Building and testing polyglot applications using AWS CodeBuild

Building and testing polyglot applications using AWS CodeBuild

Prakash Palanisamy, Solutions Architect

Microservices are becoming the new normal, and it’s natural to use multiple different programming languages for different microservices in the same application. This blog post explains how easy it is to build polyglot applications, test them, and package them for deployment using a single AWS CodeBuild project.

CodeBuild adds support for Polyglot builds using runtime-versions. With CodeBuild, it is possible to specify multiple runtimes in the buildspec file as part of the install phase. Runtimes can be composed of different major versions of the same programming language, or different programming languages altogether. For a complete list of supported runtime versions and how they must be specified in the buildspec file, see the build specification reference for CodeBuild.

This post provides an example of a microservices application comprised of three different microservices written using different programming languages. The complete code is available in the GitHub repository aws-codebuild-polyglot-application.

  • A microservice providing a greeting message (microservice-greeting) is written in Python.
  • A microservice obtaining users’ details (microservice-name) from an Amazon DynamoDB table is written using Node.js.
  • Another microservice making API calls to the above-mentioned name and greeting services, and provide a personalized greeting (microservice-webapp), is written in Java.

All of these microservices are deployed as serverless functions in AWS Lambda and front-ended by an API interface using Amazon API Gateway. To enable automated packaging and deployment, use AWS Serverless Application Model (AWS SAM) and the AWS SAM CLI. The complete application is deployed locally using DynamoDB Local and the sam local command. Automated UI testing uses the built-in headless browsers in the standard CodeBuild containers. To run DynamoDB Local and SAM Local docker runtime is being used hence the privileged mode should be enabled in the CodeBuild project.

The example buildspec file contains the following code:

version: 0.2

    ARTIFACT_BUCKET: "polyglot-codebuild-artifact-eu-west-1"

      nodejs: 10
      java: corretto8
      python: 3.7
      docker: 18
      - pip3 install --upgrade aws-sam-cli selenium pylint
      - python --version
      - pylint $CODEBUILD_SRC_DIR/microservices-greeting/
      - own_ip=`hostname -i`
      - sed -ie "s/CODEBUILD_IP/$own_ip/g" $CODEBUILD_SRC_DIR/env-webapp.json
      - node --version
      - cd $CODEBUILD_SRC_DIR/microservices-name
      - npm install
      - npm run build
      - java -version
      - cd $CODEBUILD_SRC_DIR/microservices-webapp
      - mvn clean package -Plambda
      - |
        sam package --template-file greeting-sam.yaml \
        --output-template-file greeting-sam-packaged.yaml \
        --s3-bucket $ARTIFACT_BUCKET
      - |
        sam package --template-file name-sam.yaml \
        --output-template-file name-sam-packaged.yaml \
        --s3-bucket $ARTIFACT_BUCKET
      - |
        sam package --template-file webapp-sam.yaml \
        --output-template-file webapp-sam-packaged.yaml \
        --s3-bucket $ARTIFACT_BUCKET
      - echo "Starting local DynamoDB instance"
      - docker network create codebuild-local
      - |
        docker run -d -p 8000:8000 --network codebuild-local \
        --name dynamodb amazon/dynamodb-local
      - |
        aws dynamodb create-table --endpoint-url \
        --table-name NamesTable \
        --attribute-definitions AttributeName=Id,AttributeType=S \
        --key-schema AttributeName=Id,KeyType=HASH \
        --provisioned-throughput ReadCapacityUnits=5,WriteCapacityUnits=5
      - |
        aws dynamodb --endpoint-url batch-write-item \
        --cli-input-json file://ddb_names.json
      - echo "Starting APIs locally..."
      - |
        nohup sam local start-api --template greeting-sam.yaml \
        --port 3000 --host &> greeting.log &
      - |
        nohup sam local start-api --template name-sam.yaml \
        --port 3001 --host --env-vars env.json \
        --docker-network codebuild-local &> name.log &
      - |
        nohup sam local start-api --template webapp-sam.yaml \
        --port 3002 --host \
        --env-vars env-webapp.json &> webapp.log &
      - cd $CODEBUILD_SRC_DIR/website
      - nohup python3 -m http.server 8080 &>webserver.log &
      - sleep 20
      - echo "Starting headless UI testing..."
      - python $CODEBUILD_SRC_DIR/tests/
    - greeting-sam-packaged.yaml
    - name-sam-packaged.yaml
    - webapp-sam-packaged.yaml

In the env section, an environment variable named ARTIFACT_BUCKET is uploaded and initialized. It contains the name of the S3 bucket in which the sam package command generated the AWS SAM template. This variable can be overridden either in the build project or while running the build. For more information about the order of precedence, see Run a Build (Console).

In the install phase, there are two sequences: runtime-versions and commands. As part of the runtime versions, four runtimes are specified: Three programming languages’ runtime (Node.js, Java, and Python), which are required to build the microservices, and Docker runtime to deploy the application locally using the sam local command. In the commands sequence, the required packages are installed and updated.

In the pre_build phase, use pylint to lint the Python-based microservice. Get the IP address of the CodeBuild container, to be used later while running the application locally.

In the build phase, use the command sequence to build individual microservices based on their programming language. Use the sam package command to create the Lambda deployment package and generate an updated AWS SAM template.

In the post_build phase, start a DynamoDB Local container as a daemon, create a table in that database, and insert the user details in to that table. After that, start a local instance of greeting, name, and web app microservices using the sam local command. The repository also contains a simple static website that can make API calls to these microservices and provide a user-friendly response. This website is hosted locally using Python’s built-in HTTP server. After the application starts, execute the automated UI testing by running the script. This test script uses Selenium WebDriver. It runs UI tests on headless Firefox and Chrome browsers to validate whether the local deployment of the application works as expected.

If all the phases complete successfully, the updated AWS SAM template files are stored as artifacts based on the specification in artifacts section.

The repository also contains an AWS CloudFormation template that creates a pipeline on AWS CodePipeline with AWS CodeCommit as sources. It builds the application using the previously mentioned buildspec in CodeBuild, and deploys the application using AWS CloudFormation.


In this post, you learned how to use the runtime-versions capability in CodeBuild to build a polyglot application. You also learned about automated UI testing using built-in headless browsers in CodeBuild. Using polygot build capabilities of CodeBuild you shall efficiently handle building applications developed on multiple programming languages using a single build project, instead of creating and maintaining multiple build projects. Similarly, since all the dependent components are built as part of the same project, it also improves the ease of testing including the integration between components.

from AWS DevOps Blog

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