No results for ""
EXPAND ALL
  • Home
  • API docs

GIVE DOCS FEEDBACK

Subscribing to flag changes

Read time: 16 minutes
Last edited: May 30, 2024

Overview

This topic explains how to configure each SDK to allow applications to subscribe to flag change notifications. This feature is available for client-side and server-side SDKs.

Newer versions of LaunchDarkly SDKs replace users with contexts

A context is a generalized way of referring to the people, services, machines, or other resources that encounter feature flags in your product. Contexts replace another data object in LaunchDarkly: "users." To learn more, read Contexts.

Creating contexts and evaluating flags based on them is supported in the latest major versions of most of our SDKs. For these SDKs, the code samples on this page include the two most recent versions.

Subscribe to flag change notifications

Flag change notifications allow your application to react to and consider flag changes immediately instead of waiting for your code to re-evaluate a flag. Some common use cases include updating content as part of a promotion, enabling/disabling feature code paths efficiently, showing outage bulletins to end users, and granting entitlements to groups of end users.

Use caution if you use a flag change notification to trigger an identify call as this could lead to an infinite loop where the flag changes the context, which changes the flag, and on and on. For example, you may include additional application information if a flag is true, but you will need to make sure that the inclusion of that information does not cause the flag to toggle.

Details about each SDK's configuration are available in the SDK-specific sections below.

  • Client-side SDKs
  • Server-side SDKs

Client-side SDKs

This feature is available in the following client-side SDKs:

.NET (client-side)

Expand .NET (client-side) code sample

The client uses an event pattern which allows your app to subscribe to feature flag changes in real time.

To subscribe to feature flag changes, register listeners for change events from the SDK:

client.FlagTracker.FlagChanged += (sender, eventArgs) => {
if (eventArgs.Key == "key-for-flag-i-am-watching") {
DoSomethingWithNewFlagValue(eventArgs.NewBoolValue);
}
};

To learn more, read IFlagTracker.

Android

Expand Android code sample

The client uses a listener pattern which allows your app to subscribe to feature flag changes in real time.

To subscribe to feature flag changes, register listeners for change events from the SDK:

String flagKey = "yourFlagKey";
FeatureFlagChangeListener listener = new FeatureFlagChangeListener() {
@Override
public void onFeatureFlagChange(String flagKey) {
boolean newValue = LDClient.get().boolVariation(flagKey, false);
}
};
LDClient.get().registerFeatureFlagListener(flagKey, listener);

The flag key passed to onFeatureFlagChange is the key of the updated flag, which lets a single listener be registered for multiple flags.

You can also disable listeners by unregistering them:

LDClient.get().unregisterFeatureFlagListener(flagKey, listener);

Availability

These calls have been available since v2.8.0:

  • LDAllFlagsListener
  • LDClient.registerAllFlagsListener
  • LDClient.unregisterAllFlagsListener

Additionally, we provide an update listener interface for when you want to be notified when the flag cache is updated. The application provides a class implementing LDAllFlagsListener which provides the SDK with the method onChange. Whenever the SDK's flag cache is updated, it calls the onChange method with a list of flag keys for flags that were updated during the update to the flag cache. If no flag values changed, this list is empty.

Here is an example:

LDAllFlagsListener listener = new LDAllFlagsListener() {
@Override
public void onChange(List<String> flagKeys) {
// Get new values for flagKeys or other operations
}
};
// register all flags listener
LDClient.get().registerAllFlagsListener(listener);
// when done with all flags listener it should be unregistered
LDClient.get().unregisterAllFlagsListener(listener);

C++ (client-side)

Expand C++ (client-side) code sample

The client exposes an interface which allows your app to subscribe to feature flag changes in real time.

