What Is a Togle?

The word toggle has a long history, originally denoting a pin passed through the eye of a rope to fasten it. Today, it is most often used to describe a switch with two positions: on or off. Feature toggles are the digital equivalent, providing a flexible way to implement and test new software features.

Feature toggles are an important tool in modern agile development processes. They allow developers to release features while a code sprint is in progress and avoid the need for more traditional code branches. This helps teams work faster and reduces the risk of merge conflicts on Github.

They are useful for implementing features like user authentication, data visualizations, or new interface designs. They can also be used to enable or disable premium features for paid users. In this way, a toggle can act as a circuit breaker for the application, disabling non-essential features during high load times or when an app is running slow.

A toggle switch should be clearly labeled to indicate what it will do when pressed. It should also be visually striking so that users can quickly understand the state of the switch. For example, using a high-contrast color for the on position (like red) can help distinguish it from the off position (like green). It’s also a good idea to include state descriptors on the toggle to clarify its behavior for users with a variety of backgrounds.

When a team is ready to deploy a toggle to production, they need to ensure the correct configuration is tested before releasing it. This includes testing all the toggles that they intend to have flipped On and testing the fallback configuration with any toggles that are not slated for release flipped Off.