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Mark Sta Ana
Mark Sta Ana

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AWS DevOps Pro Certification Blog Post Series: Code Build

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Caveat emptor

Using AWS costs money, some of these services may not be part of the AWS Free Tier. You can keep costs down by tearing down anything you've created whilst learning, but it's still possible to run up a hefty bill so pay attention to the instances you setup!

I'm very lucky to be able to use my employer's AWS account. You should ask your place of work if a similar arrangement can be made as part of your study.

Velocius quam asparagi conquantur

The format of the blog posts is liable to change as I try refine my mental model of each domain, so be sure to revisit the blog posts on a regular basis.


Code Build is a managed build service.


Asides the infrastructure required to host your applications and services, build farms are the next largest expenditure. Also orchestration to provision a build farm is non-trivial. Managed build services like Travis CI, Circle CI and Appveyor have helped Open Source projects thrive and allowed maintainers to support a wide range of CPU and operating systems.


SDLC automation: CodeCommit -> [CodeBuild] -> ???


This is loosely based around the [Getting Started] section of the User Guide.

The main differences are that I'm going to use the CLI instead of the Web UI to aid in learning these commands too, also I'm going to use Rust to demonstrate how to distribute build artefacts.

Create S3

We're going to use S3 to store our build artefacts, so we'll create a bucket in the same region as our CodeBuild project (eu-west-2). This is an important thing to note, as you can't use an S3 bucket in a different region to your CodeBuild project.

aws s3api create-bucket \
  --bucket hello-codebuild \
  --region eu-west-2 \
  --create-bucket-configuration LocationConstraint=eu-west-2

Setup CodeCommit

We're going to create a brand new CodeCommit repository.

aws codecommit create-repository \
  --repository-name hello-codebuild
  --region eu-west-2

Pull in the source code

To avoid adding more steps (which aren't relevant), I've created a simple Rust app that'll we'll use for this lab.

We'll clone the CodeCommit repo, download the simple app, unzip the zip and push the code back up to the CodeCommit repo.

REPO_URL=$(aws codecommit get-repository --repository-name $REPO_NAME | jq -r .repositoryMetadata.cloneUrlSsh)
git clone $REPO_URL
cd hello-codebuild
curl -sLO
rm -rf
mv hello-codebuild-master/* .
rm -rf hello-codebuild-master
git add -A
git commit -m 'initial commit'
git push -u origin master

Build specification

The build specification is similar to other configuration files used by CI services, it tells the build service how to build our code.

version: 0.2

      - apt-get update -y
      - apt-get install -y build-essential
      - curl -sSf | sh -s -- -y
      - PATH=/root/.cargo/bin:$PATH
      - cargo test
      - cargo build --release
    - ./target/release/hello-codebuild

The points of interest for us, are the following sections or phases:

  • install - what commands do we need to run to install the build tools for our language. We're using apt because our CodeBuild project will use an Ubuntu 14.04 based server image.
  • build - what commands are required to build the code
  • artifacts - what do we want to upload to our S3 bucket?

Create a service role for CodeBuild

First, we'll create a new service role (this is done for us if we create the project through UI), luckily the User Guide has instructions on how to do this through the CLI.

Let's create the following files:


  "Version": "2012-10-17",
  "Statement": [
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Principal": {
        "Service": ""
      "Action": "sts:AssumeRole"


  "Version": "2012-10-17",
  "Statement": [
      "Sid": "CloudWatchLogsPolicy",
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Action": [
      "Resource": [
      "Sid": "CodeCommitPolicy",
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Action": [
      "Resource": [
      "Sid": "S3GetObjectPolicy",
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Action": [
      "Resource": [
      "Sid": "S3PutObjectPolicy",
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Action": [
      "Resource": [
aws iam create-role \
  --role-name CodeBuildServiceRole 
  --assume-role-policy-document file://create-role.json

aws iam put-role-policy --role-name CodeBuildServiceRole \
  --policy-name CodeBuildServiceRolePolicy \
  --policy-document file://put-role-policy.json

Create the CodeBuild project

SERVICE_ROLE_ARN=$(aws iam get-role --role-name CodeBuildServiceRole | jq -r .Role.Arn)
REPO_URL=$(aws codecommit get-repository --repository-name $REPO_NAME | jq -r .repositoryMetadata.cloneUrlHttp)
aws codebuild create-project \
  --name $REPO_NAME \
  --source type=CODECOMMIT,location=$REPO_URL \
  --artifacts type=S3,location=$S3_BUCKET \
  --environment type=LINUX_CONTAINER,image=aws/codebuild/ubuntu-base:14.04,computeType=BUILD_GENERAL1_SMALL,imagePullCredentialsType=CODEBUILD \
  --service-role $SERVICE_ROLE_ARN

Key things to point out:

  • sourceType
    • We've opted for the CodeCommit type, but there are also options for BitBucket, CodePipeline, GitHub, S3 and finally No Source (when there's no source code).
    • The other parameter we provided was the location of the Git repo URL.
    • More details about the sourceType can be found in the API.
  • artifacts
    • We've opted for the type S3, the only other options are CodePipeline and No artifacts.
    • The other parameter we provided was the location of the S3 bucket.
    • More details about the artifacts can be found in the API
  • environment
    • The image type is Linux, instead of Windows.
    • The image is Ubuntu 14.04 base (which looks like the only choice if you go through the UI).
    • The computeType is the smallest general purpose build server
    • The imagePullCredentialsType is AWS CodeBuild's own credentials to pull the image, which is fine since the Container Registry we're using is the one provided by AWS for it's own images.
  • service-role is the ARN of the IAM role that we created earlier.

Run build

BUILD_ID=$(aws codebuild start-build --project-name $REPO_NAME | jq -r

View build logs

aws codebuild batch-get-builds --ids $BUILD_ID

Get artifact and test it

aws s3 cp s3://hello-codebuild/hello-codebuild/target/release/hello-codebuild hello-codebuild
chmod +x
docker run --rm -it -v $PWD:/root ubuntu bash -c /root/hello-codebuild

API and CLI features and verbs


  • Project(s)
  • Build(s)
  • Webhook
  • Source Credentials

Verbs (CRUD)

  • create
  • batch-get/get/list/describe
  • update/put
  • delete


  • list-curated-environment-images
  • import-source-credentials
  • invalidate-project-cache
  • stop/start build

To go to the next part of the series, click on the grey dot below which is next to the current marker (the black dot).

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