12 months ago

Most software components require testing and constant upgrades. User interfaces are not different. Feature flags can significantly improve the process. And what are they exactly? Is implementing them easy? Let’s take a closer look.

Feature flags by definition

There is more than one name. All of them move around different development teams worldwide. Feature toggles, switchers, flippers… They all refer to the same thing, though. Feature flagging is a useful software development practice that allows designers to conduct a new code deployment straight to app users. These brand-new features can be turned on/off at any time, which doesn’t influence the rest of the code. As a result, one bad apple won’t ruin the whole basket.

That means a decent feature flag platform (see details here: www.getunleash.io) provides engineers with a set of tools to perform tests, for example. A new feature can be disabled rather quickly if it turns out to be a failure. It can also be delivered as a “work in progress” feature without the end users even knowing that something has happened in the code. When everything’s ready, developers simply turn it on. This is obviously a simplification of the process, but it clearly shows that smart feature flag management can be very helpful and cost-effective in making existing apps better.

Feature flag implementation in UI development

Implementing feature flags in UI is easy as long as there is a limited number of feature releases that need to be controlled. Too many of those, and the endeavor might become overcomplicated. Engineering teams responsible for user interfaces should have that in mind, especially. They can use feature flags to show/hide certain elements on the client’s display. When there are many changes happening, the client can get confused.

Constant delivery of new app versions can be inconvenient for the end user, too. Especially when changes are merely cosmetic. That happens quite often in the UI department, does it not? Feature flags solve the problem. They also provide the control of access to certain modules of the interface. Temporary enabling, or disabling them has an impact on the user experience, which is important to UI developers. Moderating this experience in real-time can be very valuable.

Feature flagging in UI can play a significant role indeed. In fact, such practices can save an app from a disaster. But that might not be possible without a professional set of tools that help implement feature flags properly. Care to know more? Visit www.getunleash.io.

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