How to Use Toggle Feature in Your Application

Toggle is a piece of hardware or software that can be switched between two states. For example, the toggle switch on your laptop or desktop can be used to turn on and off various functions such as the screen display or internet connection. In software, the toggle feature is often found within options menus. This allows users to control what features are enabled and how they’re configured.

Toggles are a great way to experiment with new features before rolling them out broadly. By controlling who sees which features and when, you can test and measure the impact of your work without sacrificing the production experience of your entire user base.

But despite the power of a good toggle, it’s important to use them sparingly. If a toggle spans a wide range of functionality or controls multiple areas of the application, it can be confusing for users and a nightmare to debug weeks or months down the road.

Toggle configuration is usually managed via static files but as the number of toggles grows, modifying these files becomes cumbersome and managing the toggle state across different servers becomes difficult. In response to this, many organizations opt to move their toggle configuration into some form of centralized storage, such as an existing app database. They also build out a front-end admin UI for system operators, testers and product managers to modify the toggle state and configuration.

Choosing the right color for a toggle is critical to making it easy to interpret. A high contrast color will help users easily see whether a toggle is on or off, while adding a descriptive label will make it clear what the toggle is doing. For example, “On” is a very intuitive label for an on/off switch but it might be less obvious for a button that changes the color of an image.

It’s also worth noting that a toggle decision will typically live for only a few days or weeks (although ecommerce toggles may need to be long-lived) while flag decisions will usually be longer-lived and semi-permanent. Therefore, it’s critical to put a lot more effort into the design and implementation of a toggle, compared to a flag. This is especially true for a complex toggle, such as one that determines the route taken by each request. This requires a thorough test case and some time for users to get familiar with the new route. In other words, the toggle must be robust and stable.