AWS IoT Greengrass
Developer Guide

Create and Package a Lambda Function

For a Python Lambda function to run on an AWS IoT Greengrass core, it must be packaged with the greengrasssdk folder from the Python AWS IoT Greengrass Core SDK. In the this section, you:

  • Download the Python AWS IoT Greengrass Core SDK to your computer (not the AWS IoT Greengrass core device). You can download the SDK from the AWS IoT Greengrass Core SDK downloads.

  • Decompress the downloaded SDK file.

  • Obtain the Python Lambda function (named from the decompressed SDK.

  • Create a Lambda function deployment package named that contains and the greengrasssdk folder.

  • Use the Lambda console to upload the package.

  • Use the AWS IoT Core console to transfer the package to the AWS IoT Greengrass core device (during group deployment).

  1. Download the SDK from the AWS IoT Greengrass Core SDK downloads page. Locate the Python 2.7 section, and choose v1.3.0 - current version to download the SDK.

  2. Decompress the downloaded greengrass-core-python-sdk-1.3.0.tar.gz file so you can get the Lambda function code and the SDK. For instructions, choose the tab that corresponds to your operating system.

    WindowsmacOSUNIX-like system

    Use a tool for decompressing .tar.gz files on Windows such as 7-Zip, WinZip, or similar. For example, the following steps use 7-Zip.

    1. After you install 7-Zip, use Windows File Explorer (Windows logo key + E) to navigate to greengrass-core-python-sdk-1.3.0.tar.gz, right-click the file, choose 7-Zip, and then choose Extract Here. This creates the greengrass-core-python-sdk-1.3.0.tar file.

    2. Right-click the greengrass-core-python-sdk-1.3.0.tar file, choose 7-Zip, and then choose Extract Here. This creates the aws_greengrass_core_sdk folder.

    3. Expand the aws_greengrass_core_sdk and sdk folders, and then unzip

    1. Using Finder, navigate to the greengrass-core-python-sdk-1.3.0.tar.gz file and double-click it. This creates the aws_greengrass_core_sdk folder.

    2. Expand the aws_greengrass_core_sdk and sdk folders, and then unzip

    UNIX-like system
    1. Open a terminal window and navigate to the directory that contains the greengrass-core-python-sdk-1.3.0.tar.gz file.

    2. Run the following command to decompress the file:

      tar -xzf greengrass-core-python-sdk-1.3.0.tar.gz

      This creates the aws_greengrass_core_sdk directory.

    3. Unzip the file.

      cd aws_greengrass_core_sdk/sdk sudo unzip

    The Lambda function in this module uses:

    • The file in examples\HelloWorld. This is your Lambda function code.

    • The greengrasssdk folder in sdk\python_sdk_1_3_0. This is the SDK.

    The following code is from (To save space, all code comments have been removed.) Note that every five seconds, the function publishes one of two possible messages to the hello/world topic.

    import greengrasssdk import platform from threading import Timer import time client = greengrasssdk.client('iot-data') my_platform = platform.platform() def greengrass_hello_world_run(): if not my_platform: client.publish(topic='hello/world', payload='Hello world! Sent from Greengrass Core.') else: client.publish(topic='hello/world', payload='Hello world! Sent from Greengrass Core running on platform: {}'.format(my_platform)) Timer(5, greengrass_hello_world_run).start() greengrass_hello_world_run() def function_handler(event, context): return
  3. Copy greengrasssdk to the HelloWorld folder that contains

  4. To create the Lambda function deployment package, save the file and the greengrasssdk folder to a compressed .zip file named The .py file and SDK folder must be in the root of the directory.

                            Screenshot showing zipped contents of

    For UNIX-like systems (including the Mac terminal), you can use the following command to package the file and folder:

    sudo zip -r greengrasssdk


    Depending on your distribution, you might need to install zip first (for example, by running sudo apt-get install zip). The installation command for your distribution might be different.

    Now you're ready to create your Lambda function and upload the deployment package.

  5. Open the Lambda console and choose Create function.

  6. Choose Author from scratch.

  7. Name your function Greengrass_HelloWorld, and set the remaining fields as follows:

    • For Runtime, choose Python 2.7.

    • For Role, choose Create new role from one or more templates.

    • For Role name, enter a unique name for the role. (This role isn't used by AWS IoT Greengrass.)

    Choose Create function.

                            The "Author from scratch" section with the "Name" field set to
                                "Greengrass_HelloWorld", the "Runtime" field set to "Python 2.7",
                                the "Role" field set to "Create new role from one or more templates".
  8. Upload your Lambda function deployment package:

    1. On the Configuration tab, under Function code, set the following fields:

      • For Code entry type, choose Upload a .zip file.

      • For Runtime, choose Python 2.7.

      • For Handler, enter greengrassHelloWorld.function_handler

    2. Choose Upload, and then choose (The size of your file might be different from what's shown here.)

                                    Screenshot of the Configuration tab with Upload a .zip
                                        file, Python 2.7, greengrassHelloWorld.function_handler, and
                                        Upload highlighted.
    3. Choose Save.

                                    Screenshot with the Save button highlighted.


      The Test button on the AWS Lambda console doesn't work with this function. The AWS IoT Greengrass Core SDK doesn't contain modules that are required to run your Greengrass Lambda functions independently in the AWS Lambda console. These modules (for example, greengrass_common) are supplied to the functions after they are deployed to your Greengrass core.


      To see your uploaded code, from Code entry type, choose Edit code inline.

  9. Publish the Lambda function:

    1. From Actions, choose Publish new version.

                                    Screenshot of the Actions menu with Publish new version
    2. For Version description, enter First version, and then choose Publish.

                            Screenshot with the Version description field set to First
                                version and the Publish button highlighted.
  10. Create an alias for the Lambda function version:


    Greengrass groups can reference a Lambda function by alias (recommended) or by version. Using an alias makes it easier to manage code updates because you don't have to change your subscription table or group definition when the function code is updated. Instead, you just point the alias to the new function version.

    1. From Actions, choose Create alias.

                            Screenshot of the Actions menu set to Create alias.
    2. Name the alias GG_HelloWorld, set the version to 1 (which corresponds to the version that you just published), and then choose Create.


      AWS IoT Greengrass doesn't support Lambda aliases for $LATEST versions.


                            Screenshot of Create a new alias with the Name field set to
                                GG_HelloWorld, the Version field set to 1, and the Create button