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Are Feature Flags a Part of Your Rollback Plan?


Are Feature Flags In Your Rollback Plan?

Rollback plans are an essential part of the software development process. Often, they are overlooked or not given enough attention, resulting in catastrophic losses when a software deployment goes awry. In this blog post, we delve into the concept of a rollback plan, its significance in software development, and how feature flags can be instrumental in a smooth implementation. The aim is to assist you in designing an efficient rollback plan that aligns seamlessly with your software development practices. Ready to plan for the worst and aim for success?

Understanding the Rollback Plan

At its core, a rollback plan is a strategy that helps software developers revert their codebase to a previous state if any issues arise during or after a new release. This ensures minimal service disruption and prevents minor issues from escalating into system-wide failures. Hence, having a well-thought-out rollback plan is as crucial as the development process itself.

To optimize a rollback plan, it is essential to understand that the success of a rollback plan isn’t merely the execution of an emergency exit strategy. A well-designed rollback plan is a preemptive measure against potential software failures. When you’re proactive, there’s no need to over react. 

The Importance of a Rollback Plan in Software Development

Software development is a meticulous process that involves designing, coding, testing, and deploying. Despite the level of precaution involved, there’s always a risk of unforeseen bugs and errors creeping up post-deployment. When such issues arise, they can lead to service disruption, impacting the user experience and potentially damaging your brand reputation. Not a good look. 

Here’s where the rollback plan comes into play. A robust rollback plan allows you to quickly restore service, minimizing the potential for damage. Moreover, it offers an opportunity to reassess the problems and fine-tune the software before redeploying.

Feature Flags and Rollback Plans: A Perfect Symbiosis

Feature flags, also known as feature toggles, are a powerful tool that can enhance your rollback plan significantly. Feature flags provide developers with the ability to switch on or off specific features of a software application. They allow new features to be selectively exposed to users, enabling controlled testing and phased rollouts.

When it comes to the creation of a rollback plan, feature flags are your safety net. They allow developers to toggle off problematic features without reverting the entire codebase. This granular control helps to minimize the scope of the rollback, enabling swift issue resolution without impacting unaffected features. 

Implementing Rollback Plans Using Feature Flags With Split

Split, with its feature flag solution, offers a perfect platform for implementing an effective rollback plan. Here’s how you can go about it:

Design your features with flags

When developing a new feature, encapsulate it within a feature flag. This practice provides you with the ability to enable or disable the feature without code modifications. All you have to do is push on and off switches.

Test in a controlled environment 

Use the feature flags to enable the new feature for a specific audience or environment. You can test and gather feedback without affecting all users. If you cause a stir, it will be fairly minimal.

Plan for rollbacks

Before deploying a new feature, ensure that your rollback plan includes the feature flag. If an issue arises post-deployment, you can simply toggle the feature flag off to rollback.

Monitor and refine

Split provides real-time data and insight at the feature-level, which helps monitor the impact of your features. If something goes wrong, the causal analysis feedback that you gain can guide your rollback plan and subsequent refinement of the feature.

To Wrap Up

The integration of feature flags in your rollback plan can be a game-changer. By offering a swift response mechanism for software failures, feature flags can prevent minor issues from escalating into significant problems. Seriously, never underestimate the value of a well-designed rollback plan  that includes feature flags. By utilizing the feature management and experimentation platforms like Split , you can ensure a smooth rollout with automated rollout monitoring, and if necessary, rollback software to prevent drama. Your systems will remain stable and your users will thank you.

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The Split Feature Data Platform™ gives you the confidence to move fast without breaking things. Set up feature flags and safely deploy to production, controlling who sees which features and when. Connect every flag to contextual data, so you can know if your features are making things better or worse and act without hesitation. Effortlessly conduct feature experiments like A/B tests without slowing down. Whether you’re looking to increase your releases, to decrease your MTTR, or to ignite your dev team without burning them out–Split is both a feature management platform and partnership to revolutionize the way the work gets done. Switch on a free account today, schedule a demo, or contact us for further questions.

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