Feature Flags

Feature Flags

How Feature Flags helps on your Continuous Delivery of software.

How to add a feature flag on the Ruby on Rails app?

What are feature flags?

Feature flags, also known as feature toggles or feature switches, are software development technique that enables developers to turn certain features of an application on or off, either during development or at runtime. This enables the developer teams to make feature changes quickly and allows them to also deploy those changes to the server without pushing additional code to enable or disable them. By using feature flags, developers can deploy new features to specific subsets of users, monitor and test them in real-time, and roll them back without pushing additional code changes if necessary. In short, It helps the engineering team to reduce their cycle time even for big feature requests and do a continuous deployment of the changes.

The following feature flag shows the basic feature flag written in ruby.

if FeatureFlag.enabled?(:dashboard_v2, current_user)
    render :dashboard_v2

Benefits of using feature flags:

  1. Risk management: Feature flags allow developers to selectively enable or disable specific features within an application. This makes it easier to deploy new code without disrupting existing functionality, reducing the risk of introducing bugs or other issues that could impact the user experience.

  2. Controlled rollout: With feature flags, developers can gradually enable new features for a subset of users, allowing them to monitor and test the feature in a controlled environment before rolling it out to all users. This approach reduces the risk of introducing bugs or other issues that could impact the user experience.

  3. Real-time control: Feature flags allow developers to quickly respond to user feedback and make changes to an application in real-time. This enables teams to deliver high-quality software at a faster pace than traditional release cycles.

  4. Collaboration: Feature flags provide a simple mechanism for controlling and testing new features, improving collaboration among developers, QA teams, and product managers. This enhances overall team productivity and enables teams to work together more effectively.

  5. A/B testing: Feature flags can be used to conduct A/B testing by selectively enabling different versions of a feature for different groups of users. This allows teams to gather data and make informed decisions about which version of the feature to roll out to all users.

In conclusion, feature flags are a critical tool for developers looking to improve their software development processes. By allowing controlled rollout, providing real-time control, improving collaboration, and mitigating risks, feature flags help teams deliver high-quality software at a faster pace. The benefits of feature flags extend beyond just software development; they also support the larger goal of delivering value to users and customers by enabling teams to iterate quickly and respond to feedback in real-time. With feature flags, teams can build more resilient, agile, and efficient software development processes that deliver value to their users and customers.