What is a Toggle?
Toggle is a word that describes switching back and forth between settings or programs. For example, you might toggle between Excel and the calculator on a Windows computer while working. Toggle is also a button or switch that turns on or off a device or feature. You can find examples of toggle switches in many types of hardware and software. For example, a toggle switch might be used to turn on a laptop’s touchpad. Toggle can also refer to a method for testing a new or updated version of software.
For instance, a team might choose to test an experimental version of a product with all the features turned off and then activate a few key features before deploying it to production. This process is often referred to as a Champagne Brunch. Similarly, a Permissioning Toggle could be used to enable a feature for a selected cohort of users prior to rolling it out broadly to all customers.
When developing a site it’s important to consider how visitors will interact with content and the best way to structure that content on each page. For example, collapsible toggles and accordions can reduce scrolling on long articles while providing visitors with easy access to the content they need.
Another consideration when designing and building a feature flag system is how the team will manage the inventory of toggle configurations. Savvy teams realize that each toggle comes with a carrying cost in terms of both code and memory and seek to minimize the number of toggles in their production environment. In order to do this many teams will create a task on their backlog for removing toggles once they have been released to production and some will even place an expiration date on toggles so that a release fails (or the app refuses to start) if a toggle has not been flipped back to Off.