LaunchDarkly Developer Documentation

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LaunchDarkly provides feature flags as a service for Java · Python · Ruby · Go · Node.js · PHP · .NET. Control feature launches -- who sees what and when -- without multiple code deploys. Easy dashboard for phased rollouts, targeting and segmenting.
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Python SDK Reference

This reference guide documents all of the methods available in our Python SDK, and explains in detail how these methods work. If you want to dig even deeper, our SDKs are open source-- head to our Python SDK GitHub repository to look under the hood.

Getting started

If you haven't taken a look at our Quickstart guide yet, we recommend starting there to see how install our SDK into your Python application.

Once the SDK is installed, you'll want to configure and initialize the LaunchDarkly client:

ldclient.set_sdk_key("YOUR_SDK_KEY")
ld_client = ldclient.get()

The get() function enforces the singleton pattern- you should only have one instance of the client in your application.

Customizing your client

You can also pass custom parameters to the client by creating a custom configuration object:

ldclient.set_config(Config(sdk_key='YOUR_SDK_KEY', connect_timeout=5))

The Config allows you to specify a variety of options. Most likely the defaults will work just fine. For more details on what is configurable, the source code is your best bet.

Users

Feature flag targeting and rollouts are all determined by the user you pass to your Variation calls. In our Python SDK, users are simply dictionaries. Here's an example:

user = {
  "key": "aa0ceb",
  "firstName": "Ernestina",
  "lastName": "Evans",
  "email": "ernestina@example.com",
  "custom": {
    "groups": ["Google", "Microsoft"]
  }
}

Let's walk through this snippet. The most important attribute is the user key-- in this case we've used the hash "aa0ceb". The user key is the only mandatory user attribute. The key should also uniquely identify each user. You can use a primary key, an e-mail address, or a hash, as long as the same user always has the same key. We recommend using a hash if possible.

All of the other attributes (like firstName, email, and the custom attributes) are optional. The attributes you specify will automatically appear on our dashboard, meaning that you can start segmenting and targeting users with these attributes.

Besides the key, LaunchDarkly supports the following attributes at the "top level". Remember, all of these are optional:

  • ip: Must be an IP address. If you provide an IP, LaunchDarkly will use a geolocation service to automatically infer a country for the user (unless you've already specified one).
  • firstName: Must be a string. If you provide a first name, you can search for users on the Users page by name.
  • lastName: Must be a string. If you provide a last name, you can search for users on the Users page by name.
  • country: Must be a string representing the country associated with the user.
  • email: Must be a string representing the user's e-mail address. If an avatar URL is not provided, we'll use Gravatar to try to display an avatar for the user on the Users page.
  • avatar: Must be an absolute URL to an avatar image for the user.
  • name: Must be a string. You can search for users on the User page by name
  • anonymous: Must be a boolean. See the section below on anonymous users for more details.

In addition to built-in attributes, you can pass us any of your own user data by passing custom attributes, like the groups attribute in the example above.

A note on types

Most of our built-in attributes (like names and e-mail addresses) expect string values. Custom attribute values can be strings, booleans (like True or False), numbers, or lists of strings, booleans or numbers.

If you enter a custom value on our dashboard that looks like a number or a boolean, it'll be interpreted that way.

Custom attributes are one of the most powerful features of LaunchDarkly. They let you target users according to any data that you want to send to us-- organizations, groups, account plans-- anything you pass to us becomes available instantly on our dashboard.

Anonymous users

You can also distinguish logged-in users from anonymous users in the SDK, as follows:

user = {"key":"aa0ceb", "anonymous": True}

You will still need to generate a unique key for anonymous users-- session IDs or UUIDs work best for this.

Anonymous users work just like regular users, except that they won't appear on your Users page in LaunchDarkly. You also can't search for anonymous users on your Features page, and you can't search or autocomplete by anonymous user keys. This is actually a good thing-- it keeps anonymous users from polluting your Users page!

Variation

The variation method determines which variation of a feature flag a user receives.

ldclient.get().variation("your.feature.key", user, False)

variation calls take the feature flag key, an LDUser, and a default value.

