Can Feature Branching Work with CI

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Topic proposed by Kevin Dietz:

For those who missed my talk on feature branches in a continuous integration environment, the consensus seemed to be that you shouldn't do branches unless absolutely necessary because it adds a lot of overhead that isn't worth the benefits in most cases. I'm still curious about the concept of feature branches, however, and I'm wondering if there are ways to improve the current state of the art so that feature branches can exist more peacefully in a continuous integration environment. It could be that my interest in feature branches stems from the phase Timpani Software is in right now with the development of BuildBeat. I've got a lot of major changes I'd like to work on independently. I don't know how long each feature will take, and some of them are a bit experimental and may be abandoned if they don't work out. I just don't want to mix all this stuff up into an unstable trunk. Also, since my team is small, I'm not too concerned about the problems with merging and merge conflicts caused by branching.