Amazon Simple Workflow Service
Developer Guide (API Version 2012-01-25)

Getting Set Up with Amazon SWF

This section discusses the prerequisites for developing with the Amazon Simple Workflow Service (Amazon SWF) and the development options that are available. The first step in using any AWS service is to sign up for an AWS account, discussed in detail in the following section. Once your account is set up, you have the option of developing for Amazon SWF in any of the programming languages supported by AWS. For Java and Ruby developers, the AWS Flow Framework is also available. AWS Identity and Access Management enables you to grant individuals other than the AWS account owner access to Amazon SWF resources.

AWS Account and Access Keys

To access Amazon SWF, you will need to sign up for an AWS account.

To sign up for an AWS account

  1. Open, and then choose Create an AWS Account.

  2. Follow the online instructions.

    Part of the sign-up procedure involves receiving a phone call and entering a PIN using the phone keypad.

To get your access key ID and secret access key

Access keys consist of an access key ID and secret access key, which are used to sign programmatic requests that you make to AWS. If you don't have access keys, you can create them by using the AWS Management Console. We recommend that you use IAM access keys instead of AWS root account access keys. IAM lets you securely control access to AWS services and resources in your AWS account.


To create access keys, you must have permissions to perform the required IAM actions. For more information, see Granting IAM User Permission to Manage Password Policy and Credentials in the IAM User Guide.

  1. Open the IAM console.

  2. In the navigation pane, choose Users.

  3. Choose your IAM user name (not the check box).

  4. Choose the Security Credentials tab and then choose Create Access Key.

  5. To see your access key, choose Show User Security Credentials. Your credentials will look something like this:


    • Secret Access Key: wJalrXUtnFEMI/K7MDENG/bPxRfiCYEXAMPLEKEY

  6. Choose Download Credentials, and store the keys in a secure location.

    Your secret key will no longer be available through the AWS Management Console; you will have the only copy. Keep it confidential in order to protect your account, and never email it. Do not share it outside your organization, even if an inquiry appears to come from AWS or No one who legitimately represents Amazon will ever ask you for your secret key.

Related topics


To reduce latency and to store data in a location that meets your requirements, Amazon SWF provides endpoints in different regions.

Each endpoint in Amazon SWF is completely independent; any domains, workflows and activities you have registered in one region do not share any data or attributes with those in another. In other words, when you register an Amazon SWF domain, workflow or activity, it exists only within the region you registered it in. For example, you could register a domain named SWF-Flows-1 in two different regions, but they will share no data or attributes with each other—each acts as a completely independent domain.

For a list of Amazon SWF endpoints, see Regions and Endpoints.