Dark launches, feature flags and canary launches: They sound like something from science fiction or some new computer game franchise bearing the name of Tom Clancy.
What they are is the face of DevOps – processes that enable projects to run successfully.
And their presence is set to be felt by a good many as numerous industry surveys can attest.
With DevOps on the rise, then, the question becomes one of not just how to implement DevOps but also how to measure the success of that implementation.
Before I get to the measurement, what about how to roll out DevOps? That brings us back to that Tom Clancy trio.
Let’s start with dark launches. This is a technique to which a new generation of enterprises have turned and which is relatively commonplace among startups and giants like Facebook alike.
It’s the practice of releasing new features to a particular section of users to test how the software will behave in production conditions. Key to this process is that the software is released without any UI features.
Canary releases (really another name for dark launches) and feature flags (of feature toggles) work by building in conditional “switches” to the DevOps code using Boolean logic, so different users see different code with different features. The principle is the same as with dark launches: companies can get an idea as to how the implementation is handled without running full production.