Feature Flags

  • What are feature flags?
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What are feature flags?


Definition of feature flags

After having developed a product a feature flag is used to affect code. By definition, a feature flag allows the flagging of code for switching on and off without making changes to the source code. This enables minimum disruption to the development process.

Feature flags can have a variety of names such as ‘config flags’, ‘toggles’, ‘flippers’, and ‘switchers’.

Why use feature flags?

They can be utilized across multiple platforms from server code to mobile apps. Equally, developers are able to concentrate on creating new code that can be delivered regularly and incorporated easily and efficiently.

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One of the primary reasons is it allows for continuous delivery. This is where a feature of the product might be switched off in live production until any issues have been resolved. Incomplete work can be assessed and deployed and then a feature reactivated in the final release.

General FAQ

What are feature flags in DevOps?
Feature flags are a technique for activating and deactivating specific functionalities without the deployment of new code. As a result, teams can measure the performance of new features with a limited group, before releasing it in full.
How to implement feature flags?
When implementing feature flags, teams should consider which users they want to target (in terms of specific groups) and what value they offer. They can be stored as properties in configuration files, entries in external feature flag services, or as row entries within a specific database.
Why are feature flags required?
Feature flags allow teams to alter the behavior of a system without releasing new features officially. They can be used to assess the performance and functionality of features ahead of a wider roll-out, in a more tightly-controlled process with less risk.

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