Quickstart: Add feature flags to an ASP.NET Core app

In this quickstart, you create an end-to-end implementation of feature management in an ASP.NET Core application using Azure App Configuration. You will use the App Configuration service to centrally store all your feature flags and control their states.

The .NET Core Feature Management libraries extend the framework with comprehensive feature flag support. These libraries are built on top of the .NET Core configuration system. They seamlessly integrate with App Configuration through its .NET Core configuration provider.


Create an App Configuration store

  1. To create a new App Configuration store, sign in to the Azure portal. In the upper-left corner of the home page, select Create a resource. In the Search the Marketplace box, enter App Configuration and select Enter.

    Search for App Configuration

  2. Select App Configuration from the search results, and then select Create.

    Select Create

  3. On the App Configuration > Create pane, enter the following settings:

    Setting Suggested value Description
    Resource name Globally unique name Enter a unique resource name to use for the App Configuration store resource. The name must be a string between 5 and 50 characters and contain only numbers, letters, and the - character. The name can't start or end with the - character.
    Subscription Your subscription Select the Azure subscription that you want to use to test App Configuration. If your account has only one subscription, it's automatically selected and the Subscription list isn't displayed.
    Resource group AppConfigTestResources Select or create a resource group for your App Configuration store resource. This group is useful for organizing multiple resources that you might want to delete at the same time by deleting the resource group. For more information, see Use resource groups to manage your Azure resources.
    Location Central US Use Location to specify the geographic location in which your app configuration store is hosted. For the best performance, create the resource in the same region as other components of your application.
    Pricing tier Free Select the desired pricing tier. For more details, please see the App Configuration pricing page.

    Create an App Configuration store resource

  4. Select Create. The deployment might take a few minutes.

  5. After the deployment finishes, select Settings > Access Keys. Make a note of the primary read-only key connection string. You'll use this connection string later to configure your application to communicate with the App Configuration store that you created.

  1. Select Feature Manager > +Add to add a feature flag called Beta.

    Enable feature flag named Beta

    Leave label undefined for now. Select Apply to save the new feature flag.

Create an ASP.NET Core web app

Use the .NET Core command-line interface (CLI) to create a new ASP.NET Core MVC web app project. The advantage of using the .NET Core CLI instead of Visual Studio is that the .NET Core CLI is available across the Windows, macOS, and Linux platforms.

  1. Create a new folder for your project. For this quickstart, name it TestFeatureFlags.

  2. In the new folder, run the following command to create a new ASP.NET Core MVC web app project:

    dotnet new mvc --no-https

Add Secret Manager

To use Secret Manager, add a UserSecretsId element to your .csproj file.

  1. Open the .csproj file.

  2. Add a UserSecretsId element as shown here. You can use the same GUID, or you can replace this value with your own.


    CreateHostBuilder replaces CreateWebHostBuilder in .NET Core 3.0. Select the correct syntax based on your environment.

    <Project Sdk="Microsoft.NET.Sdk.Web">
            <PackageReference Include="Microsoft.AspNetCore.App" />
            <PackageReference Include="Microsoft.AspNetCore.Razor.Design" Version="2.1.2" PrivateAssets="All" />
  3. Save the .csproj file.

The Secret Manager tool stores sensitive data for development work outside of your project tree. This approach helps prevent the accidental sharing of app secrets within source code.


To learn more about Secret Manager, please see Safe storage of app secrets in development in ASP.NET Core.

Connect to an App Configuration store

  1. Add reference to the Microsoft.Azure.AppConfiguration.AspNetCore and the Microsoft.FeatureManagement.AspNetCore NuGet packages by running the following commands:

    dotnet add package Microsoft.Azure.AppConfiguration.AspNetCore
    dotnet add package Microsoft.FeatureManagement.AspNetCore
  2. Run the following command to restore packages for your project:

    dotnet restore
  3. Add a secret named ConnectionStrings:AppConfig to Secret Manager.

    This secret contains the connection string to access your App Configuration store. Replace the <your_connection_string> value in the following command with the connection string for your App Configuration store. You can find the connection string under Access Keys in the Azure portal.

    This command must be executed in the same directory as the .csproj file.

    dotnet user-secrets set ConnectionStrings:AppConfig <your_connection_string>

    You use Secret Manager only to test the web app locally. When you deploy the app to Azure App Service, for example, you use an application setting named Connection Strings in App Service instead of using Secret Manager to store the connection string.

    You can access this secret with the App Configuration API. A colon (:) works in the configuration name with the App Configuration API on all supported platforms. See Configuration by environment.

