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1. Flag Evaluation API

hardening

Overview

The evaluation API allows for the evaluation of feature flag values, independent of any flag control plane or vendor. In the absence of a provider the evaluation API uses the "No-op provider", which simply returns the supplied default flag value.

1.1. API Initialization and Configuration

Requirement 1.1.1

The API, and any state it maintains SHOULD exist as a global singleton, even in cases wherein multiple versions of the API are present at runtime.

It's important that multiple instances of the API not be active, so that state stored therein, such as the registered provider, static global evaluation context, and globally configured hooks allow the API to behave predictably. This can be difficult in some runtimes or languages, but implementors should make their best effort to ensure that only a single instance of the API is used.

Setting a provider

Requirement 1.1.2.1

The API MUST define a provider mutator, a function to set the default provider, which accepts an API-conformant provider implementation.

// example provider mutator
OpenFeature.setProvider(new MyProvider());

The example above sets the default provider.
This provider is used if a client is not bound to a specific provider via a domain.

See provider, creating clients for details.

Requirement 1.1.2.2

The provider mutator function MUST invoke the initialize function on the newly registered provider before using it to resolve flag values.

Application authors can await the newly set provider's readiness using the PROVIDER_READY event.
Provider instances which are already active (because they have been bound to another domain or otherwise) need not be initialized again.
The provider's readiness can state can be determined from its status member/accessor.

See event handlers and initialization, provider initialization, domain for details.

Requirement 1.1.2.3

The provider mutator function MUST invoke the shutdown function on the previously registered provider once it's no longer being used to resolve flag values.

When a provider is no longer in use, it should be disposed of using its shutdown mechanism.
Provider instances which are bound to multiple domains won't be shut down until the last binding is removed.

see shutdown, setting a provider, domain for details.

Requirement 1.1.2.4

The API SHOULD provide functions to set a provider and wait for the initialize function to complete or abnormally terminate.

This function not only sets the provider, but ensures that the provider is ready (or in error) before returning or settling.

// default provider
OpenFeatureAPI.getInstance().setProviderAndWait(myprovider); // this method blocks until the provider is ready or in error
// client uses the default provider
Client client = OpenFeatureAPI.getInstance().getClient();

// provider associated with domain-1
OpenFeatureAPI.getInstance().setProviderAndWait('domain-1', myprovider); // this method blocks until the provider is ready or in error
// client uses provider associated with the domain named 'domain-1'
Client client = OpenFeatureAPI.getInstance().getClient('domain-1');

Though it's possible to use events to await provider readiness, such functions can make things simpler for application authors and integrators.
Implementations indicate an error in a manner idiomatic to the language in use (returning an error, throwing an exception, etc).

Requirement 1.1.3

The API MUST provide a function to bind a given provider to one or more clients using a domain. If the domain already has a bound provider, it is overwritten with the new mapping.

OpenFeature.setProvider("domain-1", new MyProvider());

Clients can be associated with a particular provider by supplying a matching domain when the provider is set.

See creating clients, domain for details.

Requirement 1.1.4

The API MUST provide a function to add hooks which accepts one or more API-conformant hooks, and appends them to the collection of any previously added hooks. When new hooks are added, previously added hooks are not removed.

// example hook attachment
OpenFeature.addHooks([new MyHook()]);

See hooks for details.

Requirement 1.1.5

The API MUST provide a function for retrieving the metadata field of the configured provider.

// example provider accessor
OpenFeature.getProviderMetadata();

It's possible to access provider metadata using a domain.
If a provider has not be registered under the requested domain, the default provider metadata is returned.

// example provider accessor
OpenFeature.getProviderMetadata("domain-1");

See provider, domain for details.

Creating clients

Requirement 1.1.6

The API MUST provide a function for creating a client which accepts the following options:

  • domain (optional): A logical string identifier for binding clients to provider.
// example client creation and retrieval
OpenFeature.getClient();

It's possible to create a client that is associated with a domain.
The client will use a provider in the same domain if one exists, otherwise, the default provide is used.

// example client creation and retrieval using a domain
OpenFeature.getClient("domain-1");

See setting a provider, domain for details.

Requirement 1.1.7

The client creation function MUST NOT throw, or otherwise abnormally terminate.

