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Get started with Firebase Remote Config on Android

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.

Add Firebase to your app

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

    When installing the Android SDK, you have the option of adding the dependency for Analytics. Analytics is required for Remote Config's conditional targeting of app instances to user properties, audiences, and Firebase Predictions.

Get the Remote Config singleton object

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

Java

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

Kotlin

remoteConfig = FirebaseRemoteConfig.getInstance()
val configSettings = FirebaseRemoteConfigSettings.Builder()
        .setMinimumFetchIntervalInSeconds(3600)
        .build()
remoteConfig.setConfigSettingsAsync(configSettings)

The singleton object is used to store in-app default parameter values, fetch updated parameter values from the service, 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.

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 service, and so that default values are available if none are set in the service.

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

Java

mFirebaseRemoteConfig.setDefaultsAsync(R.xml.remote_config_defaults);

Kotlin

remoteConfig.setDefaultsAsync(R.xml.remote_config_defaults)

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 Remote Config service, 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:

Set parameter values in the service

Using the Firebase console or the Remote Config REST API, you can create new service-side default values that override the in-app values according to your desired conditional logic or user targeting. This section walks you through 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.

Fetch and activate values from the service

  1. To fetch parameter values from the Remote Config service, call the fetch() method. Any values that you set in the Remote Config service 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

    remoteConfig.fetchAndActivate()
            .addOnCompleteListener(this) { task ->
                if (task.isSuccessful) {
                    val updated = task.getResult()
                    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: