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    Node.js SDK reference (server-side)

    Read time: 2 minutes
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2023
    Version 7 of the Node.js (server-side) SDK replaces 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.

    You can upgrade your SDK at any time. However, the ability to target by context, or review context instances that have encountered flags in your application, is only available for customers in the contexts Early Access Program (EAP). If you want access this feature, join the EAP. If you are not part of the EAP, your application can send user contexts to LaunchDarkly and they will appear on the Users list.

    Code samples on this page are from the two most recent SDK versions where they differ. To learn more about upgrading, read Node.js (server-side) 6.x to 7.0 migration guide.

    Overview

    This topic documents how to get started with the server-side Node.js SDK, and links to reference information on all of the supported features.

    SDK quick links

    LaunchDarkly's SDKs are open source. In addition to this reference guide, we provide source, API reference documentation, and sample applications:

    ResourceLocation
    SDK API documentationSDK API docs
    GitHub repositorynode-server-sdk
    Sample applicationsNode.js (server-side)
    Node.js (server-side), TypeScript
    Node.js (server-side) with bootstrapping
    OpenFeature Node.js (server-side)
    Published modulenpm
    For use in server-side applications only

    This SDK is intended for use in multi-user Node.js server applications. If you want to set up LaunchDarkly in JavaScript in a browser environment, read the JavaScript SDK reference. If you're creating a client-side Node application, read the Node SDK reference. If you're creating a desktop application in Electron, read the Electron SDK reference.

    To learn more about LaunchDarkly's different SDK types, read Client-side and server-side SDKs.

    The sample code snippets for this SDK are available in both JavaScript and TypeScript, where the sample code differs. To learn more, read Using LaunchDarkly with TypeScript.

    Getting started

    After you complete the Getting Started process, follow these instructions to start using the LaunchDarkly SDK in your Node.js application.

    First, install the LaunchDarkly SDK as a dependency in your application using your application's dependency manager.

    Here's how:

    npm install launchdarkly-node-server-sdk
    # In earlier versions, the package name was ldclient-node

    Next, import the LaunchDarkly client in your application code:

    const ld = require('launchdarkly-node-server-sdk');

    After you install and import the SDK, create a single, shared instance of LDClient. Specify your SDK key here to authorize your application to connect to a particular environment within LaunchDarkly.

    Here's how:

    const client = ld.init('sdk-key-123abc');
    LDClient must be a singleton

    It's important to make LDClient a singleton for each LaunchDarkly project. The client instance maintains internal state that allows us to serve feature flags without making any remote requests. Do not instantiate a new client with every request.

    If you have multiple LaunchDarkly projects, you can create one LDClient for each. In this situation, the clients operate independently. For example, they do not share a single connection to LaunchDarkly.

    The client emits a ready event when you initialize it and it can serve feature flags.

    Using client, you can check which variation a particular context will receive for a given feature flag. The ready event is only emitted once, when you first initialize the client. In a production application, place your client.variation code so that it is invoked as needed.

    Here is an example:

    const context = {
    "kind": 'user',
    "key": 'user-key-123abc',
    "name": 'Sandy'
    };
    client.once('ready', () => {
    client.variation('flag-key-123abc', context, false,
    (err, showFeature) => {
    if (showFeature) {
    // application code to show the feature
    } else {
    // the code to run if the feature is off
    }
    });
    });

    Promises and async

    All asynchronous SDK methods which accept a callback also return a Promise. This means that if your application uses promises to manage asynchronous operations, interacting with the SDK should be convenient. Because the async/await syntax is based on Promises, these methods also work with await.

    Here is an example:

    // Using the .then() method to add a continuation handler for a Promise
    client.variation('flag-key-123abc', context, false).then((value) => {
    // application code
    });
    // Using "await" instead, within an async function
    const value = await client.variation('flag-key-123abc', context, false);

    There is also an alternative to the ready event:

    // Using .then() and .catch() to add success and error handlers to a Promise
    client.waitForInitialization().then((client) => {
    // initialization complete
    }).catch((err) => {
    // initialization failed
    });
    // Using "await" instead, within an async function
    try {
    await client.waitForInitialization();
    // Initialization complete
    } catch (err) {
    // Initialization failed
    }

    allFlagsState and flush also return a Promise.

    Shutting down

    Lastly, shut down the client when your application terminates. To learn more, read Shutting down.

    Supported features

    This SDK supports the following features: