Guides
Flightcontrol
Environment Variables

Using Environment Variables with IaC Projects

Flightcontrol supports setting environment variables for your projects configured with the flightcontrol.json file.

Because we've found that our users need a lot of flexibility when it comes to setting environment variables, we supply several different ways to configure them.

  • In the dashboard
  • In the flightcontrol.json file

Read on to learn more about each of these methods.

Setting Environment Variables in the Dashboard

Although you may be using flightcontrol.json to configure your project, you can still set environment variables in the dashboard. These values will be merged with the values in flightcontrol.json, but will not override any values set in the configuration file.

Setting Environment Variables in flightcontrol.json

Within your flightcontrol.json file, you can set environment variables with the envVariables property. This property is an object, which can be placed at one of three levels:

  • The top level (for the entire project)
  • For an individual environment
  • For an individual service within an environment.

Example Environment Variables Configuration

In the following example, we set two environment variables on the web-server service - one for the app environment, and one as the database connection URL, pulled in from the db service.

flightcontrol.json
    "services": [
        {
            "id": "web-server",
            "name": "Web Server",
            "type": "web",
            "target": {"type": "fargate"},
            "buildType": "nixpacks",
            "cpu": 0.5,
            "memory": 1,
            "minInstances": 1,
            "maxInstances": 1,
            "envVariables": {
                "APP_ENV": "production",
                "DATABASE_URL": {
                    "fromService": {
                        "id": "db",
                        "value": "dbConnectionString"
                    }
                }
            }
        },
        {
          "id": "db",
          "name": "Database",
          "type": "rds",
          "engine": "postgres",
          "engineVersion": "15",
          "instanceSize": "db.t4g.micro",
          "storage": 20,
          "private": false
        }
    ]

Runtime-only Environment Variables in flightcontrol.json

For each service in your flightcontrol.json file, you can set the includeEnvVariablesInBuild property to true or false. This property is true by default. To enable runtime-only behavior, set this property to false.

{
  "services": [
    {
      "id": "webapp",
      "name": "Web App",
      "type": "web",
      "target": {"type": "fargate"},
      "buildType": "nixpacks",
      "cpu": 0.5,
      "memory": 1,
      "minInstances": 1,
      "maxInstances": 2,
      "envVariables": {
        "SECRET_API_KEY": "ABC-123"
      },
      "includeEnvVariablesInBuild": false
    }
  ]
}

Different Types of Environment Variables

Due to the number of different ways you can set environment variables, we've broken them down into different types.

Static Environment Variables

These are hard coded values in the flightcontrol.json file.

  • Format: "NAME": "<value>"
  • Example:
"APP_ENV": "production"

Environment Variables from another service

These are very useful when making connections between services - for instance, when you need to connect to a database from your web server. Or if you need to connect to your API Server from your static Single Page Application build.

  • Format: "NAME": {"fromService": {"id": "<serviceId>", value: "<value>"}}
  • Example:
"USER_DATABASE_URL": {
    "fromService": {
        "id": "db",
        "value": "dbConnectionString"
    }
}

The following sections contain the specific environment variables you can pull from each service type.

From Database Services

  • dbConnectionString will be the connection URL for the database instance: postgres://username:password@host:port/dbName
  • username, password, host, port will be the individual connection information for the database instance
Additionally, for Database Preview Environments
  • dbName will be the name of the database
  • dbEngine will be the database engine (postgres, mysql, etc)

From Redis Services

  • connectionString will be the connection URL for the Redis instance: rediss://www.example.com:6379
  • authToken, host, port will be the individual connection information for the primary ElastiCache node
  • readerConnectionString, readerHost, readerPort will contain the connection information to split connections evenly between the read replica nodes in the ElastiCache cluster (with cluster mode disabled)

From Web and Static Services

  • host will include the service URL without protocol: www.example.com
  • origin will include the service URL with protocol: https://www.example.com

Environment Variables from Parameter Store

Securely retrieve the value from AWS Parameter Store (opens in a new tab). Parameter Store is a free AWS service for securely storing secrets.

Important: Your parameter store item must be in the same AWS region as your service

  • Format: "NAME": {"fromParameterStore": "<parameterStoreItemName>"}
  • Example:
"STRIPE_API_KEY": {
    "fromParameterStore": "ACME_STRIPE_API_KEY"
}

Creating a Parameter on the AWS Parameter Store: Creating a Parameter on the AWS Parameter Store

Environment Variables from Secrets Manager

Securely retrieve the value from AWS Secrets Manager (opens in a new tab). Secrets Manager is a paid AWS service for securely storing secrets. It costs $0.40/secret/month

  • Format: "NAME": {"fromSecretsManager": "<arn:your-secret-arn>"}
  • Example:
"STRIPE_API_KEY": {
    "fromSecretsManager": "arn:aws:secretsmanager:us-west-1:832786265645:secret:/stripe-y6uINZ"
}

Environment Variables set by Flightcontrol

Flightcontrol sets several environment variables for your project, which you can use during builds or runtime for your application.

For a complete list of the environment variables set by Flightcontrol that your project can use, see the Built-in Environment Variables section of the Environment Variables docs.