Feature flags

Introduced in GitLab 11.4.

Feature flags are toggles that allow you to enable or disable specific features. These flags are typically used:

  • For beta features that are made available for volunteers to test, but that are not ready to be enabled for all users.

    Beta features are sometimes incomplete or need further testing. A user who wants to use a beta feature can choose to accept the risk and explicitly enable the feature with a feature flag. Other users who do not need the feature or who are not willing to accept the risk on their system have the feature disabled by default and are not impacted by possible bugs and regressions.

  • For breaking changes that result in functionality deprecation or feature removal in the near future.

    As the product evolves, features are sometimes changed or removed entirely. Known bugs are often fixed, but in some cases, users have already found a workaround for a bug that affected them; forcing users to adopt the standardized bug fix might cause other problems with their customized configurations.

    In such cases, the feature flag is used to switch from the old behavior to the new one on demand. This allows users to adopt new versions of the product while giving them time to plan for a smooth, permanent transition from the old behavior to the new behavior.

Feature flags are toggled using environment variables. To:

  • Activate a feature flag, set the corresponding environment variable to true or 1.
  • Deactivate a feature flag, set the corresponding environment variable to false or 0.

Available feature flags

Feature flagDefault valueDeprecatedTo be removed withDescription
FF_CMD_DISABLE_DELAYED_ERROR_LEVEL_EXPANSIONfalse Disables EnableDelayedExpansion for error checking for when using Window Batch shell
FF_USE_LEGACY_BUILDS_DIR_FOR_DOCKERfalse12.7Disables the new strategy for Docker executor to cache the content of /builds directory instead of /builds/group-org
FF_USE_LEGACY_VOLUMES_MOUNTING_ORDERfalse12.6Disables the new ordering of volumes mounting when docker* executors are being used.