Integrating a feature with the Origin Trials framework

To expose your feature via the origin trials framework, there are a few code changes required.

Code Changes

Runtime Enabled Features

First, you’ll need to configure runtime_enabled_features.json5. This is explained in the file, but you use origin_trial_feature_name to associate your runtime feature flag with a name for your origin trial. The name can be the same as your runtime feature flag, or different. Eventually, this configured name will be used in the Origin Trials developer console (still under development). You can have both status: experimental and origin_trial_feature_name if you want your feature to be enabled either by using the --enable-experimental-web-platform-features flag or the origin trial.

You may have a feature that is not available on all platforms, or need to limit the trial to specific platforms. Use origin_trial_os: [list] to specify which platforms will allow the trial to be enabled. The list values are case- insensitive, but must match one of the defined OS_<platform> macros (see build_config.h).


Flag name and trial name are the same:

  name: "MyFeature",
  origin_trial_feature_name: "MyFeature",
  status: "experimental",

Flag name and trial name are different:

  name: "MyFeature",
  origin_trial_feature_name: "MyFeatureTrial",
  status: "experimental",

Trial limited to specific platform:

  name: "MyFeature",
  origin_trial_feature_name: "MyFeature",
  origin_trial_os: ["android"],
  status: "experimental",

Gating Access

Once configured, there are two mechanisms to gate access to your feature behind an origin trial. You can use either mechanism, or both, as appropriate to your feature implementation.

  1. A native C++ method that you can call in Blink code at runtime to expose your feature: bool OriginTrials::myFeatureEnabled()
  2. An IDL attribute [OriginTrialEnabled] that you can use to automatically generate code to expose and hide JavaScript methods/attributes/objects. This attribute works very similarly to [RuntimeEnabled].
partial interface Navigator {
     readonly attribute MyFeatureManager myFeature;

NOTE: Your feature implementation must not persist the result of the enabled check. Your code should simply call OriginTrials::myFeatureEnabled() as often as necessary to gate access to your feature.


What you can‘t do, because of the nature of these Origin Trials, is know at either browser or renderer startup time whether your feature is going to be used in the current page/context. This means that if you require lots of expensive processing to begin (say you index the user’s hard drive, or scan an entire city for interesting weather patterns,) that you will have to either do it on browser startup for all users, just in case it's used, or do it on first access. (If you go with first access, then only people trying the experiment will notice the delay, and hopefully only the first time they use it.). We are investigating providing a method like OriginTrials::myFeatureShouldInitialize() that will hint if you should do startup initialization. For example, this could include checks for trials that have been revoked (or throttled) due to usage, if the entire origin trials framework has been disabled, etc. The method would be conservative and assume initialization is required, but it could avoid expensive startup in some known scenarios.

Similarly, if you need to know in the browser process whether a feature should be enabled, then you will have to either have the renderer inform it at runtime, or else just assume that it's always enabled, and gate access to the feature from the renderer.


To test an origin trial feature during development, follow these steps:

  1. Use to generate a token signed with the test private key. You can generate signed tokens for any origin that you need to help you test, including localhost or Example:

    tools/origin_trials/ http://localhost:8000 MyFeature
  2. Copy the token from the end of the output and use it in a <meta> tag or an Origin-Trial header as described in the Developer Guide.

  3. Run Chrome with the test public key by passing: --origin-trial-public-key=dRCs+TocuKkocNKa0AtZ4awrt9XKH2SQCI6o4FY6BNA=

The --origin-trial-public-key switch is not needed with content_shell, as it uses the test public key by default.

The test private key is stored in the repo at tools/origin_trials/eftest.key. It's also used by Origin Trials unit tests and web tests.

If you cannot set command-line switches (e.g., on Chrome OS), you can also directly modify

Web Tests

When using the [OriginTrialEnabled] IDL attribute, you should add web tests to verify that the V8 bindings code is working as expected. Depending on how your feature is exposed, you'll want tests for the exposed interfaces, as well as tests for script-added tokens. For examples, refer to the existing tests in origin_trials/webexposed.