AWS CloudFormation
User Guide (API Version 2010-05-15)

Using AWS CloudFormation Macros to Perform Custom Processing on Templates

Macros enable you to perform custom processing on templates, from simple actions like find-and-replace operations to extensive transformations of entire templates.

To get an idea of the breadth of possibilities, consider the AWS::Include and AWS::Serverless transforms, which are macros hosted by AWS CloudFormation:

  • AWS::Include Transform enables you to insert boilerplate template snippets into your templates.

  • AWS::Serverless Transform takes an entire template written in the AWS Serverless Application Model (AWS SAM) syntax and transforms and expands it into a compliant AWS CloudFormation template. (For more information about serverless applications and AWS SAM, see Deploying Lambda-based Applications in the AWS Lambda Developer Guide.)

How AWS CloudFormation Macros Work

There are two major steps to processing templates using macros: creating the macro itself, and then using the macro to perform processing on your templates.

To create a macro definition, you need to create the following:

  • An AWS Lambda function to perform the template processing. This Lambda function accepts either a snippet or an entire template, and any additional parameters that you define. It returns the processed template snippet or the entire template as a response.

  • A resource of type AWS::CloudFormation::Macro, which enables users to call the Lambda function from within AWS CloudFormation templates. This resource specifies the ARN of the Lambda function to invoke for this macro, and additional optional properties to assist with debugging. To create this resource within an account, author a stack template that includes a AWS::CloudFormation::Macro resource, and then create a stack from the template.

To use a macro, reference the macro in your template:

  • To process a section, or snippet, of a template, reference the macro in a Fn::Transform function located relative to the template content you want to transform. When using Fn::Transform, you can also pass any specified parameters it requires.

  • To process an entire template, reference the macro in the Transform section of the template.

Next, create a new change set. (Processing macros can add multiple resources that you might not be aware of. To ensure that you're aware of all of the changes introduced by macros, AWS CloudFormation requires you to use change sets.) AWS CloudFormation passes the specified template content, along with any additional specified parameters, to the Lambda function specified in the macro resource. The Lambda function returns the processed template content, be it a snippet or an entire template.

After all macros in the template have been called, AWS CloudFormation generates a change set that includes the processed template content. After you review the change set, run it to apply the changes.


            Use the Fn::Transform intrinsic function or the
                    Transform section of the template, to pass the template contents
                and associated parameters to the macro's underlying Lamdba function, which returns
                the processed template contents.

Creating an AWS CloudFormation Macro Definition

When you create a macro definition, the macro definition makes the underlying Lambda function available in the specified account so that AWS CloudFormation can invokes it to process the templates.

AWS CloudFormation Macro Function Interface

For macros, AWS CloudFormation invokes the underlying Lambda functions with the following event mapping. AWS CloudFormation sends its request in JSON format, and it expects the function response to be formatted as JSON too.

{ "region" : "us-east-1", "accountId" : "$ACCOUNT_ID", "fragment" : { ... }, "transformId" : "$TRANSFORM_ID", "params" : { ... }, "requestId" : "$REQUEST_ID", "templateParameterValues" : { ... } }
  • region

    The region in which the macro resides.

  • accountId

    The account ID of the account from which the macro is invoking the Lambda function.

  • fragment

    The template content available for custom processing, in JSON format.

    • For macros included in the Transform template section, this is the entire template except for the Transform section.

    • For macros included in an Fn::Transform intrinsic function call, this includes all sibling nodes (and their children) based on the location of the intrinsic function within the template except for the Fn::Transform function. For more information, see AWS CloudFormation Macro Scope.

  • transformId

    The name of the macro invoking this function.

  • params

    For Fn::Transform function calls, any specified parameters for the function. AWS CloudFormation does not evaluate these parameters before passing them to the function.

    For macros included in the Transform template section, this section is empty.

  • requestId

    The ID of the request invoking this function.

  • templateParameterValues

    Any parameters specified in the Parameters section of the template. AWS CloudFormation evaluates these parameters before passing them to the function.

AWS CloudFormation expects the underlying function to return a response in the following JSON format:

{ "requestId" : "$REQUEST_ID", "status" : "$STATUS", "fragment" : { ... } }
  • requestId

    The ID of the request invoking this function. This must match the request ID provided by AWS CloudFormation when invoking the function.

  • status

    The status of the request (case-insensitive). Should be set to "success." AWS CloudFormation treats any other response as a failure.

  • fragment

    The processed template content for AWS CloudFormation to include in the processed template, including siblings. AWS CloudFormation replaces the template content that is passed to the Lambda function with the template fragment it receives in the Lambda response.

