Sample application that uses serverless + nodejs + dynamodb
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This sample application / tutorial shows how to get started quickly with the Serverless Framework, AWS Lambda, AWS Gateway API, and DynamoDB.


Take a look at my video for further info:

getting started with the serverless framework



Step 1: Create an IAM admin user

Create an IAM user and download or copy the credentials (Access Key ID and Secret Access Key). Click on the newly created IAM user, click on the "Permissions" tab and on the "Attach Policy" button. Select "Administrator Access".

Step 2: Install the serverless framework and create a new project
  • Install the serverless framework.
  • Create a new serverless project and go through the steps of the command line wizard

Open your command line (shell, terminal) and type the following commands:

npm i serverless -g
sls help
sls project create
Step 3: Create a component and function

After you have created the project, cd into the project directory (e.g., cd serverless-v1gaqr) and type the following commands:

sls component create blog
sls function create blog/post

This will create a nodejs component with name blog and a function with name post.

Step 4: Install component dependencies

In this project, we want to access dynamodb and also need a way to generate uuids. Therefore type in your commandline:

cd blog
npm i --save dynamodb node-uuid
Step 5: Implement the lambda function

Open blog/post/handler.js and enter the following code:

'use strict';

var doc = require('dynamodb-doc');
var dynamo = new doc.DynamoDB();

// Require Serverless ENV vars
var ServerlessHelpers = require('serverless-helpers-js').loadEnv();

// Require Logic
var lib = require('../lib');

// Lambda Handler
module.exports.handler = function(event, context) {
  console.log('Received event:',JSON.stringify(event,null,2));

  var operation = event.operation;
  if(event.tableName) {
    event.payload.TableName = event.tableName;

  switch(operation) {
    case 'create':
      var uuid = require('node-uuid');
      event.payload.Item.postId = uuid.v1();
    case 'read':
    case 'update':
      dynamo.updateItem(event.payload, context.done);
    case 'delete':
      dynamo.deleteItem(event.payload, context.done);
    case 'list':
        dynamo.scan(event.payload, context.done);
    default: Error('Unrecognized operation "' + operation + '"'));


Deploy the Lambda function:

sls function deploy blog/post
Step 6: Define AWS API Gateway endpoints

We define API endpoints by

  • Creating a template file s-templates.json that contains request and response mapping templates
  • Completing the s-function.json file which contains some lambda function configurations and API endpoint configurations

Create blog/post/s-templates.json. Here is an excerpt:

  "apiRequestPostReadTemplate": {
    "application/json" : {
      "operation": "read",
      "tableName": "blog-posts",
      "payload": {
        "Key": {
          "postId": "$input.params('postId')"

Complete blog/post/s-function.json. Here is an excerpt:

  "endpoints": [
      "path": "post",
      "method": "GET",
      "type": "AWS",
      "authorizationType": "none",
      "apiKeyRequired": false,
      "requestParameters": {
        "integration.request.querystring.postId": "method.request.querystring.postId"
      "requestTemplates": "$${apiRequestPostReadTemplate}",
      "responses": {
        "400": {
          "statusCode": "400"
        "default": {
          "statusCode": "200",
          "responseParameters": {},
          "responseModels": {},
          "responseTemplates": {
            "application/json": "$${apiResponsePostReadTemplate}"

Deploy the 5 endpoints:

sls dash deploy

Select the 5 endpoints and hit "deploy".

Step 7: Create a DynamoDB table

Do the following:

  • Create a new DynamoDB table
  • Give your Lambda function's IAM role (which has been automatically created by serverless) access rights to the new DynamoDB table)

Open and select the geographic region where your serverless project is deployed (e.g., us-east-1).

Create a new table with name blog-posts and with primary partition key postId, as stated in the blog/post/s-templates.json template parameter "tableName". You might want to move the table name and key name to a variable in _meta/variables/s-variables-dev.json so you can distinguish between different DynamoDB tables for different stages of your application (dev, test, prod, ...).

You don't need to specify anything else on your DynamoDB table (except maybe for reducing provisioned capacity down to 1 from the default 5). The DynamoDB schema is flexible, so new columns will be created on-the-fly with the appropriate data type.

Now, you need to give your Lambda function permission to access the newly created DynamoDB table. Go to your IAM dashboard (in this case in the us-east-1 region) and select the IAM role of your serverless project. Click on the "Create Role Policy" button and enter the following policy:

    "Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Statement": [
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Action": [
            "Resource": [

Replace YOUR_REGION e.g. with us-east-1 or wherever you have your dynamodb table and replace YOUR_AWS_ACCOUNT_ID with your aws account id (which you can find here:


Woohoo, you made it! Sweet!

You can now test your serverless application, e.g., using Postman. You can import Postman extensions from your AWS API Gateway dashboard: go to, click on "Stages" and select the "Export" tab.