How Toggles Are Used in Software Development


A toggle is a switch between two settings, usually on and off. We use them in almost every aspect of our daily lives to change between different behaviors, settings and programs. For example, when navigating the web, we often toggle between stream and map views of a website to see the most relevant information without getting lost. Toggles are also used in software development to implement continuous delivery and to test features with a limited segment of users before full rollout.

There are a number of ways to create and manage toggle configuration in your application. These range from very simple approaches which are static and not dynamic at all through to more sophisticated approaches which can be very dynamic but still require the ability to follow a deployment pattern to re-configure toggles.

A basic way to use toggles is by hardcoding them in the code of your application. This can be done by placing a Boolean variable in your program, setting that variable to a value which represents the toggle state and then when you want to change the state of the toggle you can do so by updating the value of the variable in the code.

A more advanced method of using toggles is to store the configuration for your toggles in a centralized location. This can be in the form of a database, a dedicated configuration server or even in your existing application DB. By managing toggle configuration in this manner it becomes much easier to make changes consistently and at a high level of granularity.