BooleanSwitch Class
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BooleanSwitch Class


Provides a simple on/off switch that controls debugging and tracing output.

Namespace:   System.Diagnostics
Assembly:  System (in System.dll)


public class BooleanSwitch : Switch

System_CAPS_pubmethodBooleanSwitch(String, String)

Initializes a new instance of the BooleanSwitch class with the specified display name and description.

System_CAPS_pubmethodBooleanSwitch(String, String, String)

Initializes a new instance of the BooleanSwitch class with the specified display name, description, and default switch value.


Gets the custom switch attributes defined in the application configuration file.(Inherited from Switch.)


Gets a description of the switch.(Inherited from Switch.)


Gets a name used to identify the switch.(Inherited from Switch.)


Gets or sets a value indicating whether the switch is enabled or disabled.


Gets or sets the current setting for this switch.(Inherited from Switch.)


Gets or sets the value of the switch.(Inherited from Switch.)


Determines whether the specified object is equal to the current object.(Inherited from Object.)


Allows an object to try to free resources and perform other cleanup operations before it is reclaimed by garbage collection.(Inherited from Object.)


Serves as the default hash function. (Inherited from Object.)


Gets the custom attributes supported by the switch.(Inherited from Switch.)


Gets the Type of the current instance.(Inherited from Object.)


Creates a shallow copy of the current Object.(Inherited from Object.)


Invoked when the SwitchSetting property is changed.(Inherited from Switch.)


Determines whether the new value of the Value property can be parsed as a Boolean value.(Overrides Switch.OnValueChanged().)


Returns a string that represents the current object.(Inherited from Object.)

You can use a Boolean trace switch to enable or disable messages based on their importance. Use the Enabled property to get the current value of the switch.

You can enable or disable a BooleanSwitch through the application configuration file and then use the configured BooleanSwitch value in your application. Alternately, you can create a BooleanSwitch in your code and set the Enabled property directly to instrument a specific section of code.

To configure a BooleanSwitch, edit the configuration file that corresponds to the name of your application. Within this file, you can add or remove a switch, set a switch's value, or clear all the switches previously set by the application. The configuration file should be formatted like the following example.

      <add name="mySwitch" value="1"/>

This example configuration section defines a BooleanSwitch with the DisplayName property set to mySwitch and the Enabled value set to true. Within your application, you can use the configured switch value by creating a BooleanSwitch with the same name, as shown in the following code example.

private static BooleanSwitch boolSwitch = new BooleanSwitch("mySwitch",
    "Switch in config file");

public static void Main( )
    Console.WriteLine("Boolean switch {0} configured as {1}",
        boolSwitch.DisplayName, boolSwitch.Enabled.ToString());
    if (boolSwitch.Enabled)

By default, the Enabled property is set using the value specified in the configuration file. Configure the switch with a value of 0 to set the Enabled property to false; configure the switch with a nonzero value to set the Enabled property to true. If the BooleanSwitch constructor cannot find initial switch settings in the configuration file, the Enabled property of the new switch is set to false by default.

You must enable tracing or debugging to use a switch. The following syntax is compiler specific. If you use compilers other than C# or Visual Basic, refer to the documentation for your compiler.

  • To enable debugging in C#, add the /d:DEBUG flag to the compiler command line when you compile your code, or you can add #define DEBUG to the top of your file. In Visual Basic, add the /d:DEBUG=True flag to the compiler command line.

  • To enable tracing in C#, add the /d:TRACE flag to the compiler command line when you compile your code, or add #define TRACE to the top of your file. In Visual Basic, add the /d:TRACE=True flag to the compiler command line.


These debug and trace compiler switches are not required when using the BooleanSwitch class in isolation. They are only required in conjunction with Trace or Debug methods that are conditionally compiled.

For more information on instrumenting your application, see Debug and Trace. For more information about configuring and using trace switches, see Trace Switches.


To improve performance, you can make BooleanSwitch members static in your class.

The following example creates a BooleanSwitch and uses the switch to determine whether to print an error message. You create the switch at the class level. The Main method passes its location to MyMethod, which prints an error message and where the error occurred.

// Class level declaration.
/* Create a BooleanSwitch for data.*/
static BooleanSwitch dataSwitch = new BooleanSwitch("Data", "DataAccess module");

static public void MyMethod(string location) {
   //Insert code here to handle processing.
      Console.WriteLine("Error happened at " + location);

public static void Main(string[] args) {
   //Run the method which writes an error message specifying the location of the error.
   MyMethod("in Main");

.NET Framework
Available since 1.1

Any public static (Shared in Visual Basic) members of this type are thread safe. Any instance members are not guaranteed to be thread safe.

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