Managing Toggle Switch Configuration

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A toggle switch is a button with two positions, on and off. It’s the preferred control for adjusting system settings on mobile because it takes less screen space than a checkbox and has a default state pre-selected for you. However, it’s not as intuitive as other controls like radio buttons and can still cause cognitive issues if your users don’t understand its purpose.

Savvy teams treat their Feature Toggles as inventory that comes with a carrying cost, and they’re proactive in removing toggles when they no longer serve their intended purpose. This can be done by manually adding a task to the backlog or even harder to do, putting an expiration date on the toggle that will fail a test (or even refuse to start the application!) when it isn’t activated.

A more dynamic solution to managing toggle configuration is to use a feature flag system that supports runtime configuration. This could be as simple as using a preprocessor’s #ifdef syntax or as sophisticated as creating an API that allows for a toggle’s configuration to be updated on demand. This type of approach is best suited to Release Toggles since they’re typically short-lived, but it can also be helpful for Permission Toggles and some other categories of Feature Toggles too.