SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Feature flags, which allow developers to turn functionality on and off for a subset of users in pre- and post-production, have become an essential part of modern software development. However, a study from Rollout.io and Atlassian, conducted by an independent research firm Vanson Bourne, has revealed that when companies attempt to implement feature flags in-house, they encounter challenges including higher costs and increased complexity.
These and other findings are detailed in the report, "Raising the Flag: The Rise of Feature Flags," and clearly illustrate the need for speed, as well as risks associated with changes to business-critical web and mobile applications. Over 61 percent of respondents' organizations release new versions or updates for application(s) once a week or more. However, 72 percent reported that their organization has lost customers or users due to application development errors.
The study examined the attitudes, experiences and expectations of 500 software developers and decision makers with responsibility for application development in their organizations. Completed in four key markets – the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the United States – the study also uncovered the need to accelerate feature delivery, and the impact feature changes can have on organizational performance in the digital economy. A comprehensive white paper with all findings can be downloaded from Rollout.
"Feature flags have become an essential part of the toolkit for virtually all software developers," explained Erez Rusovsky, CEO of Rollout.io. "This study has shown why: more than 97 percent of software development decision makers reported that they need to implement new application features quickly, yet 65 percent said it was difficult to do so safely. Feature flags let developers speed up feature releases without risking errors or other impact to the user experience."
In fact, almost all survey respondents (95 percent) said their organizations have implemented, have begun implementing, or plan to implement features flags, highlighting the tool as a ubiquitous solution to reduce risk (46 percent), increase speed of development (46 percent), and increase speed of deployment (45 percent). On average, 87 percent of respondents agree that enabling an on/off switch (or 'kill' switch) for features also reduces the risk of application downtime for customers. Furthermore, those that have implemented feature flags are using them to continually add new features – 30 new features to each application per year, on average, compared to those who have only begun implementing (21) or plan to implement (18) them.
The report also showcases how feature flags are increasingly seen as a necessary component of modern software development. Of respondents familiar with feature flags, 88 percent stated that modern software development includes feature flagging and 81 percent stated that the use of feature flags will increase over the next 12 months. This means we could expect the average of 30 feature flags per application to increase in the next 12 months.
However, the survey also found that in-house feature flag development creates its own challenges. 37 percent of respondents said that the cost of in-house development is higher, and 32 percent said they encountered more complexity than anticipated. As a result, almost 90 percent of respondents that have implemented feature flags in-house would consider moving to use a third-party supplier for feature flagging management software.
To learn more about feature flags:
- Visit Rollout's blog
- Integration with Atlassian
- Follow on Twitter and LinkedIn
- Or, download Rollout's eBook on Feature Flags
Rollout.io is a feature delivery and management company that accelerates software development and release and minimizes the risk of deploying new code. It is the only unified platform for feature delivery, experimentation, and application-layer remote configuration. Built for engineers, developers and product managers, to rollout, rollback, test and adapt features at scale, in real time. Rollout gives teams full visibility and control of all application features to deliver the right feature to the right user at the right time. Founded in 2014, Rollout has offices in San Francisco and Tel Aviv, Israel. Learn more at http://rollout.io.