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Quickstart

In this section we will attempt to guide you in order to get started with Unleash easily. There are multiple options to get started with Unleash, browse the headings to find the method that works best for you.

I just want to get started creating toggles without much setup

Usually, you'll need to set up an Unleash instance in order to work with Unleash. However, for testing purposes we have set up a demo instance that you can use in order to test out different use-cases before setting up your own instance. You can find the demo instance admin panel here: https://app.unleash-hosted.com/demo/

NOTE: This is a demo instance set up with the Enterprise version. Some of the functionality may be enterprise specific, but everything we cover here is also available in open source.

I want to test toggles in a client side environment

In order to use feature toggles on the client side you need to connect through the Unleash proxy. The Unleash proxy will provide a security and performance layer between your client application and the Unleash instance. For now, you can use the proxy we have set up on the demo instance.

Create your first toggle

In order to create a toggle through the UI, you can follow this guide. Once you have created your feature toggle, you are ready to connect your application using an SDK.

Connecting to the Unleash proxy from your app

Connection details:

Api URL: https://app.unleash-hosted.com/demo/api/proxy
Secret key: proxy-123

Now you can open your application code and connect through one of the proxy SDKs:

Here is a connection example using the JavaScript Proxy SDK:

import { UnleashClient } from 'unleash-proxy-client';

const unleash = new UnleashClient({
url: 'https://app.unleash-hosted.com/demo/api/proxy',
clientKey: 'proxy-123',
appName: 'my-webapp',
});

unleash.on('synchronized', () => {
if (unleash.isEnabled('proxy.demo')) {
// do something
}
});

// Used to set the context fields, shared with the Unleash Proxy
unleash.updateContext({ userId: '1233' });

// Start the background polling
unleash.start();

Now you are ready to use the feature toggle you created in your client side application, using the appropriate proxy SDK.

I want to test toggles in a backend environment

Create your first toggle

In order to create a toggle through the UI, you can follow this guide. Once you have created your feature toggle, you are ready to connect your application using an SDK.

Connecting to the Unleash instance from your app

Connection details:

Api URL: https://app.unleash-hosted.com/demo/api/
Secret key: 56907a2fa53c1d16101d509a10b78e36190b0f918d9f122d

Curl command test credentials and retrieve feature toggles:

curl https://app.unleash-hosted.com/demo/api/client/features \
-H "Authorization: 56907a2fa53c1d16101d509a10b78e36190b0f918d9f122d";

Now you can open up your application code and create a connection to Unleash using one of our SDKs. Here's an example using the NodeJS SDK:

const { initialize } = require('unleash-client');
const unleash = initialize({
url: 'https://app.unleash-hosted.com/demo/api/',
appName: 'my-app-name',
instanceId: 'my-unique-instance-id',
customHeaders: {
Authorization: '56907a2fa53c1d16101d509a10b78e36190b0f918d9f122d',
},
});

unleash.on('synchronized', () => {
// Unleash is ready to serve updated feature toggles.

// Check a feature flag
const isEnabled = unleash.isEnabled('some-toggle');

// Check the variant
const variant = unleash.getVariant('app.ToggleY');
});

Now you can fetch the feature toggle you created and try turning it on / off in your code.

I want to setup my own instance for testing purposes

If you want to set up your own instance for testing purposes you can easily do so by using one of our premade setup kits for Heroku or DigitalOcean.

::: info Pricing

Both DigitalOcean and Heroku will charge you for running Unleash on their services. However, if you use the DigitalOcean link below and are a new user, you will receive $100 in free credits.

:::

Deploy a paid version of Unleash to Heroku

Deploy to Heroku

Deploy a paid version of Unleash to DigitalOcean

Free credits

You'll receive $100 in free credits if you are a new DigitalOcean user using this link.

Deploy to DigitalOcean

Accessing your new instance

Once you have set up the new instance, follow the URL provided by either Heroku or DigitalOcean and it will take you to the application login screen.

Input the following credentials to log in:

username: admin
password: unleash4all

Create your first toggle

In order to create a toggle through the UI, you can follow this guide. Once you have created your feature toggle, you are ready to connect your application using an SDK.

If you'd like to create your feature toggles with code, you can hit the create feature endpoint with the following command:

CRUD operations require an admin API key. For security reasons we have split the admin and client API into separate APIs. You can view how to create API keys in the next section of this guide. Make sure you create client keys for use in SDKs and restrict Admin api key usage.

curl -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
-H "Authorization: MY-ADMIN-API-KEY" \
-X POST \
-d '{
"name": "my-unique-feature-name",
"description": "lorem ipsum..",
"type": "release",
"enabled": false,
"stale": false,
"strategies": [
{
"name": "default",
"parameters": {}
}
],
"variants": [],
"tags": []
}' \
http://CHANGEME/api/admin/features

Connect your SDK

Next, find the navigation, open up the Admin panel and find the API Access tab. Click the "Add new api key" button and create a client key. This key can be used to connect to the instance with our SDKs.

You can find more information about API keys here.

