A toggle is a switch that allows you to change between two states, on or off. It’s similar to the caps lock key on a keyboard, which turns on or off certain functions when you press it.
In computing toggles are used to control settings, preferences, or other information that needs to be changed by the user. They should be simple to use and clearly identify the setting, view, or content they affect.
The best way to avoid confusion with toggle switches is to design them like sliders, and use visual cues (like movement or color) to help users know what they’re doing when they click or press the switch. It’s also a good idea to include state descriptors, such as “On” or “Off,” to provide a clear visual signal for what is happening when a toggle switch changes from one state to the next.
Using Toggle Configuration
A common approach for managing toggle configuration is to put it into static files. However, this can become cumbersome if you have a large number of servers or if you need to make many changes to configuration over time.
Ideally, you would want to keep toggle configuration in some sort of distributed store or database which allows dynamic re-configuration of feature flags. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, from basic commenting to sophisticated hardcoding.
Savvy teams also understand the need to periodically remove Feature Toggles that no longer need to be around, either because they are no longer needed or because they have reached their ‘expiration date’. This helps to keep the toggle inventory to a reasonable size and also minimizes the need for manual re-configuration of toggles during automated testing.