    The processed template content must be valid JSON, and its inclusion in the processed template must result in a valid template.

    If your function doesn't actually change the template content that AWS CloudFormation passes to it, but you still need to include that content in the processed template, your function needs to return that template content to AWS CloudFormation in its response.

For information about additional considerations when creating macros, see Considerations When Creating AWS CloudFormation Macro Definitions.

AWS CloudFormation Macro Account Scope and Permissions

You can use macros only in the account in which they were created as a resource. The name of the macro must be unique within a given account. However, you can make the same functionality available in multiple accounts by enabling cross-account access on the underlying Lambda function, and then creating macro definitions referencing that function in multiple accounts. In the example below, three accounts contain macro definitions that each point to the same Lambda function.


                    By allowing cross-account access on the Lamdba function, AWS enables you
                        to create macros in multiple accounts that reference that function.

For more information, see Overview of Managing Access Permissions to Your AWS Lambda Resources in the AWS Lambda Developer Guide.

In order to create a macro definition, the user must have permissions to create a stack within the specified account.

In order for AWS CloudFormation to successfully run a macro included in a template, the user must have Invoke permissions for the underlying Lambda function. To prevent potential escalation of privileges, AWS CloudFormation impersonates the user while running the macro. For more information, see Lambda Permissions Model in the AWS Lambda Developer Guide and Actions and Condition Context Keys for AWS Lambda in the IAM User Guide.

The AWS::Serverless Transform and AWS::Include Transform transforms are macros hosted by AWS CloudFormation. No special permissions are necessary to use them, and they are available from within any account in AWS CloudFormation.

Debugging AWS CloudFormation Macros

To aid in debugging, you can also specify the LogGroupName and LogRoleArn properties when creating the AWS::CloudFormation::Macro resource type for your macro. These properties enable you to specify the CloudWatch log group to which AWS CloudFormation sends error logging information when invoking the macro's underlying AWS Lambda function, and the role AWS CloudFormation should assume when sending log entries to those logs.

Billing

When a macro is run, the owner of the Lambda function is billed for any charges related to the execution of that function.

The AWS::Serverless Transform and AWS::Include Transform transforms are macros hosted by AWS CloudFormation. There is no charge for using them.

Considerations When Creating AWS CloudFormation Macro Definitions

When creating macro definitions, keep the following in mind:

  • Macros are supported only in regions where AWS Lambda is available. For a list of regions where Lambda is available, see http://docs.aws.amazon.com/general/latest/gr/rande.html#lambda_region.

  • Any processed template snippets must be valid JSON.

  • Any processed template snippets must pass validation checks for a create stack or update stack operation.

  • AWS CloudFormation resolves macros first, and then processes the template. The resulting template must be valid JSON and must not exceed the template size limit.

  • When using the update rollback feature, AWS CloudFormation uses a copy of the original template. It rolls back to the original template even if the included snippet was changed.

  • Including macros within macros does not work because we do not process macros iteratively.

  • The Fn::ImportValue intrinsic function isn't currently supported in macros.

  • Intrinsic functions included in the template are evaluated after any macros. Therefore, the processed template content your macro returns can include calls to intrinsic functions, and they are evaluated as usual.

  • AWS CloudFormation macros are not supported in stack sets.

  • AWS CloudFormation macros are not supported in nested stacks.

To create a AWS CloudFormation macro definition

  1. Build an AWS Lambda function that processes AWS CloudFormation templates.

    The Lambda function you build performs the processing of the template contents. Your function can process any part of a template, up to the entire template. For information about the event mapping to which your function must adhere, see AWS CloudFormation Macro Function Interface. For information about additional considerations when creating macros, see Considerations When Creating AWS CloudFormation Macro Definitions.

  2. Create a template containing a AWS::CloudFormation::Macro resource type.

    • You must specify the Name and FunctionName properties. The FunctionName property specifies the ARN of the Lambda function to invoke when AWS CloudFormation runs the macro.

    • To aid in debugging, you can also specify the LogGroupName and LogRoleArn properties.

  3. Create a stack from the template containing the macro in the desired account.

    After AWS CloudFormation has successfully created the stack that contains the macro definition, the macro is available for use within that account.

Using AWS CloudFormation Macros in Your Templates

After AWS CloudFormation has successfully created the stack which contains the macro definition, the macro is available for use within that account. You use a macro by referencing it in the stack template, at the appropriate location relevant to the template contents you want to process.

AWS CloudFormation Macro Evaluation Order

You can reference multiple macros in a given template, including transforms hosted by AWS CloudFormation, such as AWS::Include Transform and AWS::Serverless Transform.

