the best way of avoiding chaotic code deployments.
A feature flag management tool is necessary for the development process that implements digital toggles in a project workflow. You see, only professional solutions can provide all the benefits of feature flagging. Without them, it’s hard to talk about any benefits at all. But with them, the whole app development can be transformed into a brand-new level indeed. More efficient, less expensive. More satisfactory to end-users, less disappointing to clients and shareholders. Coders themselves benefit from it too because their job is less stressful. All that is possible thanks to the feature flag procedures and tools for managing them properly.