Feature Toggle is a very popular technique that enables you to test the new feature on real production environment before releasing it to your clients. It’s also helpful when you want to enable the feature for just some beta clients or just some clients who pay for the specific features. The technique requires both backend and frontend work involved. In this post, I’m going to talk about some simple solutions that I and the team at AR have applied as well as some other useful ways that we are still discussing and may apply one day in the future.

1. Backend Data Organization

Feature Flag table

Of course, the simplest solution is to create a specific table for storing the all the feature flags in the database. The table may looks like this

  featureName: <string>,
  released: <bool>,
  enabledList: <array>, // enabled clients list
  disabledList: <array> // disabled clients list

The above mentioned data structure may be suitable for the case your system has a lot of users. You can simply add some admin user to the enabledList and test the new feature on production before releasing it to your users.

Inline User feature data

If your product is to serve business clients, you can also store the enabled feature directly to the client object itself. This can save you extra queries to the database to get the feature information. If that’s the case, your Client object might look like this

  clientId: <string>,
  enabledFeatured: <array>

Unix Permission style

So far the above solutions all return a format with a string indicating the feature name and probably a boolean for the feature status. When your application grows to a bigger size, this may create a huge problem if you have a lot of feature. The size to store, query and transfer all those features configurations through network may be a big performance issue. Luckily, there is another solution for that. In case you store the configuration option per each client, you can describe it as a series of bits similar to the Unix file permission style, 1 for enabled features and 0 for disabled ones. For example

Client Feature1 Feature2 Feature3 Feature4 Result
Client1 1 0 0 1 9
Client2 1 0 0 0 8

The final result stored in database is just one simple int number. It’s much better than storing and array of enabled features. With this solution, one single 8-bit integer can represent up to 8 different feature configurations.

Some Optimizations

Including one extra query to the database per request to check for the enabled feature may not be a good idea. Usually the features don’t change very frequently unless the admin decide to update or release any new feature. It’s better if you can store these information in some caching system like Redis.

2. Frontend Feature toggle with React/Redux

The reason why I mention React and Redux here is because the product that I’m working on currently is a web application built on top of React and Redux.

By applying Higher Order Component concept, it’s very easy for us to dynamically enable/disable specific feature on our web application. The Higher Order Component looks like this

const injectFeature = featureName => WrappedComponent => {

  class InjectFeatureWrapperComponent extends Component {
    // load the feature configuration if not loaded yet
    componentDidMount() {
      if (!this.props.featuresLoaded) {

    render() {
      // inject the feature toggle props into the WrappedComponent
      const { featureEnabled } = this.props;
      const propName = `${featureName}Enabled`;
      const injectedProps = { [propName]: featureEnabled };
      return <WrappedComponent {...this.props} {...injectedProps} />;

  // select the feature configuration from the store
  const mapStateToProps = state => {
    const { featuresLoaded, featureEnabled } = selectFeatureFromStore(
      store, featureName
    return { featuresLoaded, featureEnabled };

  // connect the component to the store
  const HOC = connect(mapStateToProps)(InjectFeatureWrapperComponent);

  return HOC;

In any of your component, to check for a specific feature enabled or not, simply wrap it inside the HOC above

class MyComponent extends Component {
  render() {
    const { sendMailEnabled } = this.props;
    if (!sendMailEnabled) {
      return (
          You are not allow to use this

    return (
        Render Send Mail component here

export default injectFeature('sendMail')(MyComponent);

One cool thing about this is if you are the super admin who updates the feature configurations, you will see your web application “react” to the changes and render the feature immediately without having to reload the whole page.