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Welcome to Tradle serverless / Tradle MyCloud! You'll find everything you need to configure and launch your own Tradle instance here.

If you're developer, you'll also see how to set up your local environment, deploy, and develop your own chatbots.


Digital Identity Intro

Jump down the rabbit hole


First, install some tools



Make sure you have git installed. If you're on OS X, you already have it. To enforce https access to github run this command: git config --global url."https://".insteadOf git://


The following are the versions used by the Tradle dev team:

  • Node.js@8.10.0 - this is the version used by Amazon for AWS Lambda. Yes, you can use the latest Node.js instead, but keep this in mind if you hit errors.
  • npm@3.10.10 - npm@5 sometimes has trouble with big dependency trees

Docker & Docker Compose

Docker is used during the build process, as well as in the local playground. Docker Compose is used for container orchestration and networking

  1. Docker
    a. OS X
    b. Window
    c. Linux
  2. Docker Compose

Make sure you can run docker as non-root. On Linux, you can do this by adding your user to the docker group with: sudo gpasswd -a $USER docker

AWS cli & credentials

  1. Install
  2. create a new IAM user with AdministratorAccess
  3. Configure your credentials: aws configure or aws configure --profile <profileName>. This will set up your AWS credentials in ~/.aws/


jq: a great command line JSON parser (On OS X, you can brew install jq)


typescript: This project uses TypeScript, which needs to be compiled to JavaScript prior to use.

Install: npm i -g --save-exact typescript@3.3.3333

Note: Depending on your local setup you may need install with sudo

Development Tools

Note: if you don't care about playing locally and want to skip ahead to deploying Tradle MyCloud to the cloud, skip this section

  • awslocal. aws-cli wrapper for querying localstack. (On OS X, install with [sudo] pip install awscli-local)
  • Serverless Framework - this is already installed as part of devDependencies, but you may also want it installed globally so you can use the serverless cli (npm i -g serverless)
  • nodemon - detects changes in code and restarts your local server

Clone this project

Clone this project. The rest of setup below takes place in the cloned repository's root folder.

Install dependencies

# install dependencies
npm install

Set AWS profile

By default, aws cli operations will run under the profile named default

If you ran aws configure --profile <profileName> and not aws configure, open vars.json and add a property:

  "profile": "<profileName>"

Local Playground

Note: if you don't care about playing locally and want to skip ahead to deploying Tradle MyCloud to the cloud, skip this section

Goal: set up an environment where we can talk to the chatbot that comes in the box, and see how we can develop our own.

Set TMPDIR env var

Check if the environment variable TMPDIR is set, and if not set it (better add it to ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bashrc)

Start docker

# make sure you have docker running
docker ps

Start the Playground

The first time you start the playground, Docker will pull the necessary images from Docker Hub, which can take a while, depending on which century your internet connection is from.

npm start

Now open your browser to http://localhost:55555. If 55555 is already your favorite port for something else, you can change the port in ./docker/docker-compose-localstack.yml.

If you don't see your local provider, click the red menu button on the Conversations screen, choose "Add Server Url" and add http://localhost:21012

Profile Conversations Chat

Explore the API

After you chat with the bot a bit, open up GraphiQL at http://localhost:21012 and play with the API:

# http://localhost:21012
# sample query:
  rl_tradle_ProductRequest {
    edges {
      node {

You can also browse the database via the DynamoDB Admin at http://localhost:8001

When you deploy to the cloud, GraphiQL will be available at

AWS cli (local)

The endpoints for localstack are enumerated in their docs (or see ./src/test/localstack.json). To query them using the AWS cli, specify an additional --endpoint option, e.g.:

aws dynamodb list-tables --endpoint http://localhost:4569
aws s3 ls --endpoint http://localhost:4572


Pre-deployment configuration

  • To change the region/name/domain/logo of your deployment, edit ./vars.json. Then run npm run build:yml. See ./default-vars.json for a list of variables you can override.
  • If you'd like to write your own bot, for now the easier way to do it is directly in your cloned tradle/serverless repo. Check out the built-in bot in: ./in-house-bot/index.js.

