Tools & Resources

8 Best Feature Flag Tools for Seamless Feature Rollouts

As advanced methods of software development & deployment have gained ground, tooling around experimentation & A/B testing has become quite sophisticated. One such category is Feature flag tools. Sometimes referred to as feature toggle or feature switch tools, these are instruments for software development that let teams easily switch on or off features without needing redeployment. Primary use case for these tools is to test new features or to selectively enable or disable certain functionality in response to specific conditions.

Use Cases for Feature Flag Tools

Common use cases of feature flag tools include: 

  • managing the rollout of new features
  • performing A/B tests to identify better alternatives
  • reducing the risk while deploying code to production environments 
  • fixing bugs quickly or disabling features that are causing performance issues

All this enables teams to gradually roll out new features and experiment with them rapidly and safely, test them in different environments, and roll them out to specific user groups or markets.

Advantages of using feature flags

If your software development team follows the agile approach, one key advantage of using feature flags is the ability to iterate on the codebase quickly & easily. It will make the process of new feature deployment relatively less risky. The risk mitigation can happen at multiple levels based on how your team is using the feature flags. For example, one level of mitigation is adding a switch to control a broad change that can potentially have negative performance impact across the application. Another level could be, identifying the impact of new features deployed & their reception by the end users.

Additionally, there is also the obvious consequence of a clean code base. Result is, ease of maintenance in the long term. This will help the team stay clear of any unintended bugs. Also, the need to redeploy applications for turning features on or off is done away with by using feature flag tools. Given that deployments require detailed co-ordination & are inherently risky, this is a good reason for any team to evaluate the feature flag tools.

Feature flags can also help teams improve their product by providing valuable data and insights. With these tools, it is easy to track how users interact with different features. Product managers can get analytics around what new features are working well and which ones need improvement.

8 Best Feature Flag Management Tools

Now that we have built a strong use case for feature flag tools, let’s explore some popular feature flag management tools.

ToolKey FeaturePricing
LaunchDarklyEnables gradual rollouts of features, A/B testing for experimentation, and canary releases for controlled deployments.Tiered pricing based on features and usage – Starting at $10/user/month
OptimizelyProvides feature rollouts, experimentation capabilities, and user targeting for focused testing.Tiered pricing based on features and usage
GrowthBookOffers feature rollouts, user segmentation for targeted feature releases, and built-in analytics for data-driven decisions.Freemium model, paid plans (starting at $20/month) for advanced features
SplitSupports feature rollouts, canary releases for controlled testing, and feature gating to disable functionalities.Freemium model, paid plans (starting at $33/month) for advanced features
CloudBeesEnables feature rollouts, blue/green deployments for risk-free updates, and associating feature flags with specific environments.Freemium model, paid plans for advanced features
MolassesProvides feature rollouts, rollback options for easy fixes, and a visual editor for user-friendly management.Freemium model, paid plans (Starting at $50/month) for advanced features
FlagsmithOffers feature rollouts, permission controls for secure access, and integrations with various development tools.Freemium model, paid plans (Starting at $45/3 users/month) for advanced features
ApptimizeSupports feature rollouts, experimentation functionalities, and integrations with DevOps tools for streamlined workflows.Freemium model, paid plans for advanced features

1. LaunchDarkly

Probably the earliest product into this arena. LaunchDarkly can assist developers quickly roll out new features to a subset of users, perform A/B testing. The overall feature rollout process can be easily managed in this tool. LaunchDarkly also provides a range of features to manage the lifecycle of feature flags. And that includes tracking flag usage. 

LaunchDarkly

2. Optimizely 

Optimizely is a feature flag management platform that offers a wide range of capabilities for developers. If your product is a mobile app, then Optimizely’s omnichannel experimentation might be of interest to your team.

Optimizely @2x-100

3. GrowthBook

GrowthBook is an open-source platform for feature flag management. Its built-in lightweight SDKs for cross-platform deployment with feature flags help developers extract analytics for to gain rich insights. If you are looking to do a full stack experimentation, its modular platform is what you are looking for.

GrowthBook@2x-100

4. Split

Split is a horizontal platform that provides tools to create, target and manage feature flags. Additionally, it lets teams stay on top of the health of all their feature rollouts.

Split@2x-100

5. CloudBees

CloudBees is a software delivery platform with one of the products focused on Feature management. This specific product from CloudBees is geared towards team who want to innovate faster with less risk by relying on what it calls a slow release mechanism.

CloudBees@2x-100

6. Molasses

Molasses is a suite of feature flag and A/B testing tools that allows your teams to ship code more often with fewer incidents. With SDKs in TypeScript, Python, Ruby, Node, JS, and many other languages that developers widely use, Molasses focuses on the developer experience.

Molasses@2x-100

7. Flagsmith

Flagsmith offers cloud & an on-prem variants. Which makes this feature flag tool a great contender for banking, healthcare & government domains. It focuses on letting teams release features with confidence & doing so across web, mobile & server side applications.

Flagsmith@2x-100

8. Apptimize

Apptimize is a cross-platform feature flag that supports mobile, OTT, and web applications. It has the built-in capability to target and personalize digital experiences. It also enables non-technical users in the team to experiment with a visual editor.

Apptimize@2x-100

The Bottom Line

With development teams releasing features every few days, feature flags should become an integral part of your rollout strategy. In addition to feature flags, streamline processes for feature announcements and release notes as part of your product development strategy to augment rollouts for a smoother customer experience.

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