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Environment Variables

Environment variables allow you to provide runtime configuration to your application which can be updated without having to modify your source code.

You can use them to keep secrets and other sensitive values like database credentials out of your code base.

Note: Adding or modifying a environment will cause the application to restart on the affected device/s.

Resin provides two kinds of environment variables: application-wide and per-device.


Environment variables defined on the application level are available to the code on any device running this application — unless they are redefined with the per-device environment variable of the same name.


Per-device environment variables are available to the code running on the particular device. If both the application and the device have an environment variable of the same name, the code on this device will see the value of the per-device environment variables. In other words, per-device environment variables redefine (or override) application-wide environment variables of the same name.

It's important to understand that the device environment variable doesn't have to correspond to some application-wide environment variable.

Managing from the Application Page

Application Page

The application page has an "Environment variables" tab containing the list of all application-wide environment variables.

Here you can modify or delete any variable. Changes are saved automatically, so you just have to edit the value.

Each variable row in the list has an expandable region where you see per-device redefines of this variable, can edit, reset them (the Reset button deletes the redefining per-device variable which automatically makes the application-wide variable seen by the device), or add a new redefine by choosing one of the remaining devices from the drop-down selector.

Note: Deleting an application-wide variable will not delete any of its device-specific redefines.

Below the list you have the option to create a new environment variable.

Finally, if there are any device-specific variables that are not application-wide variables' redefines (i.e. don't have an application-wide variable of the same name) they will be shown at the bottom of the page.

Note: These variables are only visible to the devices where they are defined.

There's a convenience Define button that will allow you creating the application-wide variable of the same name that will serve as default for all the devices of this application.

The counter next to the variable name shows the number of devices that have this variable defined. Clicking on it will reveal the full list of these devices.

Managing from the Device Page

Device Page

The device page also has the "Environment variables" tab. It's slightly more complicated than the application page and consists of 4 sections:

  1. the list of this particular device's environment variables
  2. the form to create a new variable
  3. the list of other environment variables from the device's application
  4. the list of other environment variables defined for other devices of this application (but not for this device and not for the application).

The first list (device environment variables) is pretty straightforward. You can edit variables' values, or delete them.

Note: Redefines (the variables that match the application-wide variable by name) are identified and their deletion button reads "Reset". That's because when you delete the redefine the variable is still defined on the application level, and that value becomes unmasked and visible to the code running on your device.

The second form (new variable) is straightforward as well, you type the name and value and save it. The name field has autosuggest feature based on the variables from the third list.

The third list (application variables) is pretty usable because it gives you comprehensive understanding of which variables are actually visible to the code running on this device. It shows all the remaining application-wide variables — those that are not redefined for this device. There's also a convenience Redefine button should you want to redefine some of them.

The fourth list gives you an idea of specific variables defined for other application's devices. It's the same as the one on the application page.

Note: The variables from the fourth list are not visible to this device. We show them in case you want to define the same variable for the device.

Managing with the CLI & SDK

The CLI and SDKs all include methods to easily read, add or update environment variables. Consult the appropriate reference for code examples.