Deploy to AWS

First, make sure Docker is running

# make sure docker is running
docker ps


# 1. compile typescript -> javascript
# 2. test
# 3. rebuild native modules with AWS Linux container
# 4. deploy to cloud
npm run deploy:safe


# compile typescript -> javascript
# gen resources in cloud emulator and test
npm run gen:localresources && npm test
# rebuild native modules with AWS Linux container
npm run rebuild:lambda
# deploy to cloud
npm run deploy

Deployment can take ~5-10 minutes.

Once everything's deployed, open your browser to On the Conversations page, click the red button, and choose Add Server URL. Paste in your API endpoint (it looks like

Post-deployment configuration

See tradleconf, a command line tool for configuring styles, plugins, custom models, etc. of a deployed Tradle MyCloud.

Explore the Architecture

List deployed resources, API endpoints, ...

npm run info # or run: sls info

# Service Information
# service: tradle
# stage: dev
# ...
# endpoints:
#  ..
#  ANY -
#  ANY -
#  ..


This project uses TypeScript, which compiles to JavaScript. If you're changing any *.ts files, or if you run git pull be sure you have tsc -w running on the command line, which will watch for changes and rebuild your sources.


If you modify serverless-uncompiled.yml, run npm run build:yml to preprocess it. Before running tests, re-run npm run gen:localresources

To override variables in the yml without picking a fight with git, create a vars.json file in the project root. See default-vars.json for which variables you can override.

After modifying vars.json, run npm run build:yml


Note: running tests messes with your locally emulated resources. After running tests, run npm run reset:local before running npm start

# run tests on local resources
npm run test
# browse that data via graphql
npm run test:graphqlserver
# GraphiQL is at       http://localhost:21012
# DynamoDB Admin is at http://localhost:8001

Hot re-loading

Thanks to serverless-offline, changes made to the codebase will be hot-reloaded, which makes development that much sweeter...but also slower. To disable hot-reloading, add this in vars.json:

  # disable hot-reloading
  skipCacheInvalidation: true
  # copy these from default-vars.json unless you want custom ones
  host: ...
  port: ...


Use tradleconf


Sometimes you want to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch (usually by age 25 or so). The following command will wipe out all the AWS resources created in your deployment. Obviously, use with EXTREME caution, as this command executes with your AWS credentials (best use a separate account).

To destroy your remote stack, resources, data, etc., use tradleconf

To destroy your local resources, use npm run nuke:local, or npm run reset:local to destroy + reinit

[Deprecated] Destroy

npm run nuke
# a series of y/n prompts ensues, 
# ensuring you're committed to the destruction of all that is holy

Troubleshooting local deployment

Note: this is ONLY for troubleshooting your local development environment and NOT your remote deployment

Symptom 1:

# Error: connect ECONNREFUSED
# ...

Cause: localstack is not up.
Fix: npm run localstack:start

Symptom 2:

# ResourceNotFoundException: Cannot do operations on a non-existent table
# ...

Cause: you haven't generated local resources (tables, buckets, etc.)
Fix: run npm run gen:localresources

Symptom 3:

...bucket does not exist

Cause: you probably ran tests, which f'd up your local resources
Fix: npm run reset:local

Symptom: tests fail, you don't know why
Cause: to be determined
Fix: npm run reset:local # delete + regen local resources (tables, buckets, etc.)

Symptom 4:

Serverless command "<some command>" not found

Cause: your serverless.yml is corrupted. build:yml probably failed the last time you ran it.
Fix: fix serverless-uncompiled.yml, make sure build:yml completes successfully before retrying

Symptom 5:

still havent connected to local Iot broker!

