Weeknotes: Week of January 16, 2022·
AWS CloudFormation example templates, CloudShell and Cloud9, and a GitHub Actions surprise.
AWS CloudFormation Examples
GitHub user Thomas Step has created an enormously useful repository of example sample CloudFormation templates for different AWS resources. Most useful for me recently was the Fargate example, as I just needed to set up a simple Fargate/ECS cluster in order to test some deployment stuff, but I’m not familiar enough with ECS to quickly set up an example on my own. Nor do I have access to any existing ones that I can mess around with. Being able to quickly launch a resource from these templates without having to learn the ins and outs of the service was a HUGE time saver. Thanks Thomas!
AWS CloudShell and Cloud9
I want to like CloudShell as a way to quickly run CLI commands without having to mess around with CLI authentication and role assumption. I know the coolest possible version of me would just be in the terminal all the time, but being realistic I spend at least 80% of my time in the browser and am quite often using the AWS web console. CloudShell is promising but has one huge glaring flaw: it forgets my bash history each time I start a new session. If there’s a way around this I can’t find it.
Cloud9 is a little better, but it’s a much heavier service since it requires spinning up an “environment” which is an EC2 instance, so I can’t easily just hop into a random account I don’t often use and run a CLI command. But today I used it to demo some stuff for my team and it has some big advantages for team use:
- AWS CLI authentication is handled automagically - you are the same user in the Cloud9 terminal as you are in the web console.
- Most tools you would need are already installed and available for everyone. Great for newer team members or folks coming from non-Linux backgrounds.
Downsides/annoyances of Cloud9:
- Not a great IDE experience. VS Code is really much better.
- When used in conjunction with AWS SSO, if you have a short session length you get timed out of your IDE session annoyingly often, regardless of your activity.
- When created via an IAM role environments seem to be tied to the role that
created them. So if for example I usually stick to a federated role with
PowerUserAccesspermissions in an account but sometimes use a role with
AdministratorAccessfor specific things, even though both roles are being assumed by the same federated principal (me), there’s no way to share the Cloud9 environment across them. Looks like they can be shared to IAM users, but at my work we try to avoid IAM users for anything but service accounts.
Started playing with this this week. One minor thing that surprised me:
Workflows cannot be triggered manually unless they explicitly allow for
triggering via the
workflow_dispatch event. Documentation here: