AWS Cloud Development Kit Core Library

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This library includes the basic building blocks of the AWS Cloud Development Kit (AWS CDK). It defines the core classes that are used in the rest of the AWS Construct Library.

See the AWS CDK Developer Guide for information of most of the capabilities of this library. The rest of this README will only cover topics not already covered in the Developer Guide.


To make specifications of time intervals unambiguous, a single class called Duration is used throughout the AWS Construct Library by all constructs that that take a time interval as a parameter (be it for a timeout, a rate, or something else).

An instance of Duration is constructed by using one of the static factory methods on it:

# Example may have issues. See
Duration.seconds(300)# 5 minutes
Duration.minutes(5)# 5 minutes
Duration.hours(1)# 1 hour
Duration.days(7)# 7 days

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To help avoid accidental storage of secrets as plain text, we use the SecretValue type to represent secrets. Any construct that takes a value that should be a secret (such as a password or an access key) will take a parameter of type SecretValue.

The best practice is to store secrets in AWS Secrets Manager and reference them using SecretValue.secretsManager:

# Example may have issues. See
secret = SecretValue.secrets_manager("secretId",
    json_field="password", # optional: key of a JSON field to retrieve (defaults to all content),
    version_id="id", # optional: id of the version (default AWSCURRENT)

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Using AWS Secrets Manager is the recommended way to reference secrets in a CDK app. SecretValue also supports the following secret sources:

  • SecretValue.plainText(secret): stores the secret as plain text in your app and the resulting template (not recommended).

  • SecretValue.ssmSecure(param, version): refers to a secret stored as a SecureString in the SSM Parameter Store.

  • SecretValue.cfnParameter(param): refers to a secret passed through a CloudFormation parameter (must have NoEcho: true).

  • SecretValue.cfnDynamicReference(dynref): refers to a secret described by a CloudFormation dynamic reference (used by ssmSecure and secretsManager).

ARN manipulation

Sometimes you will need to put together or pick apart Amazon Resource Names (ARNs). The functions stack.formatArn() and stack.parseArn() exist for this purpose.

formatArn() can be used to build an ARN from components. It will automatically use the region and account of the stack you’re calling it on:

# Example may have issues. See
# Builds "arn:<PARTITION>:lambda:<REGION>:<ACCOUNT>:function:MyFunction"

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parseArn() can be used to get a single component from an ARN. parseArn() will correctly deal with both literal ARNs and deploy-time values (tokens), but in case of a deploy-time value be aware that the result will be another deploy-time value which cannot be inspected in the CDK application.

# Example may have issues. See
# Extracts the function name out of an AWS Lambda Function ARN
arn_components = stack.parse_arn(arn, ":")
function_name = arn_components.resource_name

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Note that depending on the service, the resource separator can be either : or /, and the resource name can be either the 6th or 7th component in the ARN. When using these functions, you will need to know the format of the ARN you are dealing with.

For an exhaustive list of ARN formats used in AWS, see AWS ARNs and Namespaces in the AWS General Reference.


Construct Dependencies

Sometimes AWS resources depend on other resources, and the creation of one resource must be completed before the next one can be started.

In general, CloudFormation will correctly infer the dependency relationship between resources based on the property values that are used. In the cases where it doesn’t, the AWS Construct Library will add the dependency relationship for you.

If you need to add an ordering dependency that is not automatically inferred, you do so by adding a dependency relationship using constructA.node.addDependency(constructB). This will add a dependency relationship between all resources in the scope of constructA and all resources in the scope of constructB.

If you want a single object to represent a set of constructs that are not necessarily in the same scope, you can use a ConcreteDependable. The following creates a single object that represents a dependency on two construts, constructB and constructC:

# Example may have issues. See
# Declare the dependable object
b_and_c = ConcreteDependable()

# Take the dependency

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Stack Dependencies

Two different stack instances can have a dependency on one another. This happens when an resource from one stack is referenced in another stack. In that case, CDK records the cross-stack referencing of resources, automatically produces the right CloudFormation primitives, and adds a dependency between the two stacks. You can also manually add a dependency between two stacks by using the stackA.addDependency(stackB) method.

A stack dependency has the following implications:

  • Cyclic dependencies are not allowed, so if stackA is using resources from stackB, the reverse is not possible anymore.

  • Stacks with dependencies between them are treated specially by the CDK toolkit:

    • If stackA depends on stackB, running cdk deploy stackA will also automatically deploy stackB.

    • stackB’s deployment will be performed before stackA’s deployment.

AWS CloudFormation features

A CDK stack synthesizes to an AWS CloudFormation Template. This section explains how this module allows users to access low-level CloudFormation features when needed.

Stack Outputs

CloudFormation stack outputs and exports are created using the CfnOutput class:

# Example may have issues. See
CfnOutput(self, "OutputName",
    description="The name of an S3 bucket", # Optional

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CloudFormation templates support the use of Parameters to customize a template. They enable CloudFormation users to input custom values to a template each time a stack is created or updated. While the CDK design philosophy favors using build-time parameterization, users may need to use CloudFormation in a number of cases (for example, when migrating an existing stack to the AWS CDK).

