Switchboard is elementary's hub for system-wide and user-wide global settings. Settings are grouped by purpose into a single graphical display called a plug. Individual plugs are further grouped into categories. The metadata about these plugs is supplied by the plug developer in a text file format that Switchboard can understand. Switchboard consists of three distinct components:
A graphical, user-facing application that gathers and sorts all of the plugs, based on their identification and allows the user to select and interact with them.
An API that enables third-party developers, as well as internal elementary developers to create plugs usable by Switchboard.
A standard for writing plugs, properly describing them, and putting them in the appropriate location.