blog post banner image

A Guide To Using Feature Flags

Ann McArthur


How to Use Feature Flags

Feature flags, also known as feature toggles are a tool that are incredibly useful for engineering, marketing, and product teams. Using feature flags is a software development best practice with several benefits. They allow software developers and engineering teams to safely deploy new features releases, test in production, beta test, leverage progressive delivery, and quickly roll back new features. There are several use cases for feature toggles.  DevCycle is a feature flag platform that makes it incredibly easy to implement feature toggles into your development process for web and mobile releases. 

1️⃣  Add a feature flag to your main branch.

Keep your feature hidden behind a feature flag that allows you to continuously deploy new code. Using a tool like DevCycle, you can create a feature flag in the dashboard, give it a name and a description. 

2️⃣  Deploy to production.

Deploy your code to production. By wrapping it in a feature in a flag, the code will remain dormant until the feature flag is turned on. With DevCycle, development teams simply add in the code snippet to enable the feature flag.

3️⃣  Determine your target audience.

Specify which subset of users will see the feature flag. You can segment users based on their history, device type, location, behavior or any other attribute you want. You can also test with internal users before showing it to your real user base. To have an even more targeted audience, you can pull user attributes from a third-party system to customize who your feature flag will reach.

4️⃣  Plan the rollout schedule.

Determine how many of your users will see your feature and at what date and time. You can control what percentage of your audience will see your feature flag, then slowly roll it out to more users with a canary release. You can also measure the impact of your feature as more of your users gain access to it. You can gather feedback from users to make changes as needed. This minimizes your risk and technical errors. 

5️⃣  Launch your feature to your entire audience.

As your feature flag performs well without any bugs and you get positive feedback from users you can continue to roll it out until 100% of your audience gains access to it. If any errors occur, simply roll it back or use the feature toggle as a kill switch to prevent users from seeing it in real-time.

Improve your feature development and release process. Leverage DevCycle to organize your feature flag management, reduce technical debt and create a better user experience.

Written By

Ann McArthur