What Is a Toggle?

April 13, 2023 by No Comments

Togle is a term used to describe switches that have two states, on and off. Toggle switches are found in almost every aspect of computer technology where options or preferences are available.

The term toggle is derived from the 18th century meaning “pin passed through a hole in a rope or fastener.” This word has been adapted to refer to both software and hardware switching, similar to the Caps Lock key on your keyboard which turns one of its functions on and off.

Feature Toggles can be a costly element in any codebase and teams will seek to keep their inventory low. This means they may put a rule in place that requires them to remove a toggle that no longer needs to be there, or even a date that the toggle must be removed by.

Removing toggles is a frequent task for many teams who view Feature Toggles as inventory and try to keep their total number as low as possible. They often rely on static configuration to manage toggles but this can be cumbersome and unreliable when changing configuration at scale.

Dynamic Toggle Configuration – Runtime Changes

A clever way of managing toggle configuration is through a facility that allows the re-configuration of specific service instances at runtime. This is particularly useful when performing Experiment Toggles where it can be a bit fiddly to manually exercise both paths of a toggle switch.

Toggle Labels

The labels on toggle switches should be clear and direct, making it easy for users to understand what the switch is and what state it’s in right now. Use high-contrast colors and state descriptors, such as “on” or “off.”

Adding state descriptors to toggle switches makes them easier to recognize and helps users understand what they’re doing. They’re also useful for visualizing changes to the toggle’s state, such as when the button becomes red after being turned on or a green color when it is off.