Tutorial: Use dynamic configuration in a .NET Core app

The App Configuration .NET provider library supports updating configuration on demand without causing an application to restart. This tutorial shows how you can implement dynamic configuration updates in your code. It builds on the app introduced in the quickstart. You should finish Create a .NET Core app with App Configuration before continuing.

You can use any code editor to do the steps in this tutorial. Visual Studio Code is an excellent option that's available on the Windows, macOS, and Linux platforms.

In this tutorial, you learn how to:

  • Set up your .NET Core app to update its configuration in response to changes in an App Configuration store.
  • Consume the latest configuration in your application.

Prerequisites

If you don't have an Azure subscription, create an Azure free account before you begin.

Finish the quickstart Create a .NET Core app with App Configuration.

Activity-driven configuration refresh

Open Program.cs and update the code as following.

using Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration;
using Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration.AzureAppConfiguration;
using System;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

namespace TestConsole
{
    class Program
    {
        private static IConfiguration _configuration = null;
        private static IConfigurationRefresher _refresher = null;

        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            var builder = new ConfigurationBuilder();
            builder.AddAzureAppConfiguration(options =>
            {
                options.Connect(Environment.GetEnvironmentVariable("ConnectionString"))
                        .ConfigureRefresh(refresh =>
                        {
                            refresh.Register("TestApp:Settings:Message")
                                   .SetCacheExpiration(TimeSpan.FromSeconds(10));
                        });

                _refresher = options.GetRefresher();
            });

            _configuration = builder.Build();
            PrintMessage().Wait();
        }

        private static async Task PrintMessage()
        {
            Console.WriteLine(_configuration["TestApp:Settings:Message"] ?? "Hello world!");

            // Wait for the user to press Enter
            Console.ReadLine();

            await _refresher.TryRefreshAsync();
            Console.WriteLine(_configuration["TestApp:Settings:Message"] ?? "Hello world!");
        }
    }
}

In the ConfigureRefresh method, a key within your App Configuration store is registered for change monitoring. The Register method has an optional boolean parameter refreshAll that can be used to indicate whether all configuration values should be refreshed if the registered key changes. In this example, only the key TestApp:Settings:Message will be refreshed. The SetCacheExpiration method specifies the minimum time that must elapse before a new request is made to App Configuration to check for any configuration changes. In this example, you override the default expiration time of 30 seconds, specifying a time of 10 seconds instead for demonstration purposes.

Calling the ConfigureRefresh method alone won't cause the configuration to refresh automatically. You call the TryRefreshAsync method from the interface IConfigurationRefresher to trigger a refresh. This design is to avoid phantom requests sent to App Configuration even when your application is idle. You will want to include the TryRefreshAsync call where you consider your application active. For example, it can be when you process an incoming message, an order, or an iteration of a complex task. It can also be in a timer if your application is active all the time. In this example, you call TryRefreshAsync every time you press the Enter key. Note that, even if the call TryRefreshAsync fails for any reason, your application will continue to use the cached configuration. Another attempt will be made when the configured cache expiration time has passed and the TryRefreshAsync call is triggered by your application activity again. Calling TryRefreshAsync is a no-op before the configured cache expiration time elapses, so its performance impact is minimal, even if it's called frequently.

Build and run the app locally

  1. Set an environment variable named ConnectionString, and set it to the access key to your App Configuration store. If you use the Windows command prompt, run the following command and restart the command prompt to allow the change to take effect:

     setx ConnectionString "connection-string-of-your-app-configuration-store"
    

    If you use Windows PowerShell, run the following command:

     $Env:ConnectionString = "connection-string-of-your-app-configuration-store"
    

    If you use macOS or Linux, run the following command:

     export ConnectionString='connection-string-of-your-app-configuration-store'
    
  2. Run the following command to build the console app:

     dotnet build
    
  3. After the build successfully completes, run the following command to run the app locally:

     dotnet run
    

    Quickstart app launch local

  4. Sign in to the Azure portal. Select All resources, and select the App Configuration store instance that you created in the quickstart.

  5. Select Configuration Explorer, and update the values of the following keys:

    Key Value
    TestApp:Settings:Message Data from Azure App Configuration - Updated
  6. Press the Enter key to trigger a refresh and print the updated value in the Command Prompt or PowerShell window.

    Quickstart app refresh local

    Note

    Since the cache expiration time was set to 10 seconds using the SetCacheExpiration method while specifying the configuration for the refresh operation, the value for the configuration setting will only be updated if at least 10 seconds have elapsed since the last refresh for that setting.

Clean up resources

If you do not want to continue using the resources created in this article, delete the resource group you created here to avoid charges.

Important

Deleting a resource group is irreversible. The resource group and all the resources in it are permanently deleted. Make sure that you don't accidentally delete the wrong resource group or resources. If you created the resources for this article inside a resource group that contains other resources you want to keep, delete each resource individually from its respective pane instead of deleting the resource group.

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal, and select Resource groups.
  2. In the Filter by name box, enter the name of your resource group.
  3. In the result list, select the resource group name to see an overview.
  4. Select Delete resource group.
  5. You're asked to confirm the deletion of the resource group. Enter the name of your resource group to confirm, and select Delete.

After a few moments, the resource group and all its resources are deleted.

Next steps

In this tutorial, you enabled your .NET Core app to dynamically refresh configuration settings from App Configuration. To learn how to use an Azure managed identity to streamline the access to App Configuration, continue to the next tutorial.