To subscribe to feature flag changes, register listeners for change events from the SDK:

auto listener = client.FlagNotifier().OnFlagChange("flag-key-123abc", [](auto event) {
if (event->Deleted()) {
std::cout << "The flag was deleted" << std::endl;
} else {
std::cout << "The flag was " << event->OldValue() << " and now it is " << event->NewValue() << std::endl;
}
});
/* Then, you can disconnect the listener later */
listener->Disconnect();

If you are working in C, there are a few more steps:

  1. Define a callback to receive the flag change notification:

    void OnFlagChange(char const* flag_key,
    LDValue new_value,
    LDValue old_value,
    bool deleted,
    void* user_data) {
    if (deleted) {
    printf("The flag %s was deleted\n", flag_key);
    } else {
    printf("The flag %s was updated\n", flag_key);
    }
    }
  2. Assign the callback by creating a listener connection:

    struct LDFlagListener listener;
    LDFlagListener_Init(listener);
    listener.FlagChanged = OnFlagChange;
    /* You may optionally assign the UserData pointer, which will be passed into FlagChanged. */
    /* listener.UserData = &some_struct; */
    LDListenerConnection connection =
    LDClientSDK_FlagNotifier_OnFlagChange(sdk, "flag-key-123abc", listener);
    /* You can disconnect the listener later */
    LDListenerConnection_Disconnect(connection);
  3. Ensure the connection is freed when you are done with it:

    LDListenerConnection_Free(connection);

To learn more, read FlagNotifier.

Electron

Expand Electron code sample

The client uses an event emitter pattern which allows your app to subscribe to feature flag changes in real time.

To subscribe to feature flag changes, register listeners for change events from the SDK:

client.on('update:flag-key-123abc', (newValue, oldValue) => {
console.log('The flag was ' + oldValue + ' and now it is ' + newValue);
});

Or, you can listen for all feature flag changes:

client.on('update', (allFlagChanges) => {
Object.keys(allFlagChanges).forEach((key) => {
console.log('Flag ' + key + ' is now ' + allFlagChanges[key]);
});
});

Subscribing to change events automatically turns on streaming mode, unless you have explicitly set streaming to false.

Flutter

Expand Flutter code sample

The client uses an observer pattern which allows your app to subscribe to feature flag changes in real time.

To subscribe to feature flag changes, register listeners for change events from the SDK:

final sub = client.flagChanges.listen((changeEvent) {
for(var flagKey in changeEvent.keys) {
print(client.jsonVariation(flagKey, LDValue.ofString('default')));
}
});

flagChanges is a stream that emits all flag changes, so you can use a single listener for multiple flags.

You can disable listeners by unregistering them:

sub.cancel();

You can also use flagChanges if you want to be notified any time the flag cache is updated. The application provides a callback that is activated whenever the SDK receives new flag data from the service. It calls with a list of flag keys that were updated. If no flag values changed, this list is empty.

To learn more, read flagChanges.

iOS

Expand iOS code sample

The client uses an observer pattern which allows your app to subscribe to feature flag changes in real time. To subscribe to feature flag changes, register listeners for change events from the SDK.

The SDK provides methods for listening to a single flag, all flags, or no change to any flag. observeFlagsUnchanged is called when the SDK successfully receives an update or comes back online but no flags have changed. If the value of the flag changes, the method executes the handler. It passes in the changedFlag containing the old and new flag values, and old and new flag value source.

The SDK retains only weak references to the owner, which lets the client app freely destroy owners without issues. Client apps should use a capture list specifying [weak self] inside handlers to avoid retain cycles causing a memory leak.

The SDK executes handlers on the main thread. LDChangedFlag does not know the type of oldValue or newValue. The client app should cast the value into the type needed.

LDObserverOwner Lifecycle

The lifetime of the LDObserverOwner must extend for at least as long as you want to receive flag change notifications.

To configure the client:

let flagKey = "flag-key-123abc"
let flagObserverOwner = flagKey as LDObserverOwner
let client = LDClient.get()!
client.observe(keys: [flagKey], owner: flagObserverOwner, handler: { changedFlags in
if changedFlags[flagKey] != nil {
// Your code here
}
})
client.stopObserving(owner: flagObserverOwner)
client.observeFlagsUnchanged(owner: self) {
client.stopObserving(owner: self as LDObserverOwner)
}
client.observeAll(owner: self) {_ in
client.stopObserving(owner: self as LDObserverOwner)
}

JavaScript

Expand JavaScript code sample

The client uses an event emitter pattern which allows your app to subscribe to feature flag changes in real time.

To subscribe to all feature flag changes, register listeners for change events from the SDK:

client.on('change', (settings) => {
console.log('flags changed:', settings);
});

The settings object contains a map of updated feature flag keys and values. The map only contains the keys to flags that have changed. You can also subscribe to specific flags.

Here's how:

client.on('change:flag-key-123abc', (value, previous) => {
console.log('flag-key-123abc changed:', value, '(' + previous + ')');
});

Node.js (client-side)

Expand Node.js (client-side) code sample

The client uses an event emitter pattern which allows your app to subscribe to feature flag changes in real time.

To subscribe to all feature flag changes, register listeners for change events from the SDK:

client.on('change', allChanges => {
console.log('flags changed:', JSON.stringify(allChanges));
});

The allChanges object contains a map of updated feature flag keys and values. The map only contains the keys to flags that have changed. You can also subscribe to specific flags.

Here's how:

client.on('change:flag-key-123abc', (value, previous) => {
console.log('flag-key-123abc changed:', value, '(was ' + previous + ')');
});

React Native

Expand React Native code sample

The client uses an event emitter pattern which allows your app to subscribe to feature flag changes in real time. The available event types include error and change.

To subscribe to all feature flag changes, register listeners for change events from the SDK. Here's how:

const changeHandler = (context: LDContext, changedKeys: string[]) => {
console.log('listening to change');
};
client.on('change', changeHandler);

You can also disable listeners by unregistering them:

const changeHandler = (context: LDContext, changedKeys: string[]) => {
console.log('listening to change');
};
client.off('change', changeHandler);

To learn more, read on and off.

Server-side SDKs

This feature is available in the following server-side SDKs:

.NET (server-side)

Expand .NET (server-side) code sample
This feature is not available in all SDK versions

The .NET SDK only supports subscribing to flag changes in versions 6.0.0 and higher.

The SDK provides an event-based mechanism to notify you when flag configurations change. LDClient.FlagTracker returns an interface for this mechanism, IFlagTracker.

Any event handler that you add to the IFlagTracker.FlagChanged event will be called with a FlagChangeEvent whenever there is a change in any feature flag's configuration, or in anything else that could indirectly affect the flag value, such as a prerequisite flag or a segment that the flag uses.

The event data consists only of the flag key. It does not contain a flag value, because in server-side SDKs, there is no such thing as a flag value except when it is evaluated for a specific context.

The listener method is called synchronously from a background task.

Here's how:

void LogWheneverAnyFlagChanges(LdClient client) {
client.FlagTracker.FlagChanged += (sender, event) =>
{
Console.WriteLine("Flag \"{0}\" has changed", event.Key);
};
}

To listen for changes in flag values for a specific flag key and context, use IFlagTracker.FlagValueChangeHandler(). It calls your code with a FlagValueChangeEvent. This is equivalent to re-evaluating the flag for that context whenever there is a change in that flag. Because flag values can have different data types, the value is reported using the general type LdValue.

void LogWheneverOneFlagChangesForOneContext(LdClient client, string flagKey, Context context) {
client.FlagTracker.FlagChanged += client.FlagTracker.FlagValueChangeHandler(
flagKey,
context,
(sender, event) =>
{
Console.WriteLine(
"Flag \"{0}\" for context \"{1}\" has changed from {2} to {3}",
flagKey,
context.Key,
event.OldValue,
event.NewValue
);
});
}

Go

Expand Go code sample
This feature is not available in all SDKs or versions

The Go SDK only supports subscribing to flag changes in versions 5.0.0 and higher.

