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4 Reasons why you should write your own feature flag system

posted under category: General on January 3, 2023 by Nathan

A powerful feature flag system to charge your continuous deployment system is easily within your reach! It's literally the simplest system to build and add to your application.

I've been over why you would want your own feature flag system when I wrote about building my own. Make sure you know the benefits so you can keep the end goals in mind.

Since you're sold on the idea (as all devs really should be), I've compiled this list of reasons why you should build, not buy (or download), your feature flag system.

  1. It's so easy

A feature flag system is ridiculously simple to get started with. It starts with an "if" statement and moves up in complexity from there. Where does it stop? It depends completely on you, your dev team, and how many features you need to create.

  1. The devs are the experts

The developers who work on a system are the only ones that know how to modify the system correctly. A library doesn't know the best way. An external tool doesn't know how best to integrate. It's the developers that know, and the developers who will ultimately do the work.

  1. Bring your own opinions

When you build your own software, you have your own opinions about how things should work. This is ordinary software development. If your manager or product owner asks you to design a feature flag system for your application, you would have a very specific way of designing it, way of building it, way of integrating it, way of naming it, and way of controlling it.

To state the inverse, you are also rejecting unnecessary outside opinions that you don't need.

  1. Build what you want

Your own feature flag system can be as small as you want it, with as little overhead as you care to create. It can be directly inline with your code, or it can stand to the side. You make the universe the way you see fit. Creating your own software gives you the freedom to do it any way you want.

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Nathan is a software developer at The Boeing Company in Charleston, SC. He is essentially a big programming nerd. Really, you could say that makes him a nerd among nerds. Aside from making software for the web, he plays with tech toys and likes to think about programming's big picture while speaking at conferences and generally impressing people with massive nerdiness and straight-faced sarcastic humor. Nathan got his programming start writing batch files in DOS. It should go without saying, but these thought and opinions have nothing to do with Boeing in any way.
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