Best Resources on Feature Flags: Our Top Picks

Rowan Haddad
January 7, 2022
5 min read
Flagship.ioFeature FlagsBest Resources on Feature Flags: Our Top Picks

The topic of feature flags is gaining popularity with developers and marketers alike using these flags to test and deploy safely in production among other many uses.

In this article, we’ve decided to compile our top picks of the best content out there on feature flags for your reading pleasure. 

Whether your team has already been using feature flags to safely release new software or whether you’re just tentatively dipping your toes and looking to get more information on this powerful software development tool, you’re bound to find something in our selection that best suits your needs.

So, without further ado and in no particular order, here are our top picks:

1. Feature Toggles (aka Feature Flags)

By: Pete Hodgson (Twitter; LinkedIn)

This is certainly one of the most popular articles about feature flags. Indeed, a quick Google search will always include an article from Martin Fowler and his many articles written by him or by colleagues on the software development life cycle and how to build software effectively.

Why we picked it:

It's a no-brainer. This article, one of the oldest out there first published back in 2016, is a classic and explains in great detail and clarity the topic of feature toggles or flags from their birth to their different categories and implementation techniques.

In our opinion, this is a great article especially for those trying to become more acquainted with this topic. It also uses simplified figures for easier understanding.

2. Feature Flag, What? Why? How?

By: Hicham Bouissoumer & Nicolas Giron

Why we picked it:

This is another great article that breaks down the complexity of feature flags from what they are to their importance and the different ways to implement them.

It’s a good starting point for anyone who’s just embarking on their feature flag learning journey.

3. How we ship code faster and safer with feature flags

By: Alberto Gimeno

GitHub, a provider of internet hosting for software development, provides excellent resources to help developers build and develop software, among which highlight the topic of feature flags.

Why we picked it:

We always think the best way to truly understand something is by providing concrete and practical examples. This is what this article from a company in the industry does. 

This article paints a clear picture of the uses and benefits of feature flags by illustrating how GitHub reaps the benefits of these flags in its deployment processes. It explains in great detail how feature flags have allowed them to efficiently work on new features and to test these features, thereby inviting developers to embrace this software development methodology in their own releases.

4. Feature Flags are Valuable for Managers as Well as Developers

By: Micaël Paquier  

Why we picked it:

We’ve often heard about how developers use feature flags as they are the ones coding them. However, product and marketing teams have long started to recognize the benefits of using feature flags themselves to test out their ideas on customers. A sophisticated feature flagging platform, in particular, allows different teams to access and control flags (and not just developers). 

Therefore, the author argues that feature flags are a major win not only for developers but also product managers by boosting productivity and reducing the stress of new releases. The article also weighs in on the infamous build vs buy decision. 

5. Feature Flags: Be Truly Agile

By: Kevin Ghadyani (Twitter; LinkedIn

Why we picked it:

This article really lays out the value behind feature flags by depicting how each team within an organization utilizes them to solve many issues that usually come up in development, making life much easier for these teams. 

Much like the previous article, it highlights the importance of feature flags and how they have revolutionised the Agile development process.

6. The Many Uses of Feature Flags to Control Your Releases

By: our very own team at Flagship

As a feature flagging platform, we have carefully crafted a platform to suit both development and product teams and equip them with the right tools to safely deploy code into production and eliminate the risk of new releases. 

Why we picked it:

At the risk of tooting our own horn, we think that this article on our blog covers a wide range of use cases that could be implemented using feature flags from preparing for launch to other scenarios where such flags could come in handy, targeted towards both product and development teams.

7. Remote Feature Flags Do Not Always Come for Free

By: Josef Raska (Twitter; LinkedIn)

Why we picked it:

This article provides an interesting discussion on the benefits of feature flags while acknowledging their potential costs and listing the requirements that should be put in place to carefully manage these flags to avoid the build-up of heavy costs over time. Among such requirements include documenting when a flag is introduced and setting an owner for each flag to be able to make the decision to remove the flag when it is no longer needed.

8. Introducing Piranha: An Open Source Tool to Automatically Delete Stale Code

By: Murali Krishna Ramanathan, Lazaro Clapp, Rajkishore Barik, & Manu Sridharan

Why we picked it:

You might have already come across the dreaded ‘technical debt’. In this article, the engineering team at Uber tackles the dark side of feature flags and how they developed a tool in order to deal with the issue of removing stale feature flags to prevent accumulation of this debt.

Piranha is an open-source tool but it’s currently only available for Objective-C, Swift, and Java programs. 

Nonetheless, we think that this article provides a detailed look into the issue of technical debt and why it’s important to keep track of feature flags, particularly stale ones, in your code.

Conclusion

And there it is: our non-exhaustive list of our favorite posts that cover the ever-expanding and fascinating topic of feature flags! 

Why not sign up for a free trial and start your feature flag journey with us today?

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About the author
Rowan is part of the content marketing team at Flagship by AB Tasty. She's interested in all things marketing, particularly digital marketing. She's also passionate about expanding her knowledge on all things tech.

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