Clients may be created in critical code paths, and even per-request in server-side HTTP contexts. Therefore, in keeping with the principle that OpenFeature should never cause abnormal execution of the first party application, this function should never throw. Abnormal execution in initialization should instead occur during provider registration.

1.2. Client Usage

Requirement 1.2.1

The client MUST provide a method to add hooks which accepts one or more API-conformant hooks, and appends them to the collection of any previously added hooks. When new hooks are added, previously added hooks are not removed.

// example hook attachment
client.addHooks([new MyHook()]);

See hooks for details.

Requirement 1.2.2

The client interface MUST define a metadata member or accessor, containing an immutable domain field or accessor of type string, which corresponds to the domain value supplied during client creation.

client.getMetadata().getDomain(); // "domain-1"

In previous drafts, this property was called name.
For backwards compatibility, implementations should consider name an alias to domain.

1.3. Flag Evaluation

hardening

Condition 1.3.1

The implementation uses the dynamic-context paradigm.

see: dynamic-context paradigm

Conditional Requirement 1.3.1.1

The client MUST provide methods for typed flag evaluation, including boolean, numeric, string, and structure, with parameters flag key (string, required), default value (boolean | number | string | structure, required), evaluation context (optional), and evaluation options (optional), which returns the flag value.

// example boolean flag evaluation
boolean myBool = client.getBooleanValue('bool-flag', false);

// example overloaded string flag evaluation with optional params
string myString = client.getStringValue('string-flag', 'N/A', evaluationContext, options);

// example number flag evaluation
number myNumber = client.getNumberValue('number-flag', 75);

// example overloaded structure flag evaluation with optional params
MyStruct myStruct = client.getObjectValue<MyStruct>('structured-flag', { text: 'N/A', percentage: 75 }, evaluationContext, options);

See evaluation context for details.

Condition 1.3.2

experimental

The implementation uses the static-context paradigm.

see: static-context paradigm

Conditional Requirement 1.3.2.1

The client MUST provide methods for typed flag evaluation, including boolean, numeric, string, and structure, with parameters flag key (string, required), default value (boolean | number | string | structure, required), and evaluation options (optional), which returns the flag value.

// example boolean flag evaluation
boolean myBool = client.getBooleanValue('bool-flag', false);

// example overloaded string flag evaluation with optional params
string myString = client.getStringValue('string-flag', 'N/A', options);

// example number flag evaluation
number myNumber = client.getNumberValue('number-flag', 75);

// example overloaded structure flag evaluation with optional params
MyStruct myStruct = client.getObjectValue<MyStruct>('structured-flag', { text: 'N/A', percentage: 75 }, options);

Condition 1.3.3

The implementation language differentiates between floating-point numbers and integers.

Conditional Requirement 1.3.3.1

The client SHOULD provide functions for floating-point numbers and integers, consistent with language idioms.

int getIntValue(String flag, int defaultValue);

long getFloatValue(String flag, long defaultValue);

See types for details.

Requirement 1.3.4

The client SHOULD guarantee the returned value of any typed flag evaluation method is of the expected type. If the value returned by the underlying provider implementation does not match the expected type, it's to be considered abnormal execution, and the supplied default value should be returned.

1.4. Detailed Flag Evaluation

hardening

The detailed evaluation functions behave similarly to the standard flag evaluation functions, but provide additional metadata useful for telemetry, troubleshooting, debugging, and advanced integrations.

Note

Metadata included in the evaluation details should be considered "best effort", since not all providers will be able to provide these details (such as the reason a flag resolved to a particular value).

see: evaluation details type

Condition 1.4.1

The implementation uses the dynamic-context paradigm.

see: dynamic-context paradigm

Conditional Requirement 1.4.1.1

The client MUST provide methods for detailed flag value evaluation with parameters flag key (string, required), default value (boolean | number | string | structure, required), evaluation context (optional), and evaluation options (optional), which returns an evaluation details structure.

