What Are Feature Flags And How They Are Used In Software Configuration Management

Feature Flags With Nonfig In Software Configurations

What are Feature Flags?

If you don’t like unit testing your product, most likely your customers won’t like to test it either.

Either you are tweaking your product or your workspace software, you must test it to assure that the end-user is satisfied. Feature flags are all about testing software feature before it is completed and ready to release.

Sounds similar? Yes! It is Total Quality Management (TQM) for your software, where you identify and rectify problems in your software at every step.

Feature flags are a powerful technique allowing developers to modify system behavior without releasing or changing the code. Feature flags provide an alternative to maintaining multiple branches in source code, for example during the development process a developer can enable the feature for testing and disable it for others. How? Simply by turning the flags “on” or “off”. If the flag is ‘on’, a new code is executed and if the flag is ‘off’ the code is skipped.

It helps the developer to deliver new functionality to users rapidly and safely. Feature flags are also known as feature switch, feature toggle, and feature flipper. I will be using term feature flags while discussing its benefits:

Benefits of Feature Flags

A/B testing

The majority of businesses use A/B testing to maximize their growth. It is a method to measure effectiveness.

How does it work?

A/B testing is a method of comparing two or more versions of a web-page, mobile application, email, video, call-to-action, or whatever you want to compare. It is an experiment where you show two or more variants to the user. You use analytics to analyze which variant performed better.

By using feature flags:

  • You can turn one variant’s flag on and other variant’s flag off.
  • In this way, you can compare the results of both variants and apply them according to the results.
  • Even If you are a non-technical individual, you can easily use feature flags without releasing any codes to analyze the impacts of variants.

A/B testing has proved beneficial for many organizations such as:

  • SAP observed a 32.5% increase in the conversion rate by just changing the color of the CTA button.
  • Dell experienced a 300% increase in their conversion rate upon testing the landing page.

You can have a look at the key benefits of A/B testing of 2020 data.

Continuous Delivery

Using feature flags you can use an implementing technique of continuous delivery. It is a technique that:

  • Is used by many leading software companies in the world to deliver stable and bug-free software.
  • Help teams to produce software in a short cycle
  • Releases software with great speed and frequency once tested.
  • Results in cost-cutting and time saving for firms.
  • Can be deployed manually and automatically as well. Automatic deployment is known as Continuous Deployment.

Canary Testing with Feature Flags

All businesses are highly risk-averse. They apply all the possible strategies to mitigate the risks. With Canary testing you can:

  • Reduce your risks by limiting the release of your new feature to a limited user base.
  • You can start with a smaller percentage and can gradually go for all users.
  • If the feature launched is not up to the mark, you can simply roll back by turning off the feature.
  • You don’t need to go through the whole role back deployment cycle.

For example, you developed a new algorithm and the algorithm looks good on the exploratory testing so far. However, you know it’s a critical part of your whole deployment. If you let all users use that deployment and something turns out to be wrong, it can be huge trouble for you. Thus, you decide to use Canary testing for it.

Enhanced Control Over Features

One of the major benefits of using feature flags is you can configure your system without making disruptive changes in live code. A smaller change in code or a release of small code can affect your perfectly working codes.

Feature Flags facilitates in the following ways:

  • Developers can work with phenomenal branching.
  • Your team can work with their copies of codes and can merge all changes easily.
  • Work independently on your copies of code and integrate them to the master branch or mainline when done.
  • Saves your time as you can work independently on the copies of codes.
  • Easy to merge without any divergence.
  • Continuous software delivery for the firm.

Kill Switch

You can increase and decrease the number of users by using a feature flag by using canary releases. But, what if you roll out a misbehaving feature? Here comes the kill switch to rescue, you can simply turn that feature off and let everything go back to the normal for users. Afterward, you can find out the reason for the misbehaving feature and rectify it.

Conclusion

Many large companies like Netflix, Gmail, Reddit, Flickr, and Apiumhub use feature flags. Moreover, it’s better to keep feature flags short-lived and small in number because too many flags add complexity. Thus, it is important to clean up the feature flags and keep the code base balanced. Feature flags are no doubt an important technique for businesses but there are some other Configuration Management Techniques as well that help businesses become a market leader.

 

 

 

What is Nonfig - Software Configuration Management

What is Nonfig?

What if your business doesn’t need a software developer for routine behavioral changes?

Whenever you want to make small tweaks in your software, you get ‘developer’ locked. Also, you have to wait for hours and sometimes for days for the change. And, if the configuration doesn’t work for you, the waiting continues.

Nonfig is here to rescue you from lags! As we call it, The “Google Docs” for your software configurations!

Nonfig is a Centralized software Configuration Management Platform which reduces developer impact on behavioral changes of a software feature. You can store, modify and operate software configurations from a unified platform. 

