Efficient Application Management with Azure App Configuration and Feature Flags

Ronald Mariah · April 29, 2024

In today’s rapidly changing software environment, managing application settings and deploying features effectively is crucial for any organization. Azure App Configuration and feature flags provide a streamlined solution for these challenges, enhancing both developer productivity and application performance. Let’s dive into how these services work and how you can implement them in your projects.

What is Azure App Configuration?

Azure App Configuration is a managed service provided by Microsoft that simplifies the handling of application settings and feature management. It acts as a central repository for configuration data, which is particularly useful for cloud-based applications where maintaining consistency and managing microservice architectures can be challenging. By centralizing configuration data, Azure App Configuration helps ensure that all instances of an application are on the same configuration state, reducing errors and improving the reliability of deployments.

Key Benefits:

  • Centralization of configuration data: Keeps your configuration settings in one place, making them easier to manage and audit.
  • Dynamic configuration updates: Changes to configuration do not require a restart of the application, allowing for dynamic responses to environmental changes.
  • Improved security posture: With Azure’s managed service, sensitive data is handled securely, reducing the risk of leaks.

Using Feature Flags in Azure App Configuration

Feature flags are a powerful technique for managing features in your applications, allowing you to enable or disable functionality without deploying new code. This capability is invaluable for A/B testing, canary releases, and conditional feature rollouts. Azure App Configuration integrates feature flag management, providing a robust environment for controlled feature deployment.

How to Implement Feature Flags:

  1. Set up Azure App Configuration: Begin by creating an Azure App Configuration store from the Azure portal. This store will hold all your configuration data and feature flags.

  2. Define Feature Flags: Use the Azure portal or the Azure CLI to define feature flags. These flags represent the features in your application that you want to manage dynamically.

  3. Integrate with your Application: Azure provides SDKs for various programming languages like .NET, Java, and more. For a .NET Core application, you can use the Microsoft.FeatureManagement library to integrate feature flags.

  4. Toggle Features: You can toggle features directly from the Azure portal or programmatically through your application code depending on real-time requirements.

Practical Example: Integrating Feature Flags in ASP.NET Core

To demonstrate the practical application of Azure App Configuration and feature flags, let’s walk through a quick start example with an ASP.NET Core application.

Step-by-Step Integration:

  1. Create an Azure App Configuration Store: In the Azure portal, create a new App Configuration store, noting the connection string provided upon creation.

  2. Add the Feature Management Library: In your ASP.NET Core application, add the Microsoft.FeatureManagement.AspNetCore NuGet package.

  3. Configure your Application: In your appsettings.json or through environment variables, add the connection string to your App Configuration store. Then, configure your application to use feature flags by adding them to your startup configuration.

  4. Use Feature Flags: In your application code, you can use the IFeatureManager interface to check the status of feature flags and conditionally execute features. For example:

     if (await featureManager.IsEnabledAsync("BetaFeature"))
         // Execute new feature
  5. Deploy and Manage: Once your application is deployed, you can manage feature states directly from the Azure portal, allowing non-developers like product managers to control feature rollouts.


Azure App Configuration and feature flags offer a powerful combination for managing application settings and deploying new features with minimal risk. By leveraging these tools, developers can focus more on feature development rather than configuration management. As applications grow and become more complex, using these Azure services will undoubtedly become an essential part of your DevOps toolkit.

For further details and advanced configurations, refer to the Azure App Configuration documentation and start experimenting with these tools to enhance your application management strategies.

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