0.2.3 • Public • Published

    Feature Toggles

    A feature toggling solution for javascript applications.

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    Feature Toggles

    A Babel plugin that helps remove unfinished code from your JavaScript and Node Js application on build time. This is a configuration based feature toggling.

    If you are looking for a solution to the below mentioned problems, then you are in the right place.

    1. How to maintain both existing and unfinished feature?
    2. How to get rid of long-lived branches?
    3. How to manage single codebase used by multiple teams?
    4. How to maintain a production-ready master branch?

    Problem statement:
    If you are one of the several teams working on the same repository, then chances are that you might have faced the below mentioned situations.

    1. Unfinished code:
    • Given you are working on a feature that might take some time before it goes to production. Generally, you might create a feature branch and put all new code in it and keep updating until the feature is production-ready and to be merged into the master branch.

    • Now think about another aspect of it. Suppose you took more than 4 weeks to build this feature in a separate branch. But during this team other colleagues might keep on merging their code into the master branch.

    • Since your branch is weeks behind the master branch, when you try to merge your branch with the master, you will be bombarded with multiple merge conflicts. And trust me which is worse then you think.

    • So, if you keep your code in a feature branch for a long time, you will end up in a merge hell

    1. External dependency:
    • Another situation where you ready with your feature in a separate branch and the backend code is not yet ready or the business doesn't want to release the feature now. What will happen after 2 months or 4 months when your team is ready to release the feature, are you anticipating a smooth merging into the master branch? Not sure about you but when I faced this issue, it freaked me out.
    • Let's analyze my experience with it
      • I was hit with a lot of merge conflicts and it took me a hell lot of time to resolve it. I had to catch up with multiple developers to ensure that I am not accidentally removing their code.
      • Somehow I resolved all the merge conflicts and rebased successfully and handed it over for testing. When I thought everything is going smoothly, the testing team just gave me a huge list of bugs for us to fix. If you are facing the same problem, it is not you but the process that you adopted needs to be changed.
    • Handling merge conflicts are error prone and your automated tests might not catch that all the time
    1. One branch strategies:
    • The new trend is the one branch strategy where team uses a single master branch to push all the code from the local machine. They use automation tools to ensure the testing phase before merging to master.

    • Using one branch and relying on automation is not a bad option. But the challenge is that there is no way you can push unfinished code into the master without getting an escalation from the testing team. So the developer is stuck with unfinished code in his local branch.

    If you or your team is facing any of the above mentioned issues, then trust me, feature toggles can make your life a lot simpler.

    More details why you need feature toggles and what is feature-toggle:


    • Best for trunk-based development.
    • No more Long-lived branches.
    • No Merge hell.
    • No need of removing unfinished code while releasing, just toggle it off.
    • Make product delivery faster.
    • No release time overhead.
    • Increase team collaboration.


    • Complexity to the code
    • Tech dept and overhead of un-maintained toggles
    • Easily get massy

    Protection Required to Fix the Cons

    • Establish the right mindset in the team
    • One feature one toggle approach
    • Automation testing tools for toggle off and toggle on testing
    • CI/CD pipeline
    • Feature toggle removal tool (solves Tech dept)

    Getting Started

    STEP 1: Install dependency

        yarn add babel-plugin-feature-toggles --dev
        npm install babel-plugin-feature-toggles --save-dev

    STEP 2: (add to .babelrc or babel.config.json)

      plugins: [
        // Always add this on the first position
        // (Otherwise the plugin might  not work)

    Default config:

    commentStart: "toggleStart" - Customize commented command start name
    commentEnd: "toggleEnd" - Customize commented command end name
    dir: "." - Customize the root directory of your application
    toggleConfigPath: "./toggle-configs/" - Customize configuration path directory
    toggleConfig: "" - Customize your config file name (If nothing is passed then the toggle will not apply)

    STEP 3: (Setting up feature toggle config)

    1. Create a directory name ./toggle-configs/ in the root of your application.

    2. Add config files like [name].json. (e.g prod.json)

    3. In the config file add the list of flags. (e.g [feature-1, feature-2])

    4. The flags are each related to one particular feature. This flag helps to show and hide the features.

    // Sample Toggle config
        | - ft1.json // Config files
             | - feature-3 // flag name
        | - ft2.json
        |    | - feature-4 // flag name
        | - prod.json
             | - feature-1 // flag name
             | - feature-2 // flag name
    // Config files: Represent of one team or a release
    // flag name: represent of one feature

    STEP 4: How to feature toggle used in code

    Instead of using a traditional if statement to show hide the feature over run time, we use a unique commented petters of solving the issue.

