AWS Lambda npm scripts

AWS Lambda is great! But even better, there is no need to add any framework on top for management. You can use npm scripts.



Ok, you are using Node.js to implement your AWS Lambdas. You will also need also AWS CLI installed.

Npm default shell is bash. All npm scripts here are written assuming you are in Unix environment.

It is recommended also to create an AWS CLI profile, for instance myproject.

Deployment needs zip command.


The npm scripts below assume, just to simplify, that:


Every Lambda needs its own folder containing a package.json. The package name will be used as the function name, usually I prefix it with current project name. Package name should be lowercase, you know. Also the description will appear on your AWS Console. Probably you want to make it private. Something like the following

  "name": "myproject-foo",
  "description": "myproject foo bla bla",
  "private": true,
  "main": "src/index.js",
  "scripts": {



Create a IAM role, for instance lambda_dynamo_myproject, that has permissions on all table prefixed by MyProject and can write logs.

I created a iam/ folder with the following files


    "Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Statement": [
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Action": [
            "Resource": "arn:aws:dynamodb:us-east-1:1234567890:table/MyProject*"
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Action": [
            "Resource": "arn:aws:logs:*:*:*"


  "Version": "2012-10-17",
  "Statement": [
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Principal": {
        "Service": [
      "Action": "sts:AssumeRole"

Create role:

aws iam create-role --role-name MyProject --assume-role-policy-document file://iam/lambda-role.json --profile myproject

Create policy:

aws iam create-policy --policy-name lambda_dynamo_myproject --policy-document file://iam/lambda-policy.json --profile myproject

Attach policy:

aws iam attach-role-policy --policy-arn arn:aws:iam::$AWS_ACCOUNT_ID:policy/lambda_dynamo_myproject --role-name MyProject --profile myproject


I usually create a config attribute like this

  "config": {
    "log_retention": 7,
    "memory_size": 128,
    "runtime": "nodejs12.x",
    "profile": "myproject",
    "region": "us-east-1",
    "role": "lambda_dynamo_myproject",
    "timeout": 10
Node.js runtime nodejs12.x may be outdated and not yet avaialable, you are going to use the currently supported version.


This was a tricky one. The correct syntax was not documented. Luckily I could find a solution askying on GitHub.

Suppose you need the following environment variables

Add the following npm script

"set_environment": "aws lambda update-function-configuration --region $npm_package_config_region --profile $npm_package_config_profile --function-name $npm_package_name --environment \"Variables={ENVIRONMENT_VARIABLE=$ENVIRONMENT_VARIABLE,ANOTHER_ENVIRONMENT_VARIABLE=$ANOTHER_ENVIRONMENT_VARIABLE}\"",

Create and deploy

Add the following scripts to your package.json

    "copy": "cp -r src/* build/; cp -r node_modules/ build/node_modules",
    "create": "aws lambda create-function --region $npm_package_config_region --profile $npm_package_config_profile --function-name $npm_package_name --description \"$npm_package_description\" --runtime $npm_package_config_runtime --handler index.handler --role arn:aws:iam::$AWS_ACCOUNT_ID:role/$npm_package_config_role --zip-file fileb://",

    "create_log_group": "aws logs create-log-group --log-group-name /aws/lambda/$npm_package_name",
    "deploy": "aws lambda update-function-code --region $npm_package_config_region --profile $npm_package_config_profile --function-name $npm_package_name --zip-file fileb://",
    "postcreate_log_group": "npm run set_log_retention",
    "postcreate": "npm run create_log_group; npm run set_timeout; npm run set_memory_size; rm -rf build/",
    "postdeploy": "rm -rf build/; rm",
    "precopy": "rm -rf node_modules/; npm install --production; rm -rf build; mkdir build",
    "predeploy": "npm run zip",
    "precreate": "npm run zip",
    "prezip": "rm -rf; npm run copy",
    "set_log_retention": "aws logs put-retention-policy --region $npm_package_config_region --profile $npm_package_config_profile --log-group-name /aws/lambda/$npm_package_name --retention-in-days $npm_package_config_log_retention",
    "set_memory_size": "aws lambda update-function-configuration --region ${npm_package_config_region} --profile ${npm_package_config_profile} --function-name $npm_package_name --memory-size $npm_package_config_memory_size",
    "set_runtime": "aws lambda update-function-configuration --region $npm_package_config_region --profile $npm_package_config_profile --function-name $npm_package_name --runtime $npm_package_config_runtime",
    "set_timeout": "aws lambda update-function-configuration --region $npm_package_config_region --profile $npm_package_config_profile --function-name $npm_package_name --timeout $npm_package_config_timeout",
    "zip": "cd build; zip -X -r ../ * > /dev/null; cd ..",

Only once, create the lambda with

npm run create

In my case I also need to set Environment variables and then launch

npm run set_environment

After that, you can deploy later updates launching just

npm run deploy

You can update log retention, memory size, runtime (i.e. Node.js version) and timeout by editing config content in your package.json and run

npm run set_log_retention
npm run set_memory_size
npm run set_runtime
npm run set_timeout


Add your dependencies using npm as usual. Consider there is a size limit on the zip file uploaded.

You do not need to install aws-sdk package since it is already provided on cloud instances.


Complete your script with the possibility to delete the lambda, add the following

    "_delete": "aws lambda delete-function --region $npm_package_config_region --profile $npm_package_config_profile --function-name $npm_package_name",
    "_delete_log_group": "aws logs delete-log-group --log-group-name /aws/lambda/$npm_package_name",
    "post_delete": "npm run delete_log_group",

So you can delete your function launching

npm run _delete
Notice that the *_delete* string has an underscore prefix otherwise it is error prone, due to bash completion on npm scripts, in particular when you launch *npm run deploy*.