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Get started with Firebase Remote Config

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You can use Firebase Remote Config to define parameters in your app and update their values in the cloud, allowing you to modify the appearance and behavior of your app without distributing an app update. This guide walks you through the steps to get started and provides some sample code, all of which is available to clone or download from the firebase/quickstart-android GitHub repository.

Step 1: Add Firebase and the Remote Config SDK to your app

  1. If you haven't already, add Firebase to your Android project.

  2. For Remote Config, Google Analytics is required for the conditional targeting of app instances to user properties and audiences. Make sure that you enable Google Analytics in your project.

  3. In your module (app-level) Gradle file (usually <project>/<app-module>/build.gradle), add the dependency for the Remote Config Android library. We recommend using the Firebase Android BoM to control library versioning.

    Also, as part of setting up Analytics, you need to add the Firebase SDK for Google Analytics to your app.

    Java

    dependencies {
        // Import the BoM for the Firebase platform
        implementation platform('com.google.firebase:firebase-bom:31.1.1')
    
        // Add the dependencies for the Remote Config and Analytics libraries
        // When using the BoM, you don't specify versions in Firebase library dependencies
        implementation 'com.google.firebase:firebase-config'
        implementation 'com.google.firebase:firebase-analytics'
    }
    

    By using the Firebase Android BoM, your app will always use compatible versions of Firebase Android libraries.

    (Alternative) Add Firebase library dependencies without using the BoM

    If you choose not to use the Firebase BoM, you must specify each Firebase library version in its dependency line.

    Note that if you use multiple Firebase libraries in your app, we strongly recommend using the BoM to manage library versions, which ensures that all versions are compatible.

    dependencies {
        // Add the dependencies for the Remote Config and Analytics libraries
        // When NOT using the BoM, you must specify versions in Firebase library dependencies
        implementation 'com.google.firebase:firebase-config:21.2.0'
        implementation 'com.google.firebase:firebase-analytics:21.2.0'
    }
    

    Kotlin+KTX

    dependencies {
        // Import the BoM for the Firebase platform
        implementation platform('com.google.firebase:firebase-bom:31.1.1')
    
        // Add the dependencies for the Remote Config and Analytics libraries
        // When using the BoM, you don't specify versions in Firebase library dependencies
        implementation 'com.google.firebase:firebase-config-ktx'
        implementation 'com.google.firebase:firebase-analytics-ktx'
    }
    

    By using the Firebase Android BoM, your app will always use compatible versions of Firebase Android libraries.

    (Alternative) Add Firebase library dependencies without using the BoM

    If you choose not to use the Firebase BoM, you must specify each Firebase library version in its dependency line.

    Note that if you use multiple Firebase libraries in your app, we strongly recommend using the BoM to manage library versions, which ensures that all versions are compatible.

    dependencies {
        // Add the dependencies for the Remote Config and Analytics libraries
        // When NOT using the BoM, you must specify versions in Firebase library dependencies
        implementation 'com.google.firebase:firebase-config-ktx:21.2.0'
        implementation 'com.google.firebase:firebase-analytics-ktx:21.2.0'
    }
    

Step 2: Get the Remote Config singleton object

Get a Remote Config object instance and set the minimum fetch interval to allow for frequent refreshes:

Java

FirebaseRemoteConfig mFirebaseRemoteConfig = FirebaseRemoteConfig.getInstance();
FirebaseRemoteConfigSettings configSettings = new FirebaseRemoteConfigSettings.Builder()
        .setMinimumFetchIntervalInSeconds(3600)
        .build();
mFirebaseRemoteConfig.setConfigSettingsAsync(configSettings);

Kotlin+KTX

val remoteConfig: FirebaseRemoteConfig = Firebase.remoteConfig
val configSettings = remoteConfigSettings {
    minimumFetchIntervalInSeconds = 3600
}
remoteConfig.setConfigSettingsAsync(configSettings)

The singleton object is used to store in-app default parameter values, fetch updated parameter values from the backend, and control when fetched values are made available to your app.

During development, it's recommended to set a relatively low minimum fetch interval. See Throttling for more information.

Step 3: Set in-app default parameter values

You can set in-app default parameter values in the Remote Config object, so that your app behaves as intended before it connects to the Remote Config backend, and so that default values are available if none are set in the backend.

  1. Define a set of parameter names and default parameter values using a Map object or an XML resource file stored in your app's res/xml folder. The Remote Config quickstart sample app uses an XML file to define default parameter names and values.