  4. In Program.cs, update the CreateWebHostBuilder method to use App Configuration by calling the config.AddAzureAppConfiguration() method.


    CreateHostBuilder replaces CreateWebHostBuilder in .NET Core 3.0. Select the correct syntax based on your environment.

    public static IWebHostBuilder CreateWebHostBuilder(string[] args) =>
            .ConfigureAppConfiguration((hostingContext, config) =>
                var settings = config.Build();
                config.AddAzureAppConfiguration(options => {
  5. Open Startup.cs, and add references to the .NET Core feature manager:

    using Microsoft.FeatureManagement;
  6. Update the ConfigureServices method to add feature flag support by calling the services.AddFeatureManagement() method. Optionally, you can include any filter to be used with feature flags by calling services.AddFeatureFilter<FilterType>():

    public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
  7. Update the Configure method to add a middleware to allow the feature flag values to be refreshed at a recurring interval while the ASP.NET Core web app continues to receive requests.

    public void Configure(IApplicationBuilder app, IHostingEnvironment env)
            if (env.IsDevelopment())
            app.UseMvc(routes =>
                    name: "default",
                    template: "{controller=Home}/{action=Index}/{id?}");
  8. Add a MyFeatureFlags.cs file:

    namespace TestFeatureFlags
        public enum MyFeatureFlags
  9. Add BetaController.cs to the Controllers directory:

    using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc;
    using Microsoft.FeatureManagement;
    using Microsoft.FeatureManagement.Mvc;
    namespace TestFeatureFlags.Controllers
        public class BetaController: Controller
            private readonly IFeatureManager _featureManager;
            public BetaController(IFeatureManagerSnapshot featureManager)
                _featureManager = featureManager;
            public IActionResult Index()
                return View();
  10. Open _ViewImports.cshtml in the Views directory, and add the feature manager tag helper:

    @addTagHelper *, Microsoft.FeatureManagement.AspNetCore
  11. Open _Layout.cshtml in the Views\Shared directory, and replace the <nav> bar code under <body> > <header> with the following code:

    <nav class="navbar navbar-expand-sm navbar-toggleable-sm navbar-light bg-white border-bottom box-shadow mb-3">
        <div class="container">
            <a class="navbar-brand" asp-area="" asp-controller="Home" asp-action="Index">TestFeatureFlags</a>
            <button class="navbar-toggler" type="button" data-toggle="collapse" data-target=".navbar-collapse" aria-controls="navbarSupportedContent"
            aria-expanded="false" aria-label="Toggle navigation">
            <span class="navbar-toggler-icon"></span>
            <div class="navbar-collapse collapse d-sm-inline-flex flex-sm-row-reverse">
                <ul class="navbar-nav flex-grow-1">
                    <li class="nav-item">
                        <a class="nav-link text-dark" asp-area="" asp-controller="Home" asp-action="Index">Home</a>
                    <feature name="Beta">
                    <li class="nav-item">
                        <a class="nav-link text-dark" asp-area="" asp-controller="Beta" asp-action="Index">Beta</a>
                    <li class="nav-item">
                        <a class="nav-link text-dark" asp-area="" asp-controller="Home" asp-action="Privacy">Privacy</a>
  12. Create a Beta directory under Views and add Index.cshtml to it:

        ViewData["Title"] = "Beta Home Page";
        This is the beta website.

Build and run the app locally

  1. To build the app by using the .NET Core CLI, run the following command in the command shell:

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

    dotnet run
  3. Open a browser window, and go to https://localhost:5000, which is the default URL for the web app hosted locally. If you're working in the Azure Cloud Shell, select the Web Preview button followed by Configure. When prompted, select port 5000.

    Locate the Web Preview button

    Your browser should display a page similar to the image below. 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 Feature Manager, and change the state of the Beta key to On.

  6. Return to the command prompt and cancel the running dotnet process by pressing Ctrl-C. Restart your application using dotnet run.

  7. Refresh the browser page to see the new configuration settings.

    Quickstart app launch local

Clean up resources

If you plan to continue to the next tutorial, keep the resources you created in this quickstart for that you can reuse them.

If you're finished with the quickstart sample application, delete the Azure resources you created in this quickstart to avoid charges.


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 hosting this sample inside a resource group that contains 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, and either right-click the row or use the ellipsis (...) button to open the context menu.
  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 quickstart, you created a new App Configuration store and used it to manage features in an ASP.NET Core web app via the Feature Management libraries.