What is a Toggle?

A toggle is a switch that can be switched between two states or options. It is commonly used in technology, computing, programming, and user interfaces to provide users with a way to change settings or options quickly and easily. Toggle can also be used as a verb, meaning to flip between two things, like switching between video chats with multiple friends at once.

In coding, toggles are often implemented as conditional statements that flip the state of a variable between true and false when called upon. They can be triggered by a wide range of conditions, including fitness test results from other features in the codebase, a setting in feature management software, or even variables provided by a config file. When a toggle triggers, it changes the state of a variable to either True or False and takes effect immediately.

Feature toggles support agile development and continuous delivery practices by giving teams the ability to release new features without having to create separate code branches. They can hide features behind feature toggles until they are ready for release or market testing, and then the team can release that toggle to a subset of their users to validate how well the new functionality will be received before rolling it out to all users.

Toggles are also useful for enabling users to customize their experience. For example, they can use a toggle to switch between a light or dark theme for the user interface of an application. This gives the user the option to choose which one they prefer for readability or aesthetics.

The term toggle can also be applied to physical objects, like a pin or bolt that is passed transversely through a hole, eye, or loop in a chain or rope, so as to bind it temporarily. It can also be used to describe a rod-shaped button for inserting into a large buttonhole or loop in a cloth, so as to fasten it. The word toggle was first recorded in English in the 18th century. It is a variant of the older word toggled, which meant “to bind with a pin or bolt.” The modern sense of the word originated in the 1930s and has been in usage ever since.