The AWS Cloud Development Kit (AWS CDK) is an open-source software development framework to model and provision your cloud application resources using familiar programming languages.

The post CDK Pipelines: Continuous delivery for AWS CDK applications showed how you can use CDK Pipelines to deploy a TypeScript-based AWS Lambda function. In that post, you learned how to add additional build commands to the pipeline to compile the TypeScript code to JavaScript, which is needed to create the Lambda deployment package.

In this post, we dive deeper into how you can perform these build commands as part of your AWS CDK build process by using the native AWS CDK bundling functionality.

If you’re working with Python, TypeScript, or JavaScript-based Lambda functions, you may already be familiar with the PythonFunction and NodejsFunction constructs, which use the bundling functionality. This post describes how to write your own bundling logic for instances where a higher-level construct either doesn’t already exist or doesn’t meet your needs. To illustrate this, I walk through two different examples: a Lambda function written in Golang and a static site created with Nuxt.js.

Concepts

A typical CI/CD pipeline contains steps to build and compile your source code, bundle it into a deployable artifact, push it to artifact stores, and deploy to an environment. In this post, we focus on the building, compiling, and bundling stages of the pipeline.

The AWS CDK has the concept of bundling source code into a deployable artifact. As of this writing, this works for two main types of assets: Docker images published to Amazon Elastic Container Registry (Amazon ECR) and files published to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). For files published to Amazon S3, this can be as simple as pointing to a local file or directory, which the AWS CDK uploads to Amazon S3 for you.

When you build an AWS CDK application (by running cdk synth), a cloud assembly is produced. The cloud assembly consists of a set of files and directories that define your deployable AWS CDK application. In the context of the AWS CDK, it might include the following:

  • AWS CloudFormation templates and instructions on where to deploy them
  • Dockerfiles, corresponding application source code, and information about where to build and push the images to
  • File assets and information about which S3 buckets to upload the files to

Use case

For this use case, our application consists of front-end and backend components. The example code is available in the GitHub repo. In the repository, I have split the example into two separate AWS CDK applications. The repo also contains the Golang Lambda example app and the Nuxt.js static site.

Golang Lambda function

To create a Golang-based Lambda function, you must first create a Lambda function deployment package. For Go, this consists of a .zip file containing a Go executable. Because we don’t commit the Go executable to our source repository, our CI/CD pipeline must perform the necessary steps to create it.

In the context of the AWS CDK, when we create a Lambda function, we have to tell the AWS CDK where to find the deployment package. See the following code:

new lambda.Function(this, 'MyGoFunction', {
  runtime: lambda.Runtime.GO_1_X,
  handler: 'main',
  code: lambda.Code.fromAsset(path.join(__dirname, 'folder-containing-go-executable')),
});

In the preceding code, the lambda.Code.fromAsset() method tells the AWS CDK where to find the Golang executable. When we run cdk synth, it stages this Go executable in the cloud assembly, which it zips and publishes to Amazon S3 as part of the PublishAssets stage.

If we’re running the AWS CDK as part of a CI/CD pipeline, this executable doesn’t exist yet, so how do we create it? One method is CDK bundling. The lambda.Code.fromAsset() method takes a second optional argument, AssetOptions, which contains the bundling parameter. With this bundling parameter, we can tell the AWS CDK to perform steps prior to staging the files in the cloud assembly.

Breaking down the BundlingOptions parameter further, we can perform the build inside a Docker container or locally.

Building inside a Docker container

For this to work, we need to make sure that we have Docker running on our build machine. In AWS CodeBuild, this means setting privileged: true. See the following code:

new lambda.Function(this, 'MyGoFunction', {
  code: lambda.Code.fromAsset(path.join(__dirname, 'folder-containing-source-code'), {
    bundling: {
      image: lambda.Runtime.GO_1_X.bundlingDockerImage,
      command: [
        'bash', '-c', [
          'go test -v',
          'GOOS=linux go build -o /asset-output/main',
      ].join(' && '),
    },
  })
  ...
});

We specify two parameters:

  • image (required) – The Docker image to perform the build commands in
  • command (optional) – The command to run within the container

The AWS CDK mounts the folder specified as the first argument to fromAsset at /asset-input inside the container, and mounts the asset output directory (where the cloud assembly is staged) at /asset-output inside the container.

