How to Disable Code: The Developer's Production Kill Switch

How to Disable Code: The Developer's Production Kill Switch

The following is a guest post written by Carlos Schults. Being able to disable code in production is a power that many developers aren’t aware of. And that’s a shame. The ability to switch off some portions—or even complete features—of the codebase can dramatically improve the software development process by allowing best practices that can …

The following is a guest post written by Carlos Schults.

Being able to disable code in production is a power that many developers aren’t aware of. And that’s a shame. The ability to switch off some portions—or even complete features—of the codebase can dramatically improve the software development process by allowing best practices that can shorten feedback cycles and increase the overall quality.

So, that’s what this post will cover: the mechanisms you can use to perform this switching off, why they’re useful and how to get started. Let’s dig in.

Why Would You Want to Disable Code?

Before we take a deep dive into feature flags, explaining what they are and how they’re implemented, you might be asking: Why would people want to switch off some parts of their codebase? What’s the benefit of doing that?

To answer these questions, we need to go back in time to take a look at how software was developed a couple of decades ago. Time for a history lesson!

The Dark Ages: Integration Hell

Historically, integration has been one of the toughest challenges for teams trying to develop software together. 

Picture several teams inside an organization, working separately for several months, each one developing its own feature. While the teams were working in complete isolation, their versions of the application were evolving in different directions. Now they need to converge again into a single, non conflicting version. This is a Herculean task.

That’s what “integration hell” means: the struggle to merge versions of the same application that have been allowed to diverge for too long. 

Enter the Solution: Continuous Integration

“If it hurts, do it more often.” What this saying means is that there are problems we postpone solving because doing so is hard. What you often find with these kinds of problems is that solving them more frequently, before they accumulate, is way less painful—or even trivial.

So, how can you make integrations less painful? Integrate more often.

That’s continuous integration (CI) in a nutshell: Have your developers integrate their work with a public shared repository, at the very least once a day. Have a server trigger a build and run the automated test suite every time someone integrates their work. That way, if there are problems, they’re exposed sooner rather than later.

How to Handle Partially Completed Features

One challenge that many teams struggle with in CI is how to deal with features that aren’t complete. If developers are merging their code to the mainline, that means that any developments that take more than one day to complete will have to be split into several parts. 

How can you avoid the customer accessing unfinished functionality? There are some trivial scenarios with similarly trivial solutions, but harder scenarios call for a different approach: the ability to switch off a part of the code completely.

blog code visual studio code visual studio

Bootstrap 5 Complete Course with Examples

Bootstrap 5 Tutorial - Bootstrap 5 Crash Course for Beginners

Nest.JS Tutorial for Beginners

Hello Vue 3: A First Look at Vue 3 and the Composition API

Building a simple Applications with Vue 3

Deno Crash Course: Explore Deno and Create a full REST API with Deno

How to Build a Real-time Chat App with Deno and WebSockets

Convert HTML to Markdown Online

HTML entity encoder decoder Online

COMO USAR e trabalhar com Code Review no Visual Studio Code

💲 Live CollabPlay: https://youtu.be/B6LCFSPdsE0 💲 Hospedagem com Desconto Exclusivo: https://tekers.tech/4e587 Não é todo programador que gosta de compartilh...

User Snippets (Code Shortcuts) in Visual Studio Code

#vscode Hello, my friends and fellow developers, this video is all about User Snippets. That means the Snippets (Code Shortcuts) that you can make for yourse...

Python в Visual Studio Code

We are pleased to announce that the July release of the Python extension is now available for Visual Studio Code. You can download the Python extension from the Marketplace, or install it directly from the extension gallery in Visual Studio Code. If you already have the Python extension installed, you can also get the latest update by restarting Visual Studio Code. You can read more about Python support in Visual Studio Code in the documentation .

C++ Development with Visual Studio Code

If you’re looking for a fast and lightweight open-source code editor, Visual Studio Code has you covered. Come for a deep dive into the features of Visual Studio Code which provide a rich, productive environment for C++ development.

The History of Visual Studio Code

We speak to the creator of Visual Studio Code about the early challenges to now becoming the most popular development environment in the world.