// example detailed boolean flag evaluation
FlagEvaluationDetails<boolean> myBoolDetails = client.getBooleanDetails('bool-flag', false);

// example detailed string flag evaluation
FlagEvaluationDetails<string> myStringDetails = client.getStringDetails('string-flag', 'N/A', evaluationContext, options);

// example detailed number flag evaluation
FlagEvaluationDetails<number> myNumberDetails = client.getNumberDetails('number-flag', 75);

// example detailed structure flag evaluation
FlagEvaluationDetails<MyStruct> myStructDetails = client.getObjectDetails<MyStruct>('structured-flag', { text: 'N/A', percentage: 75 }, evaluationContext, options);

Condition 1.4.2

experimental

The implementation uses the static-context paradigm.

see: static-context paradigm

Conditional Requirement 1.4.2.1

The client MUST provide methods for detailed flag value evaluation with parameters flag key (string, required), default value (boolean | number | string | structure, required), and evaluation options (optional), which returns an evaluation details structure.

// example detailed boolean flag evaluation
FlagEvaluationDetails<boolean> myBoolDetails = client.getBooleanDetails('bool-flag', false);

// example detailed string flag evaluation
FlagEvaluationDetails<string> myStringDetails = client.getStringDetails('string-flag', 'N/A', options);

// example detailed number flag evaluation
FlagEvaluationDetails<number> myNumberDetails = client.getNumberDetails('number-flag', 75);

// example detailed structure flag evaluation
FlagEvaluationDetails<MyStruct> myStructDetails = client.getObjectDetails<MyStruct>('structured-flag', { text: 'N/A', percentage: 75 }, options);

Requirement 1.4.3

The evaluation details structure's value field MUST contain the evaluated flag value.

Condition 1.4.4

The language supports generics (or an equivalent feature).

Conditional Requirement 1.4.4.1

The evaluation details structure SHOULD accept a generic argument (or use an equivalent language feature) which indicates the type of the wrapped value field.

Requirement 1.4.5

The evaluation details structure's flag key field MUST contain the flag key argument passed to the detailed flag evaluation method.

Requirement 1.4.6

In cases of normal execution, the evaluation details structure's variant field MUST contain the value of the variant field in the flag resolution structure returned by the configured provider, if the field is set.

Requirement 1.4.7

In cases of normal execution, the evaluation details structure's reason field MUST contain the value of the reason field in the flag resolution structure returned by the configured provider, if the field is set.

Requirement 1.4.8

In cases of abnormal execution, the evaluation details structure's error code field MUST contain an error code.

See error code for details.

Requirement 1.4.9

In cases of abnormal execution (network failure, unhandled error, etc) the reason field in the evaluation details SHOULD indicate an error.

Requirement 1.4.10

Methods, functions, or operations on the client MUST NOT throw exceptions, or otherwise abnormally terminate. Flag evaluation calls must always return the default value in the event of abnormal execution. Exceptions include functions or methods for the purposes for configuration or setup.

Configuration code includes code to set the provider, instantiate providers, and configure the global API object.

Requirement 1.4.11

In the case of abnormal execution, the client SHOULD log an informative error message.

Implementations may define a standard logging interface that can be supplied as an optional argument to the client creation function, which may wrap standard logging functionality of the implementation language.

Requirement 1.4.12

The client SHOULD provide asynchronous or non-blocking mechanisms for flag evaluation.

It's recommended to provide non-blocking mechanisms for flag evaluation, particularly in languages or environments wherein there's a single thread of execution.

Requirement 1.4.13

In cases of abnormal execution, the evaluation details structure's error message field MAY contain a string containing additional details about the nature of the error.

Requirement 1.4.14

If the flag metadata field in the flag resolution structure returned by the configured provider is set, the evaluation details structure's flag metadata field MUST contain that value. Otherwise, it MUST contain an empty record.

This flag metadata field is intended as a mechanism for providers to surface additional information about a feature flag (or its evaluation) beyond what is defined within the OpenFeature spec itself. The primary consumer of this information is a provider-specific hook.

Condition 1.4.15

The implementation language supports a mechanism for marking data as immutable.

Conditional Requirement 1.4.14.1

Condition: Flag metadata MUST be immutable.

Evaluation Options

Requirement 1.5.1

The evaluation options structure's hooks field denotes an ordered collection of hooks that the client MUST execute for the respective flag evaluation, in addition to those already configured.

See hooks for details.

1.6. Shutdown

experimental

Requirement 1.6.1

The API MUST define a mechanism to propagate a shutdown request to active providers.

The global API object might expose a shutdown function, which will call the respective shutdown function on the registered providers.
Alternatively, implementations might leverage language idioms such as auto-disposable interfaces or some means of cancellation signal propagation to allow for graceful shutdown.

see: shutdown