AWS Lambda

The AWS Lambda extension provides the functionality to expose a Ballerina function as an AWS Lambda function.


  • Install the latest Ballerina distribution.
  • Install the AWS CLI.
  • Go to users, and click Add User.
  • Enter the username, enable programmatic access, and make sure the user has the AWSLambda_FullAccess or higher permissions.
  • Configure the AWS CLI using the access key and secret generated in the user creation.
  • Go to roles, and create a role that has the AWSLambdaBasicExecutionRole or higher permissions.
  • Go to the newly created role, and copy the role ARN to use when the Lambda function is being deployed.

Supported triggers

An AWS Lambda function can be triggered by various AWS services. You can find the list of supported notification types below.

Write the function

The following Ballerina code gives an example of how to expose a simple echo function in AWS Lambda.

Create a Ballerina package.

$ bal new aws_lambda_deployment

Replace the contents of the generated .bal file with the following content.

import ballerina/log;
import ballerinax/awslambda;

public function echo(awslambda:Context ctx, json input) returns json {
    return input;

Functions annotated as @awslambda:Function should always have the first parameter with the awslambda:Contextobject, which contains the information and operations related to the current function execution in AWS Lambda such as the request ID and the remaining execution time.

The second parameter with the json value contains the input request data. This input value format will vary depending on the source, which invoked the function (e.g., an AWS S3 bucket update event). The return type of the function is json. When the function is triggered by the event, the function body executes and it simply logs the input JSON and returns the JSON.

Build the function

The AWS Lambda functionality is implemented as a compiler extension. Thus, artifact generation happens automatically when you build a Ballerina module.

Execute the command below to build the above code.

$ bal build
Compiling source

Generating executables
	@awslambda:Function: echo

        Run the following command to deploy each Ballerina AWS Lambda function:
        aws lambda create-function --function-name $FUNCTION_NAME --zip-file fileb://<package_dir>/target/bin/ --handler aws_lambda_deployment.$FUNCTION_NAME --runtime provided --role $LAMBDA_ROLE_ARN --layers arn:aws:lambda:$REGION_ID:134633749276:layer:ballerina-jre11:6 --memory-size 512 --timeout 10

        Run the following command to re-deploy an updated Ballerina AWS Lambda function:
        aws lambda update-function-code --function-name $FUNCTION_NAME --zip-file fileb://<package_dir>/target/bin/

Deploy the function

Ballerina's AWS Lambda functionality is implemented as a custom AWS Lambda layer. As shown in the above instructions' output, this information is provided when the function is created. The compiler generates the file, which encapsulates all the AWS Lambda functions that are generated. This ZIP file can be used with the AWS web console or the AWS CLI to deploy the functions.

Info: When you are deploying, make sure to replace the $LAMBDA_ROLE_ARN placeholder with the role ARN you copied in the prerequisites.

Execute the command below to deploy the echo function as an AWS Lambda as shown below.

Info: For the supported parameters, go to the create-function documentation. You might need to change parameters such as the MemorySize and Timeout depending on your application and connection speed.

$ aws lambda create-function --function-name echo --zip-file fileb://<package_dir>/target/bin/ --handler aws_lambda_deployment.echo --runtime provided --role arn:aws:iam::908363916138:role/lambda-role --layers arn:aws:lambda:us-west-1:134633749276:layer:ballerina-jre11:6

    "FunctionName": "echo",
    "FunctionArn": "arn:aws:lambda:us-west-1:908363916138:aws_lambda_deployment:echo",
    "Runtime": "provided",
    "Role": "arn:aws:iam::908363916138:role/lambda-role",
    "Handler": "aws_lambda_deployment.echo",
    "CodeSize": 22160569,
    "Description": "",
    "Timeout": 3,
    "MemorySize": 128,
    "LastModified": "2020-07-14T06:54:41.647+0000",
    "CodeSha256": "zXHpr2VC8Anauvox1dD8MichiH/55wKkY7RtaUe21dM=",
    "Version": "$LATEST",
    "TracingConfig": {
        "Mode": "PassThrough"
    "RevisionId": "d5400f01-f3b8-478b-9269-73c44f4537aa",
    "Layers": [
            "Arn": "arn:aws:lambda:us-west-1:134633749276:layer:ballerina-jre11:6",
            "CodeSize": 697

Invoke the function

Execute the command below to test the deployed AWS Lambda function by invoking it directly using the CLI.

Info: The payload should be a valid JSON object.

$ echo '{"MESSAGE":"HELLO"}' > input.json
$ aws lambda invoke --function-name echo --payload fileb://input.json echo-response.txt
    "StatusCode": 200,
    "ExecutedVersion": "$LATEST"

Execute the command below to view the response in the echo-response.txt file.

$ cat echo-response.txt


To check the logs of the execution, go to the echo lambda function in the portal, and then click on the Monitor tab and the Logs button.

More samples

S3 trigger

This sample creates a function, which will be executed for each object creation in AWS S3.

import ballerina/io;
import ballerinax/awslambda;

public function notifyS3(awslambda:Context ctx,
        awslambda:S3Event event) returns json {
    return event.Records[0].s3.'object.key;

Now, you can build and deploy the function as in the previous sample. To invoke this function, create an S3 bucket in AWS.

  1. Go to AWS S3 portal and create a bucket.
  2. Click on the created bucket, go to the Properties tab, and click on the Create event notification under the Event notifications section.
  3. Enable All object create events under event types. Select the Lambda function as the destination, and choose the notifyS3 Lambda function from the dropdown.

Now, click Upload to upload an object to the S3 bucket, and view the Lambda logs via CloudWatch to see the object name.

DynamoDB trigger

This sample creates a function, which will be executed for each entry added to a database in the DynamoDB.

import ballerina/io;
import ballerinax/awslambda;

public function notifyDynamoDB(awslambda:Context ctx,
        awslambda:DynamoDBEvent event) returns json {
    return event.Records[0].dynamodb.Keys.toString();

Now, you can build and deploy the function as in the previous sample. To invoke this function, create a DynamoDB table.

  1. Go to roles, and add AWSLambdaDynamoDBExecutionRole to the created role in the prerequisites.
  2. Go to the DynamoDB.
  3. Click Create Table, enter the table name, partition key, and create the table (If you already have a table created, you can skip this step).
  4. Click on the DynamoDB table, and then click the Exports and streams tab.
  5. Click enable DynamoDB stream details, and select the key attributes only for the event type.
  6. Once it's enabled, click Create a trigger, select the notifyDynamoDB from the dropdown, and create a trigger.

Now, add an entry to the DynamoDB table to invoke the Lambda function. For this, go to Items in the DynamoDB, select the table, and click Create item. Once the item is entered into the table, go to the Lambda function, and check the logs via CloudWatch to see the object identifier in the logs.

Note: In a more practical scenario, the AWS Lambda functions will be used by associating them to an external event source such as Amazon DynamoDB or Amazon SQS. For more information on this, go to AWS Lambda event source mapping documentation.