The new open feature flagging standard enables companies to deliver cloud-native applications more effectively
We’re excited to announce our participation in the OpenFeature sandbox project for feature flagging. This project brings together some of the most well known companies in feature flag management, software delivery, and analytics to create a common standard for feature flagging on which the entire industry can build. This step is a signal that feature flagging and progressive delivery of software is going permanently mainstream, and will be the norm at most companies in the near future.
“At CloudBees, we believe that the future of all software delivery will be done progressively using feature flags. OpenFeature helps deliver on that future by creating a common standard for all companies to scale their feature flagging practice, and we're excited to see further adoption of feature flagging at enterprise scale,” said Eyal Keren, head of feature management at CloudBees.
“Any big open source project is full of experimental feature toggles and customizations. Lack of open source feature flag management standard has always been a major impediment for open source projects that wanted to adopt modern software delivery practices. With the OpenFeature project, they can now offer a vendor neutral feature flag interface that can be connected to an external management system operated by an end user or by the project itself. We’re looking to see this widely adopted by the CDF projects and by the whole software delivery ecosystem,” said Oleg Nenashev, Continuous Delivery Foundation TOC Chair (and CloudBees alumnus!)
To answer your questions about OpenFeature and what this means for the future of feature flagging and software delivery as a whole, we’ve compiled a list of FAQs below. And if you’d like to get a head start on feature flagging before OpenFeature is finalized, give our full-featured CloudBees Feature Management Community Edition a try today at no cost.
What is feature flagging and why is it important?
Feature flagging, and ultimately feature management, is a critical component for delivering cloud-native applications. They enable product delivery teams to turn functionality on and off at runtime without deploying new code. This helps them to quickly mitigate issues by toggling off a poorly performing feature, enable features for certain subsets of end users, or perform side-by-side A/B feature testing. This decoupling of code deployment from feature release is a key enabler for modern continuous delivery (CD) practices. Feature flags and feature management eliminate the need to maintain multiple long-lived feature branches within your source code and therefore simplify and accelerate the release cycles.
Why do we need a common standard?
Feature flags are an essential tool in the modern software delivery lifecycle. However, for some, the entry barrier is still too high due to differences in how technologies define, document, and therefore integrate with feature flags.
Feature flag solutions currently use their own proprietary SDK’s with frameworks, definitions, and data/ event-types unique to their platform alone. Because each is unique, challenges within teams looking to leverage these platforms and/or integrate them to other tools encounter issues with:
Having to re-architect from scratch if switching from one feature flag platform to another
Lack of consistency in SDK if an organization has more than one feature flag platform
Integrating feature flagging with other aspects of software delivery such as observability, automated testing, and analytics is a point-to-point exercise, requiring unique solutions for each combination of frameworks.
Standardizing feature flag management allows organizations to confidently and easily get started using feature flags, knowing that a vendor-neutral SDK helps them avoid lock-in, enabling them to focus on building great software.
OpenFeature resolves this issue as an open standard for feature flag management, created to support a robust feature flag ecosystem using cloud native technologies.
What will the common standard provide?
OpenFeature will provide a unified API, implemented by SDKs in various languages.
Feature-flagging platforms (both commercial or open-source frameworks) will implement providers which integrate into the OpenFeature SDK, allowing developers and framework authors to depend upon a single standard API for flag evaluation across every tech stack and every flag-management platform.
OpenFeature contributors also plan to define a developer-first, cloud-native reference implementation of a feature management platform.
Where can I learn more or get involved?
To learn more about OpenFeature or become a contributor, visit https://openfeature.dev.
Curious about feature flagging and want to get started right away? Try our full-featured CloudBees Feature Management Community Edition today at no cost.