    Why commented pattern?

    1. Traditional if-else will be difficult to identify between feature toggle and normal condition.
    2. if-else implementation works well with a run-time feature toggle, but we want something which removes unfinished code build time.
    3. Another important thought, we want a way which worker for (Valine Javascript and React/Vue/Angular Components and Function arguments) verity of places similar way.
    4. Also cleaning the traditional if-else is not easy, so we want something easy removable from code.

    feature toggle has toggleStart and toggleEnd command with a flag name will ensure the code will be Toggle On or Toggle Off by the config of choice. Sample codes:

    with JS

    function someFunction() {
      console.log("This is a new feature!!");
      console.log("I was there already");
    //if *feature-1* is part of toggled off
    function someFunction() {
      console.log("I was there already");

    Sample code with React JSX

    export const MyReactComponent = () => {
      return (
          <h1>This is a new feature!</h1>
          <h2>I was there already</h2>
    // if *feature-1* is part of toggled off
    export const MyReactComponent = () => {
      return (
          <h2>I was there already</h2>

    for more example:

    STEP 5: How to build your application using feature-toggle?

    we should tell the babel plugin to run by "toggleConfig".

    You can do that couple of ways:

    Pass as argv to any command

        yarn start --toggleConfig=ft1

    Pass as env variable

       TOGGLE_CONFIG_NAME=ft1 yarn start

    How this works?

    // Sample Toggle config
        | - ft1.json
             | - feature-3
        | - ft2.json
        |    | - feature-4
        | - prod.json
             | - feature-1
             | - feature-2

    Please see the above sample config path for reference.

    1. When we select one config i.e ft1.json. (using command yarn start --toggleConfig=ft1)

    2. First, this will combine all the toggleflag from all the config files.

    3. Then turn on the flags which available in ft1.json config file. (e.g feature-3 flag used in the code will not remove (Toggle On) and others will be toggled off.)

    Follow the below example will help you understand more.

    // Output
    // true: will show the section of feature
    // false: will hide the section of feature
        //yarn start --toggleConfig=ft1
        ft1: {
            "feature-3": true,
            "feature-4": false,
            "feature-1": false,
            "feature-2": false
        //yarn start --toggleConfig=ft2
        ft2: {
            "feature-3": false,
            "feature-4": true,
            "feature-1": false,
            "feature-2": false
        //yarn start --toggleConfig=prod
        prod: {
            "feature-3": false,
            "feature-4": false,
            "feature-1": true,
            "feature-2": true

    List of precaution:

    1. #### One feature one toggle flag

      - Given you are in a scrum team working for an e-commerce product. And now team gets a new feature requirement to build a new checkout page for your application and the work is divided between 3 developer means 3 stories.
      - For all these 3 story codes will be warped by one toggle flag.
      - Which will help you to reduce toggle and not get messy.
    2. #### Remove toggle flags from code.

      # Remove the code wrapped with toggle "feature-3" 
      ./node_modules/.bin/feature-toggles clean --toggleName=feature-3
      # Remove the comment wrapped with toggle "feature-3" 
      ./node_modules/.bin/feature-toggles clean --toggleName=feature-3 --flag
      # For more option 
      ./node_modules/.bin/feature-toggles clean --help
          $ ./node_modules/.bin/feature-toggles clean <path> <...options>
          path                     Files or directory to transform. Can be a glob like src/**.test.js
              -t, --toggleFlagName       Toggle flag name
                  --flag                 Only remove comment condition
          Other Options:
              --force, -f              Bypass Git safety checks and forcibly run codemods
              --dry                    Dry run (no changes are made to files)
              --print                  Print transformed files to your terminal
              --explicit-require       Transform only if React is imported in the file (default: true)
              --jscodeshift            (Advanced) Pass options directly to jscodeshift
              $ ./node_modules/.bin/feature-toggles clean ./src  --toggleFlagName=feature-3

    Try it

    Example - Babel plugin

    Example - Remove toggle code

    Example - Remove toggle comment

    Credits : Thank you Paul Pruteanu - Today I am able to build this plugin, becurse of him. He helped me to understand the problem statement and guide me through the thought process.


    npm i babel-plugin-feature-toggles

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