Now that you have your API key created, you have what you need to connect to the SDK (NodeJS example):

const { initialize } = require('unleash-client');
const unleash = initialize({
url: 'https://your.heroku.instance.com/api/',
appName: 'my-app-name',
instanceId: 'my-unique-instance-id',
customHeaders: {
Authorization: 'YOUR_API_KEY_HERE',
},
});

unleash.on('synchronized', () => {
// Unleash is ready to serve updated feature toggles.

// Check a feature flag
const isEnabled = unleash.isEnabled('some-toggle');

// Check the variant
const variant = unleash.getVariant('app.ToggleY');
});

I want to run Unleash locally

Run Unleash with Docker

The easiest way to run unleash locally is using docker.

tip

Each container that runs in your local Docker instance must have a unique name. If you've run these commands before, you can either start the containers again (docker start ${CONTAINER_NAME}) or remove them (docker rm ${CONTAINER_NAME}) and run the commands again.

  1. Create a network by running docker network create unleash
  2. Start a postgres database:
docker run \
-e POSTGRES_USER=unleash_user \
-e POSTGRES_PASSWORD=some_password \
-e POSTGRES_DB=unleash \
--network unleash \
--name postgres \
postgres
  1. Start Unleash via docker:
docker run \
-p 4242:4242 \
-e DATABASE_HOST=postgres \
-e DATABASE_NAME=unleash \
-e DATABASE_USERNAME=unleash_user \
-e DATABASE_PASSWORD=some_password \
-e DATABASE_SSL=false \
--network unleash \
--name unleash \
--pull=always unleashorg/unleash-server

Click here to see all options to get started locally.

Accessing your new instance

Once you have the local instance running on localhost, input the following credentials to log in:

username: admin
password: unleash4all

Run Unleash and the Unleash proxy with Docker

Follow steps outlined in the Run Unleash with Docker section to get the Unleash instance up and running. Once you have done that you need to first get an API key from your Unleash instance and then use that API key when starting the Unleash proxy.

  1. Get an API key.

    To get an API key, access your Unleash instance in a web browser. First, navigate to the API access screen.

    The Unleash UI showing a dropdown menu under the Configure menu entry. The dropdown menu's API Access option is highlighted and you're told to navigate there.

    Next, create an API key with these details

    • name: proxy-key (this can be whatever you want)
    • token type: client
    • project: all
    • environment: select your preferred environment (this option is only available in Unleash 4.3 and later)

    Copy the API key to your clipboard. You'll need it in the next step.

    note

    Depending on whether you have the environments feature enabled or not, the API key will look a little different. If you don't have environments enabled, it'll just be a 64 character long hexadecimal string (for instance be44368985f7fb3237c584ef86f3d6bdada42ddbd63a019d26955178). If you do have environments enabled, the key will be prefixed with the project and the environment that the key is valid for. It'll use the format <project>:<environment>.<key>, e.g. demo-app:production.be44368985f7fb3237c584ef86f3d6bdada42ddbd63a019d26955178.

    Regardless of which format your string uses, do not modify it.

  2. Start the Unleash proxy

    Start a container with the Unleash proxy by running the following command. Replace ${API_KEY} with the key you created in the following step.

    docker run \
    -e UNLEASH_PROXY_CLIENT_KEYS=some-secret \
    -e UNLEASH_URL='http://unleash:4242/api/' \
    -e UNLEASH_API_TOKEN='${API_KEY}' \
    -p 3000:3000 \
    --network unleash \
    --name unleash-proxy \
    --pull=always unleashorg/unleash-proxy
  3. Test the proxy

    To make sure the proxy is running successfully, you can test it by running the following command:

    curl http://localhost:3000/proxy -H "Authorization: some-secret"

Create your first toggle

In order to create a toggle through the UI, you can follow this guide. Once you have created your feature toggle, you are ready to connect your application using an SDK.

If you'd like to create your feature toggles with code, you can hit the create feature endpoint with the following command:

CRUD operations require an admin API key. For security reasons we have split the admin and client API into separate APIs. You can view how to create API keys in the next section of this guide. Make sure you create client keys for use in SDKs and restrict Admin api key usage.

curl -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
-H "Authorization: MY-ADMIN-API-KEY" \
-X POST \
-d '{
"name": "my-unique-feature-name",
"description": "lorem ipsum..",
"type": "release",
"enabled": false,
"stale": false,
"strategies": [
{
"name": "default",
"parameters": {}
}
],
"variants": [],
"tags": []
}' \
http://CHANGEME/api/admin/features

Connect your SDK

Find the navigation, open up the Admin panel and find the API Access tab. Click the "Add new api key" button and create a client key. This key can be used to connect to the instance with our SDKs.

You can find more information about API keys here.

Now that you have your API key created, you have what you need to connect to the SDK (NodeJS example):

const { initialize } = require('unleash-client');
const unleash = initialize({
url: 'https://localhost:4242/api/',
appName: 'my-app-name',
instanceId: 'my-unique-instance-id',
customHeaders: {
Authorization: 'YOUR_API_KEY_HERE',
},
});

unleash.on('synchronized', () => {
// Unleash is ready to serve updated feature toggles.

// Check a feature flag
const isEnabled = unleash.isEnabled('some-toggle');

// Check the variant
const variant = unleash.getVariant('app.ToggleY');
});