Template parameters can be added to a stack by using the CfnParameter class:

# Example may have issues. See
CfnParameter(self, "MyParameter",

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The value of parameters can then be obtained using one of the value methods. As parameters are only resolved at deployment time, the values obtained are placeholder tokens for the real value (Token.isUnresolved() would return true for those):

# Example may have issues. See
param = CfnParameter(self, "ParameterName")

# If the parameter is a String

# If the parameter is a Number

# If the parameter is a List

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Pseudo Parameters

CloudFormation supports a number of pseudo parameters, which resolve to useful values at deployment time. CloudFormation pseudo parameters can be obtained from static members of the Aws class.

It is generally recommended to access pseudo parameters from the scope’s stack instead, which guarantees the values produced are qualifying the designated stack, which is essential in cases where resources are shared cross-stack:

# Example may have issues. See
# "this" is the current construct
stack = Stack.of(self)

stack.account# Returns the AWS::AccountId for this stack (or the literal value if known)
stack.region# Returns the AWS::Region for this stack (or the literal value if known)

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Resource Options

CloudFormation resources can also specify resource attributes. The CfnResource class allows accessing those though the cfnOptions property:

# Example may have issues. See
raw_bucket = s3.CfnBucket(self, "Bucket")
# -or-
raw_bucket = bucket.node.default_child

# then
raw_bucket.condition = CfnCondition(self, "EnableBucket")
raw_bucket.cfn_options.metadata = {
    "metadata_key": "MetadataValue"

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Resource dependencies (the DependsOn attribute) is modified using the cfnResource.addDependsOn method:

# Example may have issues. See
resource_a = CfnResource(self, "ResourceA")
resource_b = CfnResource(self, "ResourceB")


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Intrinsic Functions and Condition Expressions

CloudFormation supports intrinsic functions. These functions can be accessed from the Fn class, which provides type-safe methods for each intrinsic function as well as condition expressions:

# Example may have issues. See
# To use Fn::Base64

# To compose condition expressions:
environment_parameter = CfnParameter(self, "Environment")
    # The "Environment" CloudFormation template parameter evaluates to "Production"
    Fn.condition_equals("Production", environment_parameter),
    # The AWS::Region pseudo-parameter value is NOT equal to "us-east-1"
    Fn.condition_not(Fn.condition_equals("us-east-1", Aws.REGION)))

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When working with deploy-time values (those for which Token.isUnresolved returns true), idiomatic conditionals from the programming language cannot be used (the value will not be known until deployment time). When conditional logic needs to be expressed with un-resolved values, it is necessary to use CloudFormation conditions by means of the CfnCondition class:

# Example may have issues. See
environment_parameter = CfnParameter(self, "Environment")
is_prod = CfnCondition(self, "IsProduction",
    expression=Fn.condition_equals("Production", environment_parameter)

# Configuration value that is a different string based on IsProduction
stage = Fn.condition_if(is_prod.logical_id, "Beta", "Prod").to_string()

# Make Bucket creation condition to IsProduction by accessing
# and overriding the CloudFormation resource
bucket = s3.Bucket(self, "Bucket")
cfn_bucket = bucket.node.default_child
cfn_bucket.cfn_options.condition = is_prod

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CloudFormation mappings are created and queried using the CfnMappings class:

# Example may have issues. See
mapping = CfnMapping(self, "MappingTable",
        "region_name": {
            "us-east-1": "US East (N. Virginia)",
            "us-east-2": "US East (Ohio)"

mapping.find_in_map("regionName", Aws.REGION)

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Dynamic References

CloudFormation supports dynamically resolving values for SSM parameters (including secure strings) and Secrets Manager. Encoding such references is done using the CfnDynamicReference class:

# Example may have issues. See
CfnDynamicReference(self, "SecureStringValue",

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Template Options & Transform

CloudFormation templates support a number of options, including which Macros or Transforms to use when deploying the stack. Those can be configured using the stack.templateOptions property:

# Example may have issues. See
stack = Stack(app, "StackName")

stack.template_options.description = "This will appear in the AWS console"
stack.template_options.transform = "AWS::Serverless"
stack.template_options.metadata = {
    "metadata_key": "MetadataValue"

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Emitting Raw Resources

The CfnResource class allows emitting arbitrary entries in the [Resources][cfn-resources] section of the CloudFormation template.

# Example may have issues. See
CfnResource(self, "ResourceId",
        "BucketName": "bucket-name"

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As for any other resource, the logical ID in the CloudFormation template will be generated by the AWS CDK, but the type and properties will be copied verbatim in the synthesized template.

Including raw CloudFormation template fragments

When migrating a CloudFormation stack to the AWS CDK, it can be useful to include fragments of an existing template verbatim in the synthesized template. This can be achieved using the CfnInclude class.

# Example may have issues. See
CfnInclude(self, "ID",
        "Resources": {
            "Bucket": {
                "Type": "AWS::S3::Bucket",
                "Properties": {
                    "BucketName": "my-shiny-bucket"

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