How to customize WildFly using Env variables

In this article, we will learn how to leverage environment variables to modify and optimize WildFly configurations. We will explore first how to pass environment variables to a basic WildFly configuration. Then, in the next article we will show a common use case for this feature which is Cloud provisioning of WildFly.

Passing environment variables to WildFly

Firstly, it is worth mentioning that you can easily plug in environment variables, in places where the WildFly Model allows it, by using the env expression. For example, to use the environment variable “jbossport” as primary reference for the http port:

<socket-binding name="http" port="${env.jbossport:8080}"/>

This article covers more in details the process: How to use environment variables in WildFly configuration

On the other hand, it is also possible to export environment variables in your configuration without actually changing it. This is especially useful in the following scenarios:

  1. Extended Attribute Control: You can use possible to alter WildFly model attributes lacking defined expressions.
  2. Dynamic Configurations for External Services: Certain attributes like databases might not work well with predefined values or they might be unsuitable for direct configuration storage. Leveraging environment variables allows deferring configuration of such attributes completely outside of WildFly configuration.

Translating Environment Variables into Properties

In order to use plain environment variables into WildFly configuration we must answer a basic question: how do you translate environment variables into a Model attribute ? there is a procedure which drives the translation:

  1. Identify the Attribute: Determine the path of the resource and attribute you intend to change. For instance, altering the default-timeout attribute for the /subsystem=transactions.
  2. Create Environment Variable Mapping: To create an environment variable for overriding this attribute:
    • Remove the initial slash (/) from the resource address.
    • Append __ followed by the attribute name.
    • Replace non-alphanumeric characters with underscores (_) and convert the entire line to uppercase. For example, /subsystem=transactions:write-attribute(default-timeout) becomes SUBSYSTEM_TRANSACTIONS__DEFAULT_TIMEOUT.
  3. Set the Environment Value: Assign the desired value to the environment variable. For instance, SUBSYSTEM_TRANSACTIONS__DEFAULT_TIMEOUT=450.

Let’s see another more complex example taken from the docs:




Before trying the variable injection, you must be aware that this procedure is enabled by default only in the OpenShift cloud profile. If you are running a bare metal WildFly, you need to set the WILDFLY_OVERRIDING_ENV_VARS environment variable to any value.

For example:


Besides, keep in mind that that management attributes with types LIST, OBJECT, or PROPERTY cannot be overridden using this method.

Testing environment variables injection

In order to test the expression resolver, before starting WildFly we will set the following properties:


Then, start WildFly with any configuration:


As you can see, by querying the transaction timeout attribute the value is now available in the server configuration:

wildfly configuration environment variables


This article was a walkthrough of how you can translate environment variables into WildFly configuration without manual changes in it. In the next tutorial of this series we will show how to apply this pattern in the most common use case which is Cloud provisioning of WIldFly