Task - AWS Step Functions


A Task state ("Type": "Task") represents a single unit of work performed by a state machine.

All work in your state machine is done by tasks. A task performs work by using an activity or an AWS Lambda function, or by passing parameters to the API actions of other services.

AWS Step Functions can invoke Lambda functions directly from a task state. A Lambda function is a cloud-native task that runs on AWS Lambda. You can write Lambda functions in a variety of programming languages, using the AWS Management Console or by uploading code to Lambda. For more information see Creating a Step Functions State Machine That Uses Lambda.


Step Functions can coordinate some AWS services directly from a task state. For more information see Service Integrations.

An activity consists of program code that waits for an operator to perform an action or to provide input. You can host activities on Amazon EC2, on Amazon ECS, or even on mobile devices. Activities poll Step Functions using the GetActivityTask and SendTaskSuccess, SendTaskFailure, and SendTaskHeartbeat API actions.

The Amazon States Language represents tasks by setting a state's type to Task and by providing the task with the Amazon Resource Name (ARN) of the activity or Lambda function.

In addition to the common state fields, Task states have the following fields.

Resource (Required)

A URI, especially an ARN that uniquely identifies the specific task to execute.

Parameters (Optional)

Used to pass information to the API actions of connected resources. The parameters can use a mix of static JSON and JsonPath. For more information, see Pass Parameters to a Service API.

ResultPath (Optional)

Specifies where (in the input) to place the results of executing the task that's specified in Resource. The input is then filtered as specified by the OutputPath field (if present) before being used as the state's output. For more information, see path.

Retry (Optional)

An array of objects, called Retriers, that define a retry policy if the state encounters runtime errors. For more information, see Examples Using Retry and Using Catch.

Catch (Optional)

An array of objects, called Catchers, that define a fallback state. This state is executed if the state encounters runtime errors and its retry policy is exhausted or isn't defined. For more information, see Fallback States.

TimeoutSeconds (Optional)

If the task runs longer than the specified seconds, this state fails with a States.Timeout error name. Must be a positive, non-zero integer. If not provided, the default value is 99999999. The count begins after the task has been started, for example, when ActivityStarted or LambdaFunctionStarted are logged in the Execution event history.

HeartbeatSeconds (Optional)

If more time than the specified seconds elapses between heartbeats from the task, this state fails with a States.Timeout error name. Must be a positive, non-zero integer less than the number of seconds specified in the TimeoutSeconds field. If not provided, the default value is 99999999. For Activities, the count begins when GetActivityTask receives a token and ActivityStarted is logged in the Execution event history.

A Task state must set either the End field to true if the state ends the execution, or must provide a state in the Next field that is run when the Task state is complete.

Task State Example

In this example, ActivityState will schedule the HelloWorld activity for execution in the us-east-1 AWS Region on the caller's AWS account. When HelloWorld completes, the next state (here called NextState) will be run.

If this task fails to complete within 300 seconds, or doesn't send heartbeat notifications in intervals of 60 seconds, the task is marked as failed. It's a good practice to set a timeout value and a heartbeat interval for long-running activities.

"ActivityState": { "Type": "Task", "Resource": "arn:aws:states:us-east-1:123456789012:activity:HelloWorld", "TimeoutSeconds": 300, "HeartbeatSeconds": 60, "Next": "NextState" }

Specifying Resource ARNs in Tasks

The Resource field's ARN is specified using the following pattern.


In this pattern:

  • partition is the AWS Step Functions partition to use, most commonly aws.

  • service indicates the AWS service used to execute the task, and is:

  • region is the AWS Region in which the Step Functions activity or state machine type or Lambda function has been created.

  • account is your AWS account ID.

  • task_type is the type of task to run. It is one of the following values:

  • name is the registered resource name (activity name, Lambda function name, or service API action).


Step Functions doesn't support referencing ARNs across partitions, regions, or accounts (for example, "aws-cn" can't invoke tasks in the "aws" partition, and vice versa).

Task Types

The following task types are supported:

The following sections provide more detail about each task type.


Activities represent workers (processes or threads), implemented and hosted by you, that perform a specific task. They are supported only by Standard Workflows, not Express Workflows.

Activity resource ARNs use the following syntax.


For more information about these fields, see Specifying Resource ARNs in Tasks.


You must create activities with Step Functions (using a CreateActivity, API action, or the Step Functions console) before their first use.

For more information about creating an activity and implementing workers, see Activities.

Lambda Functions

Lambda tasks execute a function using AWS Lambda. To specify a Lambda function, use the ARN of the Lambda function in the Resource field.

Lambda function Resource ARNs use the following syntax.


For more information about these fields, see Specifying Resource ARNs in Tasks.

For example:

"LambdaState": { "Type": "Task", "Resource": "arn:aws:lambda:us-east-1:123456789012:function:HelloWorld", "Next": "NextState" }

After the Lambda function specified in the Resource field completes, its output is sent to the state identified in the Next field ("NextState").

A Supported AWS Service

When you reference a connected resource, Step Functions directly calls the API actions of a supported service. Specify the service and action in the Resource field.

Connected service Resource ARNs use the following syntax.


To create a synchronous connection to a connected resource, append .sync to the APIname entry in the ARN. For more information, see Service Integrations.

For example:

{ "StartAt": "BATCH_JOB", "States": { "BATCH_JOB": { "Type": "Task", "Resource": "arn:aws:states:::batch:submitJob.sync", "Parameters": { "JobDefinition": "preprocessing", "JobName": "PreprocessingBatchJob", "JobQueue": "SecondaryQueue", "Parameters.$": "$.batchjob.parameters", "RetryStrategy": { "attempts": 5 } }, "End": true } } }