Macros are evaluated in order, based on their location in the template, from the most deeply nested outward to the most general. Macros at the same location in the template are evaluated serially based on the order in which they are listed.

Transforms such as AWS::Include and AWS::Transform are treated the same as any other macros in terms of action order and scope.

For example, in the template sample below, AWS CloudFormation evaluates the PolicyAdder macro first, because it is the most deeply-nested macro in the template. AWS CloudFormation then evaluates MyMacro before evaluating AWS::Serverless because it is listed before AWS::Serverless in the Transform section.

AWSTemplateFormatVersion: 2010-09-09 Transform: [MyMacro, AWS::Serverless] Resources: WaitCondition: Type: AWS::CloudFormation::WaitCondition MyBucket: Type: 'AWS::S3::Bucket' Properties: BucketName: MyBucket Tags: [{"key":"value"}] 'Fn::Transform': - Name: PolicyAdder CorsConfiguration:[] MyEc2Instance: Type: 'AWS::EC2::Instance' Properties: ImageID: "ami-123"

AWS CloudFormation Macro Scope

Macros referenced in the Transform section of a template can process the entire contents of that template.

Macros referenced in a Fn::Transform function can process the contents of any of the sibling elements (including children) of that Fn::Transform function in the template.

For example, in the template sample below, AWS::Include can process all of the MyBucket properties, based on the location of the Fn::Transform function that contains it. MyMacro can process the contents of the entire template because of its inclusion in the Transform section.

// Start of processable content for MyMacro AWSTemplateFormatVersion: 2010-09-09 Transform: [MyMacro] Resources: WaitCondition: Type: AWS::CloudFormation::WaitCondition MyBucket: Type: 'AWS::S3::Bucket' //Start of processable content for AWS::Include Properties: BucketName: MyBucket Tags: [{"key":"value"}] 'Fn::Transform': - Name: 'AWS::Include' Parameters: Location: s3://MyAmazonS3BucketName/MyFileName.yaml CorsConfiguration:[] //End of processable content for AWS::Include MyEc2Instance: Type: 'AWS::EC2::Instance' Properties: ImageID: "ami-123" // End of processable content for MyMacro

Change Sets and AWS CloudFormation Macros

To create or update a stack using a template that references macros, you must create a change set and then execute it. A change set describes the actions AWS CloudFormation will take based on the processed template. Processing macros can add multiple resources that you might not be aware of. To ensure that you're aware of all of the changes introduced by macros, AWS CloudFormation requires you to use change sets. After you review the change set, run it to apply the changes.

Note

A macro can add IAM resources to your template. For these resources, AWS CloudFormation requires you to acknowledge their capabilities. Because AWS CloudFormation can't know which resources are added before processing your template, you might need to acknowledge IAM capabilities when you create the change set, depending on whether the referenced macros contain IAM resources. That way, when you run the change set, AWS CloudFormation has the necessary capabilities to create IAM resources.

If you use the AWS CLI, you can use the package and deploy commands to reduce the number of steps for launching stacks from templates that reference macros. For more information, see Deploying Lambda-based Applications in the AWS Lambda Developer Guide.

Original and Processed Templates

A template's stage indicates whether the template is the original user-submitted template or one in which AWS CloudFormation has processed the macros.

  • Original: The template that the user originally submitted to create or update the stack.

  • Processed: The template AWS CloudFormation used to create or update the stack after processing any referenced macros. The processed template is formatted as JSON, even if the original template was formatted as YAML.

Use the processed template for troubleshooting stack issues. If a template doesn't reference macros, the original and processed templates are identical.

You can use the AWS CloudFormation console or AWS CLI to see the stage of a stack template.

To use a AWS CloudFormation Macro in your template

Note

In order for AWS CloudFormation to successfully run a macro referenced in a template, the user must have Invoke permissions for the underlying Lambda function. For more information, see Overview of Managing Access Permissions to Your AWS Lambda Resources in the AWS Lambda Developer Guide.

  1. Include a reference to the macro in the template.

    • To process a template snippet, reference the macro in a Fn::Transform function located relative to the template content you want to process.

    • To process the entire template, reference the macro in the Transform section of the template.

  2. Create a change set using the template.

  3. Review and run the change set.

Macro Examples

In addition to the Macro Example: Creating and Using a Macro walkthrough in this guide, you can find example macros, including source code and templates, in the Macros Examples section of the Amazon Web Services - Labs repo on GitHub. These examples are provided 'as-is' for instructional purposes.

See Also

AWS::CloudFormation::Macro

Transform

Fn::Transform

AWS::Serverless Transform

AWS::Include Transform