Nonfig is a software configuration platform that aims to provide more Independence and Control to product owners and managers. We provide a platform where you, a non-technical person can do routine behavioral changes by yourself independently without any help from a non-technical person. And you know what’s the best thing? You can do the changes within a few clicks and minutes. Moreover, you will be provided with a platform where you can switch to the technical or non-technical version, whatever suits you.

Moreover, we also believe that configurations should not be the part of the Version Control System i.e GIT and non-technical people should be empowered further to drive the changes.

You can do your configurations easily without releasing a single line of code, just with a few clicks! So, now you can focus on the business strategies without worrying for developers.

What Is Software Configuration?

Diving deep into the development ecosystem, we come across software configurations.

The software configurations are essentially editable text files that contain the information required for the successful operation of a program. The files are structured in a particular way, formatted to be user-configurable.

While some configuration is hard-coded into software, settings that you can change are included in config files.

Mostly, the widely known standards are used to structure data in these configuration files, like:

  • JSON (JavaScript Object Notation)
  • YAML (YAML Ain’t Markup Language)
  • XML (eXtensible Markup Language)

Some programs load the information stored in their config files when they start. Meanwhile, others periodically check the config file to see if it has been changed.

How will I be benefited by Nonfig? 

We will benefit you in terms of time and money both! On average, three developers will cost you ‎€150 for an hour. So, if you are doing a minimum of 30 modifications per month, it will cost you ‎€4500 per month. However, Nonfig will be charging you ‎only €300 per month. Hence, reducing your cost by 92%!

Time is money. A typical software modification and a reverting process can take hours and even days, however, we save you 80% of your time!

How? Because you will be able to do the configurations by yourself in a few easy steps without writing a single line of code!

Time & Budget benefits by using Nonfig

Features of Nonfig

Nonfig is life-in-heaven for all product owners. Let’s dive into the value we deliver to you.

Revert on one click

Got better results in your previous configurations?

Want to revert?

Don’t worry; you can revert to the previous version on a single click! YES! You don’t need to drain your time waiting to come back on an older version.

Example: While working on a project you made some configurations. Using our analytics you observed that the previous version was more efficient for your business model. Therefore, you want to revert to the earlier version. No worries! Revert on a single click!

How is it different?

When you want to revert to a previous version in a conventional way, you require a developer for it. And the developer takes hours and sometimes days to get you on track.

In short, avoid the lags and revert within seconds with Nonfig!

Customized Segmentation

Divide and rule your target market!

You can create segmented configurations, which means only a particular segment of your customers can experience the new strategy.

For example, you want to launch a sales promotion offer. The offer is that you will be offering discounts to your customers with particular names. And, the names will vary daily so that other named customers can also avail the offer. Seeing that, you will need a customized configuration for your web page and application layout. So, customers who can avail discounts can experience a different version compared to the rest. Eventually, this all can be done quickly by using Nonfig!

Customized Segmentation in Nonfig

Choose your UI

Are your customers bored with using older User Interfaces?

Try our user-friendly interface, or you can customize it as you require.

Also, you can design user-targeted notification UI through which you can target your segmented customers.

Modify and structure your Access policies

Independently handle who could do what!

Define configuration accessing policies easily. You can easily customize or allow access to individuals to individual configurations. They can be defined by role, applications, department, or any axes that you want.

Hard to get?

Let’s understand this with an example. There is a configuration, and you only want some people with a specific profile located in different countries to see, create, and modify it. You can create and edit your access policy by designation and location to share the configuration with those limited people.

We understand that every business is risk-avert. Thus, you can easily set up a process to review and approve every configuration change to mitigate maximum risk.

So, modify your policies easily and experience the instant effect!

Choose your language

Get it in your preferred command line. In other words, just tell us about your preferred command line, it’s either JSON, Yaml, XML, or any other format you like.

Choose your language in Nonfig

Tracking Analytics

Every business department tracks analytics to respond immediately and avoid missing an opportunity. So why not track configurations as well?

We provide you with a real-time analytical interface. So, you can track the usage of every configuration and react immediately to its impacts. In short, our analytics help you to identify deprecated configuration and respond to it accordingly.

Analytics Dashboard

Security

You are safe with us!

When it comes to the security of your data, your data is encrypted using encryption algorithms with your credentials. Moreover, you and your team members to whom you explicitly grant access to every configuration file through your policies will get access. And, neither Nonfig nor any of its employees can access your data.

Early Access

Give us your valuable feedback!

We proudly announce the launch of our “Pilot Program“. We believe that you, our customer, is the sovereign. Step in, experience Nonfig and give us your feedback. Fill your email below and become our pilot customer.