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Deploy local files and directories to S3

Project description

AWS CDK Assets


Stability: Experimental

This is a developer preview (public beta) module. Releases might lack important features and might have future breaking changes.

This API is still under active development and subject to non-backward compatible changes or removal in any future version. Use of the API is not recommended in production environments. Experimental APIs are not subject to the Semantic Versioning model.

Assets are local files or directories which are needed by a CDK app. A common example is a directory which contains the handler code for a Lambda function, but assets can represent any artifact that is needed for the app's operation.

When deploying a CDK app that includes constructs with assets, the CDK toolkit will first upload all the assets to S3, and only then deploy the stacks. The S3 locations of the uploaded assets will be passed in as CloudFormation Parameters to the relevant stacks.

The following JavaScript example defines an directory asset which is archived as a .zip file and uploaded to S3 during deployment.

# Example automatically generated. See
asset = assets.Asset(self, "SampleAsset",
    path=path.join(__dirname, "sample-asset-directory")

The following JavaScript example defines a file asset, which is uploaded as-is to an S3 bucket during deployment.

# Example automatically generated. See
asset = assets.Asset(self, "SampleAsset",
    path=path.join(__dirname, "file-asset.txt")


Asset constructs expose the following deploy-time attributes:

In the following example, the various asset attributes are exported as stack outputs:

# Example automatically generated. See
asset = assets.Asset(self, "SampleAsset",
    path=path.join(__dirname, "sample-asset-directory")

cdk.CfnOutput(self, "S3BucketName", value=asset.s3_bucket_name)
cdk.CfnOutput(self, "S3ObjectKey", value=asset.s3_object_key)
cdk.CfnOutput(self, "S3URL", value=asset.s3_url)


IAM roles, users or groups which need to be able to read assets in runtime will should be granted IAM permissions. To do that use the asset.grantRead(principal) method:

The following examples grants an IAM group read permissions on an asset:

# Example automatically generated. See
group = iam.Group(self, "MyUserGroup")

How does it work?

When an asset is defined in a construct, a construct metadata entry aws:cdk:asset is emitted with instructions on where to find the asset and what type of packaging to perform (zip or file). Furthermore, the synthesized CloudFormation template will also include two CloudFormation parameters: one for the asset's bucket and one for the asset S3 key. Those parameters are used to reference the deploy-time values of the asset (using { Ref: "Param" }).

Then, when the stack is deployed, the toolkit will package the asset (i.e. zip the directory), calculate an MD5 hash of the contents and will render an S3 key for this asset within the toolkit's asset store. If the file doesn't exist in the asset store, it is uploaded during deployment.

The toolkit's asset store is an S3 bucket created by the toolkit for each environment the toolkit operates in (environment = account + region).

Now, when the toolkit deploys the stack, it will set the relevant CloudFormation Parameters to point to the actual bucket and key for each asset.

CloudFormation Resource Metadata

NOTE: This section is relevant for authors of AWS Resource Constructs.

In certain situations, it is desirable for tools to be able to know that a certain CloudFormation resource is using a local asset. For example, SAM CLI can be used to invoke AWS Lambda functions locally for debugging purposes.

To enable such use cases, external tools will consult a set of metadata entries on AWS CloudFormation resources:

  • aws:asset:path points to the local path of the asset.
  • aws:asset:property is the name of the resource property where the asset is used

Using these two metadata entries, tools will be able to identify that assets are used by a certain resource, and enable advanced local experiences.

To add these metadata entries to a resource, use the asset.addResourceMetadata(resource, property) method.

See for more details

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