What Is a Toggle?

A Toggle is a feature that enables teams to implement new features in small, controlled groups of users before rolling them out to everyone. This allows them to gather real-time feedback from the people who use the products and services they create. This can help improve customer engagement and drive product adoption, as well as reduce risk when releasing new features.

This is a great way for DevOps teams to manage and monitor their releases. They can track how their changes affect their customers and identify any issues early on. This can save time, resources, and money in the long run, as they don’t need to spend hours redeploying, testing, and fixing problems after all the work is complete.

Toggles are not only a great way to streamline release processes, but they can also help you collect and analyze data to gain insights into your products and services. Using this data can help you make better decisions, increase the speed of your product development process, and boost your team’s productivity.

A toggle is a point where code execution branches in one direction or the other based on a condition. This condition can be anything from a simple “if” statement to complex decision trees that act upon many different variables. In addition, the condition can be triggered by a wide range of things such as fitness test results from other features in your codebase, a setting in your feature management software, or even an input parameter passed to your system.

Using feature toggles can be quite a bit more complicated than implementing a regular branching model. To make sure you don’t end up with a confusing, over-configured mess, you need to follow certain best practices to ensure that your toggles are properly implemented.

First, you should limit the number of toggles in any given release. This will prevent you from over-configuring the system and potentially introducing bugs. In general, you should try to keep the amount of functionality that can be governed by a single toggle to a maximum of three or four features at most.

It is also important to test your toggle configurations before releasing them. Typically this means testing the current production toggle configuration as well as any that you expect to release with the toggles flipped On. Additionally, it can be helpful to test the fallback configuration where existing or legacy behavior is enabled.

Finally, you should use high-contrast colors to signal the toggle state to your users. This will ensure that they can easily understand whether a toggle is on or off. Also, be sure to consider any societal or cultural implications that the color choice may have for your audience.

Toggle management is a vital part of any DevOps toolkit. Toggles are an excellent way to support your teams as they write new features, enabling trunk-based development and allowing you to practice continuous delivery. By following these best practices, you can avoid the pitfalls of overusing feature toggles and get the most out of them.