Basic Serverless Application Using AWS CDK

I will take you through building your basic serverless application with AWS CDK

In this post I’ll be showing you how to create a very simple serverless application utilizing AWS CDK which I learnt from here. We will be using API Gateway, Lambda and DynamoDB

What is CDK?

It’s an acronym for Cloud Development Kit. It’s an open source project which allows you to define the cloud services in your preferred programming language. CDK is compatible with JavaScript, TypeScript, Python, Java and C# (my favourite). It’s invented by Amazon Web Services which is also known as AWS worldwide.

Now that you know what CDK is, lets build a serverless application using it.


  • AWS Account
  • VS Code or any of you favourite editor

Install CDK

Run the below command to install CDK if you haven’t got it already. Run cdk --version to check

npm i -g aws-cdk

Create Project

  • Make a directory
    mkdir hello-cdk
  • cd into the folder
    cd hello-cdk
  • Initialize the project by running the below command (it will take a a minute or so)
    cdk init sample-app --language=typescript

    where sample-app - is a template language - which ever supported language you want to use. I’ll be using Typescript

  • Open the project in VS Code
  • Below is the folder structure

Make Changes to the Project

  • bin folder Root of your application. It contains our Cloud Formation stacks. You can add mulitple Cloud Formation stacks as modules here.

  • lib folder Contains the stack definition. Remove everything, so your hello-cdk-stack.ts looks like

We will replace the code we have removed with our infrastructure later

  • node_modules folders Contains node modules

  • test folder Comes out of the box. Remove the tests as they won’t work because we have deleted the code above. Now your test file should look like:

Add AWS Services to the Project

Open hello-cdk-stack.ts which is in lib folder

As we need three services API Gateway, Lambda and DynamoDB, let’s import their libraries and add(install) them in the project from terminal.

Add DynamoDB

const table = new dynamodb.Table(this, "Hello", {
    partitionKey: { name: "name", type: dynamodb.AttributeType.STRING },

Above table create a table called Hello, assigns it a partition key of name of type string

Add Lambda

const dynamoLambda = new lambda.Function(this, "DynamoLambdaHandler", {
    runtime: lambda.Runtime.NODEJS_12_X,
    code: lambda.Code.asset("functions"),
    handler: "function.handler",
    environment: {
    HELLO_TABLE_NAME: table.tableName,

Above code

  • Creates a construct using Function keyword and we name it DynamoLambdaHandler
  • Defines a runtime
  • Tells where the code is (in function file which we will be creating soon)
  • Tells where the handler is
  • We pass environmental variable

  • Now create a folder called functions in the root
  • Create a file called function.js in functions folder
  • Copy paste the below code in the function.js file
exports.handler = async function (event) {
  console.log("request:", JSON.stringify(event));

  // gives response back to upstream caller
  return sendRes(200, "HELLLOOO");

const sendRes = (status, body) => {
  var response = {
    statusCode: status,
    headers: {
      "Content-Type": "text/html",
    body: body,
  return response;
  • Give permissions to lambda to write to our table

Add API Gateway

  • Ceates an API Gateway called hello-api by running:
    const api = new apigateway.RestApi(this, "hello-api");
  • Now we need to add a root and a method to that root
      .addMethod("GET", new apigw.LambdaIntegration(dynamoLambda));
  • Create outputs so we can see things when they are being deployed and will get the URL for the API Gateway
    new cdk.CfnOutput(this, "HTTP API URL", {
      value: api.url ?? "Something went wrong with the deployment",


Run cdk deploy to deploy the stack to Cloud Formation

Do you wish to deploy these change (y/n)? Yes

This will take a while. Basically what it does is it runs synth and then deploys utilizing Cloud Formation service.

Verify the Deployment

  1. Go to AWS Console
  2. Navigate to Cloud Formation
  3. You should see the stack being deployed.

Once it completes, it will give you the API Gateway URL. Copy the URL and test it in Postman and append the url with hello. You should see HELLLOOO in the response. If yes, Well Done!! You did! If not, leave me a comment below and I’ll help you out.

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