Kill switches allow you to separate deployment from release. By wrapping a feature in a feature flag, if it causes problems you can simply turn off the feature, and test it again before re-releasing it to users.
By simply changing the status of your feature flag, you don’t need to restart your application which saves you time and minimizes negative impact. In addition, anyone on your team can use the kill switch to turn off a feature if anything goes wrong. This allows non-technical members of your team such as product and marketing to disable a feature without relying on engineers.
Historically, there's been one challenge that's been the toughest for companies to overcome: integration. It's when several teams work separately for months, each one building their own features. While they were working in complete isolation, their parts of the application were evolving in different directions.
It’s called “integration hell” when separate, incompatible versions of the same application are fighting with one another. It’s the struggle of merging apps that have been left unchanged from one another for too long. Continuously integrating code makes this process less painful. With CI, your developers integrate their work with a public repository or website at least once a day.
Automated tests are crucial for projects. They reduce the risk of mistakes and make it easier to detect bugs early on. When someone on your team does an integration, have the server create a build andM make sure automated tests are run on that build. This way, if there are any problems, they’re quickly caught and the person who pushed the code knows what needs to happen to fix it.
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You can use a kill switch to quickly and easily disable code. With kill switches you can hide an unfinished feature from users. By doing this, developers can work on their code more frequently and have an easier time integrating it into their main branch.
Another use case for kill switches is A/B testing. A/B testing is a user experience research technique that consists of randomly splitting users into two groups, A and B. Each user sees one of the selected versions of the site. It is up to the experimenter to decide which version they want to keep based on which version performed best. A/B testing can be enabled with feature flags, providing a quick and convenient way to switch between the two or more versions of your application based on user preferences.
Kill switches can also be used for canary releases. Canary releases allow you to deploy a feature to a small subset of users, monitoring that group to detect issues. If you find any problems, you can then stop the rollout and only deliver the update to a small group of users. That way, if there are any bad outcomes, you’ve only affected a small percentage of your user base.
Finally, kill switches help with personalization. Creating a customized app or web experience for different users is crucial to a business's success. For example, a company could create a separate branch of the software for each client, or they could store each client in a separate repository on their website. Kill switches allow you to switch between different versions of the same functionality.
DevCycle is a feature management tool that allows you to leverage feature flags to ship faster, reduce risk and maximize the impact of your canary release. By leveraging feature flags, you can increase your release cadence by minimizing release complexity.
Through continuously deploying and testing in production, you can organize your feature flags in several environments with our APIs without needing to leave your workflow. Developers, product, and marketing teams can toggle a feature on or off in the DevCycle dashboard to control who has access.
Your team can also predetermine a rollout schedule to specify which users have access to a new feature and at what date. This means you can create a predetermined rollout period for your release and let DevCycle gradually deploy it based on the rollout schedule your team set up.
DevCycle also enables you to maximize the impact of your releases through zero latency experimentation build for developers. Iterate and optimize features with the ability to dynamically modify content in production without redeployments.
Engineering teams can employ continuous integration and continuous delivery to keep up with competition. This practice will allow for faster development cycles, as well as the ability to deploy new features without risk of errors. Implementing kill switches can also help mitigate risk.
Want to use feature flags to start using kill switches to improve your software development workflow? Get started with a free trial of DevCycle.
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