Using Docker for AWS CDK development

Have a consistent development environment for your team on any OS

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In early 2022, I was starting a new project on AWS. I was using AWS CDK for about one year at this time. In a previous project, the team members used a mix of macOS and Linux computers. It was only a matter of time before a Windows user joined the team. Having a consistent development environment was beneficial. Based on previous experiments with Docker, I decided to use a Docker container as that development environment.

About one year later, in early 2023, I worked on a different CDK project. I started the project using macOS. About one month later, the team leader gave me a Windows laptop for me to use going forward. It was super simple to move my development environment. I installed Docker and git, cloned the git repository, ran the Docker command, and I was able to start developing right away. Using Docker containers saved me a lot of time.

Here is how I set up my Docker container

In my git repository, I created a docker-compose.yml file where I added the following code:

version: '3'
services:
nodejs:
# used for local development
image: 'cimg/node:18.15'
user: 'circleci'
working_dir: '/home/cdk'
volumes:
- './:/home/cdk'
command: bash

In the terminal, I ran the following command to start the container.

docker compose run --rm nodejs

Now I have a terminal running within the container.

I go to my AWS CDK app folder.

cd my-cdk-app

I paste my AWS credentials into the terminal. I can now run typical CDK commands.

npm run cdk synth
npm run cdk deploy
cdk synth
cdk deploy
# or however you have your cdk command execution set up

Conclusion

The setup was pretty simple. Now we have a consistent development environment regardless of the operating system. Leave a comment and let me know your experience.

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Miguel A. Calles · Serverless CISO

Author of "Serverless Security" · Specializing in CMMC, SOC 2, serverless & engineering.