Cause: something in redis upsets mosca, but what exactly is TBD
Fix: npm run fix:redis

Symptom 6

The log is going nuts but the mobile/web client can't seem to communicate with your local MyCloud

Cause: if you have multiple clients connected at once (e.g. mobile, simulator, multiple browser tabs), your machine probably just can't handle it. If you've got Dev Tools open and are debugging your lambdas, that exacerbates things. This is due to the fact that locally, the serverless environment is simulated by invoking each lambda function as if it's waking up for the first time in a docker container. It needs to require() everything from scratch, then run itself, then die. This is memory/computation expensive. Fix: turn off the debugger, don't use more clients than your machine can handle. Yes, locally, this might only be a 2-5!

Symptom 7

Credentials Error --------------------------------------

Missing credentials in config

Cause 1: your AWS cli is not configured with your credentials
Fix: see AWS cli

Cause 2: you may be using a global installation of serverless rather than the project-local one. If you're running Tradle locally via npm scripts, this should be taken care of for you. If you're running sls / serverless commands directly, make sure to use the project-local one in node_modules, e.g.: ./node_modules/.bin/sls offline start

Symptom 8

npm install fails with Authentication failed for '' (or some other private repository it fails to pull).

Cause 1: you don't have access to the repository
Fix: check to see if you can clone that repository directly, into some other folder. If you can't, request access from Tradle

Cause 2: your git credentials have expired, or are not being properly cached
Fix: set up caching for your git credentials (varies depending on your operating system), and then check to see if you can clone that repository directly, into some other folder.

Cause 3: npm is having trouble with dependencies with git:// urls.
Fix: open ~/.gitconfig on your machine, and add this block:

[url "https://"]
  insteadOf = "git://"

Symptom 9

"namespace":"global:http","msg":"request failed","level":"ERROR","details":{"method":"POST","port":4569,"path":"/","host":""

Cause: docker isn't running, or if it is, localstack isn't Fix: see fix for Symptom 1

Troubleshooting remote deployment

Symptom 1

After deploying to AWS, CloudWatch logs shows:

module initialization error TypeError

Cause: a native module in your dependency tree was not compiled for the Amazon Linux Container Fix: npm run rebuild:lambda and re-deploy

Keep in mind that deployment keys in S3 are based on the current git commit, so you'll need to re-commit before deploying, otherwise AWS CloudFormation will not re-deploy your lambdas with new code.

If the issue persists, you may have unknowingly introduced a new native dependency. Run ./src/scripts/ and see if there's anything missing in the native_modules var in ./src/scripts/ If there, is, update native_modules and repeat the above fix.

Keep in mind that code bundle S3 keys are based on the current git commit hash, so you'll need to create a new git commit before pushing, e.g.: git commit --allow-empty -m "chore: bust deployment cache"


npm run localstack:start

start DynamoDB and S3 in a Docker

npm run localstack:stop

stop local DynamoDB and S3

npm run localstack:restart

restart local DynamoDB and S3

npm run localstack:update

update docker images

npm run gen:localstack

generate local DynamoDB tables and S3 buckets

npm run gen:localresources

generate local tables, buckets, identity and keys

npm run nuke:local

delete local tables, buckets, identity and keys

npm run reset:local

delete and recreate local resources (tables, buckets, identity)

npm run deploy:safe

lint, run tests, rebuild native modules for the AWS Linux Container used by AWS Lambda, and deploy to AWS

npm run test:graphqlserver

start up two UIs for browsing local data:

  • a DynamoDB Admin interface
  • GraphiQL

npm run graphqlserver

starts up GraphiQL for querying remote data


  • warm up all functions with: sls warmup run
  • warm up a subset of functions with sls warmup run -f [function1] -f [function2] -c [concurrency]
  • estimate cost of warm ups: sls warmup cost

Project Architecture


This project uses the Serverless framework. serverless.yml file is thus the main configuration file for the cloud architecture you'll be deploying: tables, buckets, IaM roles, lambda functions, logs, alarms, pictures of kittens, etc.

You can set up a local playground, with most of the functionality of the cloud one right on your machine. To make this possible, this project uses localstack for simulating DynamoDB and S3 locally, and serverless-offline + mosca for simulating AWS's APIGateway and IoT broker, respectively.

