CodeStar to Simplify Development On AWS
Written by Nikos Vaggalis   
Monday, 24 April 2017

For developers the most important announcement made at last week's AWS Summit was CodeStar, which is intended is to enable you to quickly develop, build, and deploy applications on AWS.


CodeStar is thus an attempt to fix the tedious process of setting up your development infrastructure on the AWS platform, which we uncovered in the AWS for the Impatient series of articles

"The problem with entering the AWS world for the first time is that it's like entering a labyrinth, a futile attempt of navigating through an endless maze of documentation, policies, endpoints, services, tokens and authentications. The task of having to hook all that up in order to get on with your job is daunting." 

To alleviate this situation, Codestar provides a set of preconfigured project templates and by taking care of all the necessary permissions, where AWS is particularly picky, "so you don't need to create or manage complex IAM policies".

It goes even further in attempting to provide a good round development suite where team members can push code, deploy changes and track issues, incorporate continuous integration and delivery, and monitor all project activity, such as  recent code commits, tracking the status of code changes and building results and deployments, all through a single dashboard.

In detail the key benefits of AWS CodeStar are:

  • Easily create new projects using templates for Amazon EC2, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, or AWS Lambda using five different programming languages; JavaScript, Java, Python, Ruby, and PHP. By selecting a template, the service will provision the underlying AWS services needed for your project and application.

  • Unified experience for access and security policies management for your entire software team. Projects are automatically configured with appropriate IAM access policies to ensure a secure application environment.

  • Pre-configured project management dashboard for tracking various activities, such as code commits, build results, deployment activity and more.

  • Running sample code to help you get up and running quickly enabling you to use your favourite IDEs, like Visual Studio, Eclipse, or any code editor that supports Git.

  • Automated configuration of a continuous delivery pipeline for each project using AWS CodeCommit, AWS CodeBuild, AWS CodePipeline, and AWS CodeDeploy.

  • Integration with Atlassian JIRA Software for issue management and tracking directly from the AWS CodeStar console

To use CodeStar, you first need to sign in with an IAM user who has  administrative rights, then let CodeStar set up the corresponding IAM role for you and finally create your project by picking from a number of templates  grouped by relevance such as Application Category, Programming languages or AWS Services.

To keep it similar to the AWS for the Impatient series, we picked AWS Lambda from that list of templates.

In the next step of naming your project it is important to check the box:

AWS CodeStar would like permission to administer AWS resources on your behalf.

This lets Codestar takes care of the necessary permissions automatically. Without this tick it's back to square one, having to tweak things manually as discussed in the tutorials.



So naming our project awsImpatient sets up the following roles behind the scene: 

  • aws-codestar-service-role

  • CodeStarWorker-awsimpatient-CloudFormation

  • CodeStarWorker-awsimpatient-CodeBuild

  • CodeStarWorker-awsimpatient-CodePipeline

  • CodeStarWorker-awsimpatient-Lambda

and a corresponding awscodestar-awsimpatient-lambda-GetHelloWorld-I5540PWX8HH2 Lambda function based on the following code template:

'use strict';
var fs = require('fs');

 exports.get = function(event, context) {
   var contents = fs.readFileSync("public/index.html");
     statusCode: 200,
     body: contents.toString(),
     headers: {'Content-Type': 'text/html'}

The last step before being presented with your project's dashboard is  to pick one kind of integration:

  1. Configure the AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio to edit your AWS CodeStar project code in Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 (or higher.)

  2. Eclipse
    Configure the AWS Toolkit for Eclipse to edit your AWS CodeStar project code in Eclipse.

  3. Command line tools
    Edit AWS CodeStar project code by connecting directly to your project's Git source repository.

Finally your dashboard pops up, allowing you to manage all aspects of your project going through the menus of Code, Build, Pipeline, Team and Integrations.



In conclusion, the new Codestar console is certainly a step towards the right direction in handling a project's dependencies and associated workflow on the AWS platform.


More Information

Introducing AWS CodeStar – Quickly Develop, Build, and Deploy Applications on AWS


Related Articles

AWS Lambda for the Impatient Part 1

AWS Lambda for the Impatient Part 2

AWS Lambda for the Impatient Part 3


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Last Updated ( Monday, 24 April 2017 )