After we perform the build commands, we need to make sure we copy the Golang executable to the /asset-output location (or specify it as the build output location like in the preceding example).

This is the equivalent of running something like the following code:

docker run \
  --rm \
  -v folder-containing-source-code:/asset-input \
  -v cdk.out/asset.1234a4b5/:/asset-output \
  lambci/lambda:build-go1.x \
  bash -c 'GOOS=linux go build -o /asset-output/main'

Building locally

To build locally (not in a Docker container), we have to provide the local parameter. See the following code:

new lambda.Function(this, 'MyGoFunction', {
  code: lambda.Code.fromAsset(path.join(__dirname, 'folder-containing-source-code'), {
    bundling: {
      image: lambda.Runtime.GO_1_X.bundlingDockerImage,
      command: [],
      local: {
        tryBundle(outputDir: string) {
          try {
            spawnSync('go version')
          } catch {
            return false
          }           spawnSync(`GOOS=linux go build -o ${path.join(outputDir, 'main')}`);
          return true
        },
      },
    },
  })
  ...
});

The local parameter must implement the ILocalBundling interface. The tryBundle method is passed the asset output directory, and expects you to return a boolean (true or false). If you return true, the AWS CDK doesn’t try to perform Docker bundling. If you return false, it falls back to Docker bundling. Just like with Docker bundling, you must make sure that you place the Go executable in the outputDir.

Typically, you should perform some validation steps to ensure that you have the required dependencies installed locally to perform the build. This could be checking to see if you have go installed, or checking a specific version of go. This can be useful if you don’t have control over what type of build environment this might run in (for example, if you’re building a construct to be consumed by others).

If we run cdk synth on this, we see a new message telling us that the AWS CDK is bundling the asset. If we include additional commands like go test, we also see the output of those commands. This is especially useful if you wanted to fail a build if tests failed. See the following code:

$ cdk synth
Bundling asset GolangLambdaStack/MyGoFunction/Code/Stage...
✓  . (9ms)
✓  clients (5ms) DONE 8 tests in 11.476s
✓  clients (5ms) (coverage: 84.6% of statements)
✓  . (6ms) (coverage: 78.4% of statements) DONE 8 tests in 2.464s

Cloud Assembly

If we look at the cloud assembly that was generated (located at cdk.out), we see something like the following code:

$ cdk synth
Bundling asset GolangLambdaStack/MyGoFunction/Code/Stage...
✓  . (9ms)
✓  clients (5ms) DONE 8 tests in 11.476s
✓  clients (5ms) (coverage: 84.6% of statements)
✓  . (6ms) (coverage: 78.4% of statements) DONE 8 tests in 2.464s

It contains our GolangLambdaStack CloudFormation template that defines our Lambda function, as well as our Golang executable, bundled at asset.01cf34ff646d380829dc4f2f6fc93995b13277bde7db81c24ac8500a83a06952/main.

Let’s look at how the AWS CDK uses this information. The GolangLambdaStack.assets.json file contains all the information necessary for the AWS CDK to know where and how to publish our assets (in this use case, our Golang Lambda executable). See the following code:

{
  "version": "5.0.0",
  "files": {
    "01cf34ff646d380829dc4f2f6fc93995b13277bde7db81c24ac8500a83a06952": {
      "source": {
        "path": "asset.01cf34ff646d380829dc4f2f6fc93995b13277bde7db81c24ac8500a83a06952",
        "packaging": "zip"
      },
      "destinations": {
        "current_account-current_region": {
          "bucketName": "cdk-hnb659fds-assets-${AWS::AccountId}-${AWS::Region}",
          "objectKey": "01cf34ff646d380829dc4f2f6fc93995b13277bde7db81c24ac8500a83a06952.zip",
          "assumeRoleArn": "arn:${AWS::Partition}:iam::${AWS::AccountId}:role/cdk-hnb659fds-file-publishing-role-${AWS::AccountId}-${AWS::Region}"
        }
      }
    }
  }
}

The file contains information about where to find the source files (source.path) and what type of packaging (source.packaging). It also tells the AWS CDK where to publish this .zip file (bucketName and objectKey) and what AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) role to use (assumeRoleArn). In this use case, we only deploy to a single account and Region, but if you have multiple accounts or Regions, you see multiple destinations in this file.

The GolangLambdaStack.template.json file that defines our Lambda resource looks something like the following code:

{
  "Resources": {
    "MyGoFunction0AB33E85": {
      "Type": "AWS::Lambda::Function",
      "Properties": {
        "Code": {
          "S3Bucket": {
            "Fn::Sub": "cdk-hnb659fds-assets-${AWS::AccountId}-${AWS::Region}"
          },
          "S3Key": "01cf34ff646d380829dc4f2f6fc93995b13277bde7db81c24ac8500a83a06952.zip"
        },
        "Handler": "main",
        ...
      }
    },
    ...
  }
}

The S3Bucket and S3Key match the bucketName and objectKey from the assets.json file. By default, the S3Key is generated by calculating a hash of the folder location that you pass to lambda.Code.fromAsset(), (for this post, folder-containing-source-code). This means that any time we update our source code, this calculated hash changes and a new Lambda function deployment is triggered.

Nuxt.js static site

In this section, I walk through building a static site using the Nuxt.js framework. You can apply the same logic to any static site framework that requires you to run a build step prior to deploying.

To deploy this static site, we use the BucketDeployment construct. This is a construct that allows you to populate an S3 bucket with the contents of .zip files from other S3 buckets or from a local disk.

Typically, we simply tell the BucketDeployment construct where to find the files that it needs to deploy to the S3 bucket. See the following code:

new s3_deployment.BucketDeployment(this, 'DeployMySite', {
  sources: [
    s3_deployment.Source.asset(path.join(__dirname, 'path-to-directory')),
  ],
  destinationBucket: myBucket
});

To deploy a static site built with a framework like Nuxt.js, we need to first run a build step to compile the site into something that can be deployed. For Nuxt.js, we run the following two commands:

  • yarn install – Installs all our dependencies
  • yarn generate – Builds the application and generates every route as an HTML file (used for static hosting)

This creates a dist directory, which you can deploy to Amazon S3.

Just like with the Golang Lambda example, we can perform these steps as part of the AWS CDK through either local or Docker bundling.

Building inside a Docker container

To build inside a Docker container, use the following code:

new s3_deployment.BucketDeployment(this, 'DeployMySite', {
  sources: [
    s3_deployment.Source.asset(path.join(__dirname, 'path-to-nuxtjs-project'), {
      bundling: {
        image: cdk.BundlingDockerImage.fromRegistry('node:lts'),
        command: [
          'bash', '-c', [
            'yarn install',
            'yarn generate',
            'cp -r /asset-input/dist/* /asset-output/',
          ].join(' && '),
        ],
      },
    }),
  ],
  ...
});

For this post, we build inside the publicly available node:lts image hosted on DockerHub. Inside the container, we run our build commands yarn install && yarn generate, and copy the generated dist directory to our output directory (the cloud assembly).

The parameters are the same as described in the Golang example we walked through earlier.

Building locally

To build locally, use the following code:

new s3_deployment.BucketDeployment(this, 'DeployMySite', {
  sources: [
    s3_deployment.Source.asset(path.join(__dirname, 'path-to-nuxtjs-project'), {
      bundling: {
        local: {
          tryBundle(outputDir: string) {
            try {
              spawnSync('yarn --version');
            } catch {
              return false
            }             spawnSync('yarn install && yarn generate');        fs.copySync(path.join(__dirname, ‘path-to-nuxtjs-project’, ‘dist’), outputDir);
            return true
          },
        },
        image: cdk.BundlingDockerImage.fromRegistry('node:lts'),
        command: [],
      },
    }),
  ],
  ...
});

Building locally works the same as the Golang example we walked through earlier, with one exception. We have one additional command to run that copies the generated dist folder to our output directory (cloud assembly).

Conclusion

This post showed how you can easily compile your backend and front-end applications using the AWS CDK. You can find the example code for this post in this GitHub repo. If you have any questions or comments, please comment on the GitHub repo. If you have any additional examples you want to add, we encourage you to create a Pull Request with your example!

Our code also contains examples of deploying the applications using CDK Pipelines, so if you’re interested in deploying the example yourself, check out the example repo.

 

About the author

53959fa620a62a32c847e370e923fc1f

Cory Hall

Cory is a Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services with a passion for DevOps and is based in Charlotte, NC. Cory works with enterprise AWS customers to help them design, deploy, and scale applications to achieve their business goals.

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