Monthly Archives: November 2011

Do you need Xaas?

Is Xaas is a dangerous delusion?  I had intended to label this little piece of commentary, ‘Why the details matter far more than you realise’, but I digress.

In the increasingly technical world in which we live and work, I see a growing tendency for broad brush stroke explanations being used to obfuscate detail involved in the running and maintenance of services we are beginning to consider to be ubiquitously available.

It started with email, website hosting, and more recently I’ve begun to notice the creep into both storage and database deployment [Saas, PaaS, IaaS, etc.].

One possible argument in support of this entails statements such as, ‘this is an indicator of maturing technology’ or ‘ it’s commoditisation of expertise’, wherein the proponent often asserts that implementation, and management are ‘easy’. What you can’t really get away from is the need to have someone sufficiently skilled at understanding how to integrate your operations into the Xaas product in question.

Assisting in driving this trend are the technology companies who seem to have re-invented all manner of things ‘as-a-service’, the Xaas sales people are running exactly these lines today.

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Feature branches vs. feature toggles

Having recently been exposed to several presentations and articles aggressively touting the superiority of feature toggles over feature branches, I decided to examine the two techniques a little more closely.

Defining terms: feature branch and feature toggle

A feature branch is a fork in the history of a codebase allowing concurrent development of different features on different version control system (VCS) branches. A feature toggle is a conditional statement that enables or disables a particular feature. All feature development is conducted on mainline, and when features are ready to be deployed the toggle is changed to enable the feature.

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