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Getting Started with the OpenFeature JavaScript SDK on Express


This walk-through teaches you the basics of using OpenFeature with JavaScript using Express. You'll learn how to:

  • Install the JavaScript SDK
  • Install and configure a provider
  • Perform basic feature flagging


This walk-through assumes that:

  • You have a basic understanding of JavaScript, Node.js and Express. If not, please review the Introduction to Node.js and the Express documentation.
  • You have Node 16 or later. The latest version of Node can be found here.
  • You have Docker installed and running on the host system. The latest version of Docker can be found here.


Step 1: Create a new Node.js project

To get started, create a new folder, bootstrap the project, and install the dependencies. This can be done by running the following commands.

mkdir openfeature-js-intro
cd openfeature-js-intro
npm init -y
npm install express

Step 2: Create an Express app

Create a new file named index.js and include the following code.

const express = require('express');

const app = express();
const port = 8080;

app.get('/', (_, res) => {
res.send('Express + TypeScript Server');

app.listen(port, () => {
console.log(`⚡️[server]: Server is running at http://localhost:${port}`);

Step 3: Add the OpenFeature SDK

Let's install the OpenFeature SDK using the following command.

npm install @openfeature/js-sdk

Update index.js to import the SDK.

const express = require('express');
+ const { OpenFeature } = require('@openfeature/js-sdk');

Once you've imported OpenFeature, a new client can be created.

const port = 8080;

+ const client = OpenFeature.getClient();

The client can now be used to get a feature flag value. In this case, we'll get a boolean value using the welcome-message flag key.

The second argument is the fallback value, which is returned if there's abnormal behavior.

- app.get("/", (_, res) => {
+ app.get("/", async (_, res) => {
+ const showWelcomeMessage = await client.getBooleanValue("welcome-message", false);
+ if (showWelcomeMessage) {
+ res.send("Express + TypeScript + OpenFeature Server");
+ } else {
- res.send("Express + TypeScript Server");
+ res.send("Express + TypeScript Server");
+ }

Step 4: Run the application

Let's start the app and see it in action. Run the following command to start the server.

node index.js

Open your favorite browser and navigate to http://localhost:8080. If all goes as planned, you should see "Express + TypeScript Server" in glorious monochrome.

"Why I'm I seeing that value?", you may ask. Well, it's because a provider hasn't been configured yet. Without a provider to actually evaluate flags, OpenFeature will return the default value. In the next step, you'll learn how to add a provider.

NOTE: You should stop the app by using the keyboard short ctrl + c before moving on to the next step.

Step 5: Configure a provider (flagd)

Providers are an important concept in OpenFeature because they are responsible for the flag evaluation itself. As we saw in the previous step, OpenFeature without a provider always returns the default value. If we want to actually perform feature flagging, we'll need to register a provider.

Create a new file named flags.flagd.json and add the following JSON. Notice that there's a flag called welcome-message which matches the flag key referenced earlier. The welcome-message flag has on and off variants that return true and false respectively. The state property controls whether the feature flag is active or not. Finally, the defaultVariant property controls the variant that should be returned. In this case, the defaultVariant is off, therefore the value false would be returned.

"flags": {
"welcome-message": {
"variants": {
"on": true,
"off": false
"state": "ENABLED",
"defaultVariant": "off"

NOTE: This configuration is specific for flagd and varies across providers.

With the flagd configuration in place, start flagd service with the following docker command.

NOTE: On Windows WSL is required both for running docker and to store the file. This is a limitation of Docker (

docker run -p 8013:8013 -v $(pwd)/:/etc/flagd/ -it start --uri file:/etc/flagd/flags.flagd.json

Now let's make the required code changes in our application.

Using NPM, install the flagd provider with the following command:

npm install @openfeature/flagd-provider

Now, update index.js to import the flagd provider.

const { OpenFeature } = require('@openfeature/js-sdk');
+ const { FlagdProvider } = require('@openfeature/flagd-provider');

Finally, we need to register the provider with OpenFeature.

const port = 8080;

+ OpenFeature.setProvider(new FlagdProvider());
const client = OpenFeature.getClient();

Step 6: Rerun the application

Now that everything is in place, let's start the app again.

node index.js

Open your favorite browser and navigate to http://localhost:8080 should show the same value as before. This difference is now the feature flag value can be changed at runtime!

Let's change the feature flag in our flags.flagd.json, making defaultVariant to on

"flags": {
"welcome-message": {
"variants": {
"on": true,
"off": false
"state": "ENABLED",
- "defaultVariant": "off"
+ "defaultVariant": "on"

Save the changes to flag.json and refresh the browser tab. You should now be greeted with Express + TypeScript + OpenFeature Server.


This walk-through introduced you to the OpenFeature JS SDK. It covered how a provider can be configured to perform the flag evaluation and introduced basic feature flagging concepts. It also showcased how feature flags can be updated at runtime, without requiring a redeployment.