App Environment and Config


Factor provides a robust configuration system that works in harmony with most common approaches. Below we'll discuss the approach and conventions to setting up Factor config.

3 Types of Config Files

  • Public Configfactor-config.json
    Publicly accessible configuration for your application. Including admin users, public API keys, etc.
  • Private Config.env
    A standard way of storing your private keys and information (powered by Dotenv). Anything here gets translated to "environmental variables" when you are running your app.
  • Customizationfactor-settings.js
    The customization engine for your plugins, themes, etc. This is where you'll change text, set plugin options, override components, etc.

Secrets with Dotenv

Factor uses the popular Dotenv system to help you manage your private keys and app information.

All variables added to your .env file will be translated to environmental variables and capable of being accessed in Factor either through process.env or Factor.$config.

# .env
// Available server only
process.env.MY_VAL // "VAL"
Factor.$config.setting("MY_VAL") // "VAL"

Note: .env files should never be added to source control. Environmental variables should be setup and managed manually for each server environment.

App Config: factor-config.json

Factor config is where publicly accessible configuration for your app should be stored. This file is structured so that you can optionally load in different config values based on your app's environment (NODE_ENV and FACTOR_ENV)

  • Base config values are loaded across all environments
  • If you set development or production keys, the corresponding objects will be loaded and merged for NODE_ENV=development or NODE_ENV=production respectively
  • Any keys matching the value of FACTOR_ENV, will load be loaded and merged with global and NODE_ENV config (FACTOR_ENV defaults to the value of NODE_ENV)

Config object example:

  "my_global_setting": "value",
  "development": {
    "my_development_setting": "value"
  "production": {
    "my_production_setting": "value"
  "testing": {
    "my_development_setting": "override_value"

Factor Environments

Factor supports two environment "types." One which we'll call the build environment uses the reserved NODE_ENV environmental variable and only supports two values: development and production.

The other supports these two values plus additional values which may or not "inherit" from others. For example, "testing" or "staging" might inherit from the development configuration but change certain values.

Build Environment


The two build environments determine how to build and bundle your app:

  • development
    • Optimized for development and debugging
    • If you run factor develop, then you will be in the development build environment.
  • production
    • Optimized for size and speed
    • If you run factor build or factor serve, then you will be in the "production" build environment.

Factor Environment


The Factor environment is used to determine the behavior of Factor across different environments. For example, in production, development, testing, staging, etc..

To create a new environment, simply add the key to the config object inside the config.json or .secrets.json files.

  • The value of this variable defaults to the same value as NODE_ENV.
  • The configuration values for FACTOR_ENV are merged with the configuration values for NODE_ENV.

To run Factor using a custom environment, just use the --ENV option in the CLI. For example:

# This will run NODE_ENV=development and FACTOR_ENV=testing
$ yarn factor dev --ENV=testing

# This will run NODE_ENV=production and FACTOR_ENV=heroku
$ yarn factor serve production --ENV=heroku

Using Config Values

Getting Values

In your code you can easily retrieve configuration values using Factor's $config.setting() function. Example:

// config.js
  "config": {
    "my_value": 123
// In your code
const myVariable = Factor.$config.setting("my_value") // 123

// Inside Factor components
const myVariable = this.$config.setting("my_value") // 123
<!-- Inside Templates -->
<my-component :value="$config.setting('my_value')"></my-component>

Dot Notation

When referencing variables, we use a dot notation to help translate between JS objects and text references to values. A dot represents a key-value relationship. Therefore, a key defined in config.json may be created like this:

  "config": {
    "FOO": {
      "BAR": true

and referenced like this in code:

const myVar = Factor.$config.setting("FOO.BAR")

When adding environmental variables to hosts, it might not be conventient to work with nested values. In those cases you can set your env variables with the "." and Factor will return those.

Dotenv and process.env

A common tool used for configuration is what is known as .env files or dotenv. Although you'll have to implement this on your own, configuration works well with this approach.

In the trusted server environment, Factor simply integrates process.env into the merged configuration object that is accessed using the standard Factor.$config.setting().

# .env
// Node (trusted environment)
const dbConnectionInfo = {
  user: Factor.$config.setting("DB_USER")
  password: Factor.$config.setting("DB_PASS")