The Go SDK provides a channel-based mechanism to notify you when flag configurations change. The LDClient.GetFlagTracker() method returns an interface for this mechanism called FlagTracker.

Calling GetFlagTracker().AddFlagChangeListener() provides a channel that receives a FlagChangeEvent whenever there is a change in any feature flag's configuration. These changes include anything that could indirectly affect the flag value, such as a prerequisite flag or a segment that the flag uses.

The event data consists only of the flag key. It does not contain a flag value, because in server-side SDKs, flags only have values when they are evaluated for a specific evaluation context.

import (
"log"
ld "github.com/launchdarkly/go-server-sdk/v6"
)
func logWheneverAnyFlagChanges(client *ld.LDClient) {
updateCh := client.GetFlagTracker().AddFlagChangeListener()
go func() {
for event := range updateCh {
log.Printf("Flag %q has changed", event.Key)
}
}()
}

To listen for changes in flag values for a specific flag key and context, use GetFlagTracker().AddFlagValueChangeListener(), which provides FlagValueChangeEvents. This is equivalent to re-evaluating the flag for that context whenever AddFlagChangeListener() reports a change in that flag. Because flag values can have different data types, the value is reported using the general type ldvalue.Value.

import (
"log"
ld "github.com/launchdarkly/go-server-sdk/v6"
"github.com/launchdarkly/go-sdk-common/v3/ldcontext"
"github.com/launchdarkly/go-sdk-common/v3/ldvalue"
)
func logWheneverOneFlagChangesForOneUser(client *ld.LDClient, flagKey string, context ldcontext.Context) {
updateCh := client.GetFlagTracker().AddFlagValueChangeListener(flagKey, context, ldvalue.Null())
go func() {
for event := range updateCh {
log.Printf("Flag %q for context %q has changed from %s to %s", event.Key,
context.Key(), event.OldValue, event.NewValue)
}
}()
}

With both of these methods, it is the caller's responsibility to consume values from the channel. Letting values accumulate in the channel can cause an SDK goroutine to be blocked.

Java

Expand Java code sample
This feature is not available in all SDK versions

The Java SDK only supports subscribing to flag changes in versions 5.0.0 and higher.

The SDK provides a listener-based mechanism to notify you when flag configurations change. The LDClient.getFlagTracker() method returns an interface for this mechanism, FlagTracker.

Calling getFlagTracker().addFlagChangeListener calls your listener with a FlagChangeEvent whenever there is a change in any feature flag's configuration, or in anything else that could indirectly affect the flag value, such as a prerequisite flag or a user segment that the flag uses.

The event data consists only of the flag key. It does not contain a flag value, because in server-side SDKs, there is no such thing as a flag value except when it is evaluated for a specific set of user properties.

The listener method is called from a worker thread.

Here's how:

void logWheneverAnyFlagChanges(LDClient client) {
client.getFlagTracker().addFlagChangeListener(event -> {
System.out.printf("Flag \"%s\" has changed\n", event.getKey());
});
}

To listen for changes in flag values for a specific flag key and context, use getFlagTracker().addFlagValueChangeListener, which provides FlagValueChangeEvents. This is equivalent to re-evaluating the flag for that context whenever addFlagChangeListener() reports a change in that flag. Because flag values can have different data types, the value is reported using the general type LDValue.

void logWheneverOneFlagChangesForOneContext(LDClient client, string flagKey, LDContext context) {
client.getFlagTracker().addFlagValueChangeListener(flagKey, context, event -> {
System.out.printf("Flag \"%s\" for context \"%s\" has changed from %s to %s\n", event.getKey(),
context.getKey(), event.getOldValue(), event.getNewValue());
});
}

Node.js (server-side)

Expand Node.js (server-side) code sample

The SDK provides an event-based mechanism to notify you when flag configurations change.

For example, imagine you have a feature flag named flag-key-123abc. If the SDK detects a change in flag-key-123abc's configuration, or in anything else that could indirectly affect the flag value, such as a prerequisite flag or a user segment that flag-key-123abc uses, it emits two events.

These events are:

  • "update" and
  • "update:flag-key-123abc"

You can listen for "update:flag-key-123abc" if you only want to know about updates affecting that flag specifically, or "update" if you want to be notified about all updates.

For both of these event kinds, an extra parameter is sent to event listeners. This object has the single property key, with its value set to the flag key. If you listened for the general "update" event, this lets you know which flag changed.

The event parameter does not contain the flag value. In server-side SDKs, there is no such thing as a flag value except when it is evaluated for a specific set of user properties.

To find out what the effect, if any, of the configuration change was, call variation() after receiving an update event.

Here is an example:

client.on('update', (param) => {
console.log('a flag was changed: ' + param.key);
});
client.on('update:flag-key-123abc', () => {
console.log('the flag-key-123abc flag was changed');
});

Python

Expand Python code sample
This feature is not available in all SDK versions

The Python SDK only supports subscribing to flag changes in versions 9.1.0 and higher.

The SDK provides a listener-based mechanism to notify you when flag configurations change. The LDClient#flag_tracker method returns an interface for this mechanism, FlagTracker.

Calling flag_tracker.add_listener calls your listener with a FlagChange event whenever there is a change to any of the following:

  • the flag's configuration
  • the prerequisite flag's configuration
  • a segment used by the flag

The event data consists only of the flag key. It does not contain a flag value, because server-side SDKs only evaluate flags when you provide a specific context.

The listener method is called from the caller's thread.

Here's how:

def flag_change_listener(flag_change):
print(f"{flag_change.key} has changed")
listener = ldclient.get().flag_tracker.add_listener(flag_change_listener)

To listen for changes in flag values for a specific flag key and context, use flag_tracker.add_flag_value_change_listener, which provides FlagValueChange events. This is equivalent to re-evaluating the flag for that context whenever add_listener reports a change in that flag.

def flag_value_change_listener(flag_change):
print(f"{flag_change.key} has changed from {flag_change.old_value} to {flag_change.new_value}")
listener = ldclient.get().flag_tracker.add_flag_value_change_listener('example-flag-key', context, flag_value_change_listener)

Ruby

Expand Ruby code sample
This feature is not available in all SDK versions

The Ruby SDK only supports subscribing to flag changes in versions 7.2.0 and higher.

The SDK provides a listener-based mechanism to notify you when flag configurations change. The LDClient#flag_tracker method returns an interface for this mechanism, FlagTracker.

Calling flag_tracker.add_listener calls your listener with a FlagChange event whenever there is a change to any of the following:

  • the flag's configuration
  • the prerequisite flag's configuration
  • a segment used by the flag

The event data consists only of the flag key. It does not contain a flag value, because server-side SDKs only evaluate flags when you provide a specific context.

The listener method is called from a worker thread.

Here's how:

class Listener
def update(status)
puts "Flag #{status.key} has changed"
end
end
client.flag_tracker.add_listener(Listener.new)

To listen for changes in flag values for a specific flag key and context, use flag_tracker.add_flag_value_change_listener, which provides FlagValueChange events. This is equivalent to re-evaluating the flag for that context whenever add_listener reports a change in that flag.

class Listener
def update(changed)
puts "Flag #{changed.key} has changed from #{changed.old_value} to #{changed.new_value}"
end
end
client.flag_tracker.add_flag_value_change_listener("example-flag-key", context, Listener.new)

Roku

Expand Roku code sample

You can use Roku's observeField method on your node to respond to changes in flags.

Here's how:

' replace "onFeatureChange" with the name of your handler functions
launchDarklyNode.observeField("flags", "onFeatureChange")