Directory Structure

  serverless-uncompiled.yml # npm run build:yml turns this into:
                            #   -> serverless-interpolated.yml 
                            #   -> serverless-compiled.yml
                            #   -> serverless.yml
  vars.json                 # your provider's name/domain/logo, as well as dev env opts
  src/                      # typescript code, some shell scripts
    scripts/                # command line scripts, and utils
    bot/                    # bot engine
    in-house-bot/           # currently co-located in-house-bot bot implementation
  lib/                      # transpiled JS code

Main Components

Below you'll find the description of the various architecture components that get created when the stack is deployed.

Core Tables

you'll typically see table names formatted per a combination of the serverless and tradle convention, tdl-[service]-ltd-[stage]-[name] e.g. the events table is tdl-tradle-ltd-dev-events on the dev stage

  • events: immutable master log
  • bucket-0: mutable data store for data, seals, sessions, etc.


  • ObjectsBucket: stores the payloads of all messages sent/received to/from users, as well as objects created by business logic, e.g. tradle.Application (to track application state)
  • SecretsBucket: if I told you, I'd have to kill you. It stores the private keys for your MyCloud's identity.
  • PrivateConfBucket: public/private configuration like: identity, styles, and bot plugin configuration files
  • FileUploadBucket: because Lambda and IoT message-size limits, any media embedded in objects sent by users is first uploaded here
  • LogsBucket: exactly what you think
  • ServerlessDeploymentBucket: stores past and current MyCloud deployment packages


Note: subject to change as lambdas are split out or collapsed together

  • jobScheduler: lambda that fans out scheduled tasks (e.g. warming up other lambda containers, retrying failed deliveries, sending pending transactions to the blockchain, polling the blockchain for confirmations, etc.)
  • genericJobRunner: lambda that executes tasks fanned out by jobScheduler
  • preauth (HTTP): generates temporary credentials (STS) for new connections from users, attaches the IotClientRole to them, creates a new session in the presence table (still unauthenticated). Generates a challenge to be signed (verified in auth) *
  • auth (HTTP): verifies the challenge, marks the session as authenticated *
  • oniotlifecycle (IoT): manages the user's Iot session, attempts to deliver queued up messages depending on the user's announced send/receive position
  • inbox (HTTP): receives batches of inbound messages (typically from other MyClouds)
  • info (HTTP): gets the public information about this MyCloud - the identity, style, logo, country, currency, etc.
  • bot_oninit: initializes the MyCloud node - generates an identity and keys, saves secrets and default configuration files to respective buckets. Should really be named init or oninit, but good luck getting AWS to rename something.
  • onmessage: processes inbound messages, then hands off to synchronous business logic
  • onresourcestream: replicates changes to immutable events table, hands off to asynchronous business logic
  • graphql: your bot's built-in graphql API that supports existing Tradle models and custom ones you add.
  • cli: command line lambda used for various admin tasks

* Note: the purpose of authentication is to know whether to send the user queued up messages. Inbound messages don't require pre-authentication, as they are all signed and can be verified without the need for a session's context.

Network communication flow

  1. client (Tradle mobile/web app) calls /preauth (preauth lambda) and gets a temporary identity via AWS STS. It also gets a challenge to sign.
  2. client calls /auth with the signed challenge. At this point MyCloud deems it safe to send the client any queued up messages, and will start doing so.
  3. client subscribes to AWS Iot topics restricted to its temporary identity's namespace. This allows it to receive messages, acks and errors from MyCloud. MyCloud receives these Iot lifecycle events (connect, disconnect, subscribe) in Lambda, and updates the client's session information (iotlifecycle lambda).
  4. the client and MyCloud can send each other messages via AWS Iot.


See ./docs/

Email templates

Note: you don't need this unless you change the templates in in-house-bot/templates/raw

To prerender templates (primarily to inline css), run npm run prerender:templates