    If you have already configured Remote Config backend parameter values, you can download a generated XML file that includes all default values and save it to your app's res/xml directory:

    REST

    curl --compressed -D headers -H "Authorization: Bearer token -X GET https://firebaseremoteconfig.googleapis.com/v1/projects/my-project-id/remoteConfig:downloadDefaults?format=XML -o remote_config_defaults.xml
    

    Firebase console

    1. In the Parameters tab, open the Menu, and select Download default values.

    2. When prompted, enable .xml for Android, then click Download file.

  2. Add these values to the Remote Config object using setDefaultsAsync(int), as shown:

    Java

    mFirebaseRemoteConfig.setDefaultsAsync(R.xml.remote_config_defaults);

    Kotlin+KTX

    remoteConfig.setDefaultsAsync(R.xml.remote_config_defaults)

Step 4: Get parameter values to use in your app

Now you can get parameter values from the Remote Config object. If you set values in the backend, fetch them, and then activate them, those values are available to your app. Otherwise, you get the in-app parameter values configured using setDefaultsAsync(int). To get these values, call the method listed below that maps to the data type expected by your app, providing the parameter key as an argument:

Step 5: Set parameter values in the Remote Config backend

Using the Firebase console or the Remote Config backend APIs, you can create new server-side default values that override the in-app values according to your desired conditional logic or user targeting. This section describes the Firebase console steps to create these values.

  1. In the Firebase console, open your project.
  2. Select Remote Config from the menu to view the Remote Config dashboard.
  3. Define parameters with the same names as the parameters that you defined in your app. For each parameter, you can set a default value (which will eventually override the corresponding in-app default value), and you can also set conditional values. To learn more, see Remote Config Parameters and Conditions.

Step 6: Fetch and activate values

  1. To fetch parameter values from the Remote Config backend, call the fetch() method. Any values that you set in the backend are fetched and stored in the Remote Config object.
  2. To make fetched parameter values available to your app, call the activate() method.

    For cases where you want to fetch and activate values in one call, you can use a fetchAndActivate() request to fetch values from the Remote Config backend and make them available to the app:

    Java

    mFirebaseRemoteConfig.fetchAndActivate()
            .addOnCompleteListener(this, new OnCompleteListener<Boolean>() {
                @Override
                public void onComplete(@NonNull Task<Boolean> task) {
                    if (task.isSuccessful()) {
                        boolean updated = task.getResult();
                        Log.d(TAG, "Config params updated: " + updated);
                        Toast.makeText(MainActivity.this, "Fetch and activate succeeded",
                                Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();
    
                    } else {
                        Toast.makeText(MainActivity.this, "Fetch failed",
                                Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();
                    }
                    displayWelcomeMessage();
                }
            });

    Kotlin+KTX

    remoteConfig.fetchAndActivate()
        .addOnCompleteListener(this) { task ->
            if (task.isSuccessful) {
                val updated = task.result
                Log.d(TAG, "Config params updated: $updated")
                Toast.makeText(this, "Fetch and activate succeeded",
                    Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show()
            } else {
                Toast.makeText(this, "Fetch failed",
                    Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show()
            }
            displayWelcomeMessage()
        }

Because these updated parameter values affect the behavior and appearance of your app, you should activate the fetched values at a time that ensures a smooth experience for your user, such as the next time that the user opens your app. See Remote Config loading strategies for more information and examples.

Throttling

If an app fetches too many times in a short time period, fetch calls are throttled and the SDK returns FirebaseRemoteConfigFetchThrottledException. Before SDK version 17.0.0, the limit was 5 fetch requests in a 60 minute window (newer versions have more permissive limits).

During app development, you might want to fetch and activate configs very frequently (many times per hour) to let you rapidly iterate as you develop and test your app. To accommodate rapid iteration on a project with up to 10 developers, you can temporarily set a FirebaseRemoteConfigSettings object with a low minimum fetch interval (setMinimumFetchIntervalInSeconds) in your app.

The default minimum fetch interval for Remote Config is 12 hours, which means that configs won't be fetched from the backend more than once in a 12 hour window, regardless of how many fetch calls are actually made. Specifically, the minimum fetch interval is determined in this following order:

  1. The parameter in fetch(long)
  2. The parameter in FirebaseRemoteConfigSettings.setMinimumFetchIntervalInSeconds(long)
  3. The default value of 12 hours

To set the minimum fetch interval to a custom value, use FirebaseRemoteConfigSettings.Builder.setMinimumFetchIntervalInSeconds(long).

Next steps

If you haven't already, explore the Remote Config use cases, and take a look at some of the key concepts and advanced strategies documentation, including: