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Write dynamic Python, Java, .NET, NodeJs, or TypeScript code which are synth’d into Cloud Formation or Terraform static yaml

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This article is a concise, yet deep technical description without generalizations that waste your time.

AWS defines their CDK (Cloud Development Kit) as:

“A multi-language software development framework for modeling cloud infrastructure as reusable components”

Programmatic coding enable reusableclass libraries (templates) which define entire sets of services using a single line:*

#!/usr/bin/env node
import 'source-map-support/register';
import * as cdk from '@aws-cdk/core';
import { TheBigFan Stack} from '../lib/the-big-fan-stack';
const app = new cdk.App();
new TheBigFanStack(app, 'TheBigFanStack');

The above code references “Constructs” which bundles infrastructure into reusable components deployed by a stack which “synth” out templates in CloudFormation or Terraform.

VIDEO: aws-cdk-flow-3118x880


AWS and open-source contributors develop construct libraries for each of its many services (RDS, CloudFront, Kinesis, etc.). Reinvent 2019: How to make contributions ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9As_ZIjUGmY

Template code contains:

  • if/else and for loops (control logic)
  • autocomplete
  • in-line documentation
  • compile-time warnings
  • modeling of cross-account and cross-region pipeline configurations

https://cdkworkshop.com provides instructions for a “Hello, world” Lambda function fronted by an API Gateway endpoint for users to call via an HTTP request.



VIDEO: Apps withine a CDK Pipeline: aws-cdk-apps-1704x788

vs Proton

How is CDK different versus the AWS Proton app delivery service which monitors and update deployments?


  1. Have Homebrew installed for brew commands?

  2. The AWS CDK is not “cdk” in Homebrew:

    brew info aws-cdk

    aws-cdk: stable 1.111.0 (bottled)
    AWS Cloud Development Kit - framework for defining AWS infra as code
    Not installed
    From: https://github.com/Homebrew/homebrew-core/blob/HEAD/Formula/aws-cdk.rb
    License: Apache-2.0
    ==> Dependencies
    Required: node ✘
    ==> Analytics
    install: 3,718 (30 days), 11,115 (90 days), 35,166 (365 days)
    install-on-request: 3,719 (30 days), 11,119 (90 days), 35,167 (365 days)
    build-error: 0 (30 days)
  3. No need to first install NodeJs

    brew install aws-cdk

    ==> Installing dependencies for aws-cdk: libuv, nghttp2 and node
    ==> Installing aws-cdk dependency: libuv
    ==> Pouring libuv--1.41.1.mojave.bottle.tar.gz
    🍺  /usr/local/Cellar/libuv/1.41.1: 49 files, 3.3MB
    ==> Installing aws-cdk dependency: nghttp2
    ==> Pouring nghttp2--1.44.0.mojave.bottle.tar.gz
    🍺  /usr/local/Cellar/nghttp2/1.44.0: 23 files, 2.6MB
    ==> Installing aws-cdk dependency: node
    ==> Pouring node--16.5.0.mojave.bottle.tar.gz
    🍺  /usr/local/Cellar/node/16.5.0: 2,467 files, 48.3MB
    ==> Installing aws-cdk
    ==> Pouring aws-cdk--1.114.0.mojave.bottle.tar.gz
    🍺  /usr/local/Cellar/aws-cdk/1.114.0: 8,201 files, 146.5MB
  4. How much disk space?

    df -h $(pwd)
  5. See if it works:

    cdk version
    (node:8758) ExperimentalWarning: The fs.promises API is experimental
    1.114.0 (build 7e41b6b)

    Alternately, get a menu:


    (node:8732) ExperimentalWarning: The fs.promises API is experimental
    Usage: cdk -a <cdk-app> COMMAND
      cdk list [STACKS..]             Lists all stacks in the app      [aliases: ls]
      cdk synthesize [STACKS..]       Synthesizes and prints the CloudFormation
                                   template for this stack       [aliases: synth]
      cdk bootstrap [ENVIRONMENTS..]  Deploys the CDK toolkit stack into an AWS
      cdk deploy [STACKS..]           Deploys the stack(s) named STACKS into your
                                   AWS account
      cdk destroy [STACKS..]          Destroy the stack(s) named STACKS
      cdk diff [STACKS..]             Compares the specified stack with the deployed
                                   stack or a local template file, and returns
                                   with status 1 if any difference is found
      cdk metadata [STACK]            Returns all metadata associated with this
      cdk init [TEMPLATE]             Create a new, empty CDK project from a
      cdk context                     Manage cached context values
      cdk docs                        Opens the reference documentation in a browser
                                                                   [aliases: doc]
      cdk doctor                      Check your set-up for potential problems
      -a, --app                 REQUIRED: command-line for executing your app or a
                             cloud assembly directory (e.g. "node bin/my-app.js")
      -c, --context             Add contextual string parameter (KEY=VALUE)  [array]
      -p, --plugin              Name or path of a node package that extend the CDK
                             features. Can be specified multiple times    [array]
       --trace               Print trace for stack warnings             [boolean]
       --strict              Do not construct stacks with warnings      [boolean]
       --lookups             Perform context lookups (synthesis fails if this is
                             disabled and context lookups need to be performed)
                                                        [boolean] [default: true]
       --ignore-errors       Ignores synthesis errors, which will likely produce
                             an invalid output         [boolean] [default: false]
      -j, --json                Use JSON output instead of YAML when templates are
                             printed to STDOUT         [boolean] [default: false]
      -v, --verbose             Show debug logs (specify multiple times to increase
                             verbosity)                  [count] [default: false]
       --debug               Enable emission of additional debugging information,
                             such as creation stack traces of tokens
                                                       [boolean] [default: false]
       --profile             Use the indicated AWS profile as the default
                             environment                                 [string]
       --proxy               Use the indicated proxy. Will read from HTTPS_PROXY
                             environment variable if not specified       [string]
       --ca-bundle-path      Path to CA certificate to use when validating HTTPS
                             requests. Will read from AWS_CA_BUNDLE environment
                             variable if not specified                   [string]
      -i, --ec2creds            Force trying to fetch EC2 instance credentials.
                             Default: guess EC2 instance status         [boolean]
       --version-reporting   Include the "AWS::CDK::Metadata" resource in
                             synthesized templates (enabled by default) [boolean]
       --path-metadata       Include "aws:cdk:path" CloudFormation metadata for
                             each resource (enabled by default)
                                                        [boolean] [default: true]
       --asset-metadata      Include "aws:asset:*" CloudFormation metadata for
                             resources that uses assets (enabled by default)
                                                        [boolean] [default: true]
      -r, --role-arn            ARN of Role to use when invoking CloudFormation
       --toolkit-stack-name  The name of the CDK toolkit stack           [string]
       --staging             Copy assets to the output directory (use
                             --no-staging to disable, needed for local debugging
                             the source files with SAM CLI)
                                                        [boolean] [default: true]
      -o, --output              Emits the synthesized cloud assembly into a
                             directory (default: cdk.out)                [string]
       --no-color            Removes colors and other style from console output
                                                       [boolean] [default: false]
       --fail                Fail with exit code 1 in case of diff
                                                       [boolean] [default: false]
       --version             Show version number                        [boolean]
      -h, --help                Show help                                  [boolean]

If your app has a single stack, there is no need to specify the stack name   If one of cdk.json or ~/.cdk.json exists, options specified there will be used as defaults. Settings in cdk.json take precedence. </pre>

### Node version alignment

  1. If you get an error such as this when you run:

         throw Error(`yargs parser supports a minimum Node.js version of ${minNodeVersion}. Read our version support policy: https://github.com/yargs/yargs-parser#supported-nodejs-versions`);
    Error: yargs parser supports a minimum Node.js version of 10. Read our version support policy: https://github.com/yargs/yargs-parser#supported-nodejs-versions
  2. What version of NodeJs do you have installed?

    node -v

    If you have a version less that (10), such as “v9.11.1”, upgrade Node to the version specified (v10).

  3. To enable multiple versions of Node to be installed simultaneously, install NVM:

    brew install nvm
  4. Identify an LTS version to install:

    nvm ls
    ->      v9.11.1
    default -> node (-> v9.11.1)
    node -> stable (-> v9.11.1) (default)
    stable -> 9.11 (-> v9.11.1) (default)
    iojs -> N/A (default)
    lts/* -> lts/dubnium (-> N/A)
    lts/argon -> v4.9.1 (-> N/A)
    lts/boron -> v6.17.1 (-> N/A)
    lts/carbon -> v8.16.0 (-> N/A)
    lts/dubnium -> v10.16.0 (-> N/A)
  5. Based on the above:

    nvm install 10.16.0
    Now using node v10.16.0 (npm v6.9.0)


NPM Code

  1. In the https://docs.aws.amazon.com/cdk/latest/guide/cli.html install a fall-back global version:

    npm install -g aws-cdk # install latest version

    PROTIP: Be prepared to work with multiple versions of the AWS CDK installed. Install a matching version of the AWS CDK Toolkit in individual CDK projects (omitting -g from the npm install command).

  2. use npx cdk to invoke it; this will run the local version if one exists, falling back to a global version if not.

However, there is also:

Initialize language folder

cdk init --language python

cdk deploy

cdk synth stack1


Elad Ben-Israel (@emeshbi)

Jason Fulghum (CDK team Sr Mgr Dev Tools)


  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ps0Wh19MHQ

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1FcifrDocE

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cf3yJv3klsg

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWCvNFUN-sU