The default value will only be returned if an error is encountered-- for example, if the feature flag key doesn't exist or the user doesn't have a key specified.

The variation call will automatically create a user in LaunchDarkly if a user with that user key doesn't exist already. There's no need to create users ahead of time (but if you do need to, take a look at Identify).

Track

The track method allows you to record actions your users take on your site. This lets you record events that take place on your server. In LaunchDarkly, you can tie these events to goals in A/B tests. Here's a simple example:

ldclient.get().track("Signed up", user)

You can also attach an extra dictionary containing arbitrary data to your event:

ldclient.get().track("Completed purchase", user, {"price": 320})

Identify

The identify method creates or updates users on LaunchDarkly, making them available for targeting and autocomplete on the dashboard. In most cases, you won't need to call identify-- the variation call will automatically create users on the dashboard for you. identify can be useful if you want to pre-populate your dashboard before launching any features.

ldclient.get().identify(user)

All Flags

Creating users

Note that unlike variation and identify calls, all_flags does not send events to LaunchDarkly. Thus, users are not created or updated in the LaunchDarkly dashboard.

The all_flags method produces a dictionary of feature flag keys to their values for a specific user.

This method can be useful for passing feature flags to your front-end. In particular, it can be used to provide bootstrap flag settings for our JavaScript SDK.

ldclient.get().all_flags(user)

Secure mode hash

The SecureModeHash method computes an HMAC signature of a user signed with the client's SDK key. If you're using our JavaScript SDK for client-side flags, this method generates the signature you need for secure mode.

ldclient.get().secure_mode_hash(user)

Offline mode

In some situations, you might want avoid remote calls to LaunchDarkly and fall back to default values for your feature flags. For example, if your software is both cloud-hosted and distributed to customers to run on premise, it might make sense to fall back to defaults when running on premise. You can do this by setting offline mode in the client's Config.

# Initialization:
ldclient.config = Config(offline = True)
ldclient.sdk_key = "YOUR_SDK_KEY"

ldclient.get().variation("any.feature.flag", user, False) # will always return the default value (false)

Flush

Internally, the LaunchDarkly SDK keeps an event buffer for variation, track, and identify calls. These are flushed periodically in a background thread. In some situations (for example, if you're testing out the SDK in a REPL), you may want to manually call flush to process events immediately. Otherwise Python may close before flushing the event buffer and your user changes and tracks will not be lost.

ldclient.get().flush()

Note that the flush interval is configurable-- if you need to change the interval, you can do so when configuring your client instance.

Close

Close safely shuts down the client instance and releases all resources associated with the client. In most long-running applications, you should not have to call close.

ldclient.get().close()

Configuring uWSGI

The LaunchDarkly SDK is compatible with uWSGI. However, in uWSGI environments, the SDK requires the enable-threads option to be set.

Logging

The Python SDK uses Python's built-in logging library. All loggers are namespaced under ldclient.util. For an example configuration check out the hello-python project.

Be aware of two considerations when enabling the DEBUG log level:

  1. Debug-level logs can be very verbose. It is not recommended that you turn on debug logging in high-volume environments.
  2. Potentially sensitive information is logged including LaunchDarkly users created by you in your usage of this SDK.

Redis

The Python SDK provides an option to use Redis as a persistent store of feature flag configurations. Here's an example client configuration hooked up to a Redis instance:

host = "redis://localhost:6379/0"
store = RedisFeatureStore(url=host)

ldclient.config = Config(feature_store = store)
ldclient.sdk_key = "YOUR_SDK_KEY"

Configuration options (passed in as parameters to RedisFeatureStore):

Parameter
Description

url

Host url of the Redis instance. Defaults to redis://localhost:6379/0

prefix

Configures the namespace prefix for all keys stored in Redis. Defaults to launchdarkly.

max_connections

Limits the number of connections to redis. Defaults to 16 connection.

expiration

Specifies an expiry time for cached feature flag configurations. Defaults to 15 seconds.

capacity

Specifies a maximum number of feature flags to cache. Only used if expiration > 0. Defaults to 1000 flags.

Python SDK Reference