Lab 3 - A URL shortener

Implement a URL shortener using DynamoDB for storage with two functions.

  • Implement one function to create a shortened URL via HTTP POST
  • Implement one function to retrieve the full URL via HTTP GET issuing a 302 Found redirect

Below you find an example interaction with your service:

$ curl -v -XPOST -d url= https://$ENDPOINT/create-url

> POST /create-url HTTP/1.1
< HTTP/1.1 Created 201
Created short url: https://$ENDPOINT/${short-url}

$ curl -v http://$ENDPOINT/${short-url}

> GET /${short-url} HTTP/1.1
< HTTP/1.1 302 Found
< Location:
sequenceDiagram participant Browser participant APIGateway participant Lambda participant DynamoDB Browser->>APIGateway: POST /create-url APIGateway->>Lambda: Invoke Lambda->>DynamoDB: PutItem DynamoDB-->>Lambda: OK Lambda-->>APIGateway: {"url": "foo"} APIGateway-->>Browser: HTTP 201 Created {"url": "foo"}


  • Use the aws-sdk-go to talk to DynamoDB
  • Create a DynamoDB table using Cloudformation
  • Give your Lambda functions permissions to access the DynamoDB table with IAM
  • Inject the DynamoDB table via environment variables
  • Using path parameters with API Gateway and Lambda
  • Generate a short unique ID for the URL
  • Run the integration test to see if your service works as expected

Use the aws-sdk-go with DynamoDB

Use the aws-sdk-go to talk to DynamoDB. Find examples here. The code below sets up the SDK and issues a PutItem request.

import (
// Create a new AWS session and fail immediately on error
sess := session.Must(session.NewSession())
// Create the DynamoDB client
dynamodbclient := dynamodb.New(sess)
_, err = dynamodbclient.PutItem(&dynamodb.PutItemInput{
	TableName: aws.String(os.Getenv("DYNAMO_DB_TABLE")),
	Item: map[string]*dynamodb.AttributeValue{
		"short_url": &dynamodb.AttributeValue{S: aws.String(s)},
		"url":       &dynamodb.AttributeValue{S: aws.String(u)},
if err != nil {
	log.WithField("error", err).Error("Couldn't save URL")

Creating a DynamoDB table with Cloudformation

serverless.yml supports arbitrary Cloudformation resources under the resources key.

      Type: AWS::DynamoDB::Table
        TableName: url-shortener
          - AttributeName: "id"
            KeyType: "HASH"
          ReadCapacityUnits: "1"
          WriteCapacityUnits: "1"
          - AttributeName: "id"
            AttributeType: "S"

Give your Lambda functions permissions to access DynamoDB

Every AWS Lambda function needs permission to interact with other AWS infrastructure resources. Permissions are set via an AWS IAM Role which is automatically created and is shared by all of your functions. You can set additional permissions via the serverless.yml file:

    -  Effect: "Allow"
         - "dynamodb:PutItem"
         - "dynamodb:GetItem"
           - DynamoDBTable
           - Arn

Inject the DynamoDB table via environment variables

Use the twelve factor app pattern to store config in the environment to make the Lambda functions aware of your table. Make these settings in serverless.yml:

  environment: # Service wide environment variables
      Ref: DynamoDBTable # References resource by name

      Type: AWS::DynamoDB::Table

Configure URL routing and request parameters

For GET /${short-url} to work you need to configure path parameters for your function. In your serverless.yml add the following:

    handler: bin/get-url
      - http:
          path: /{short_url}
          method: get
                short_url: true

Details can be found here.

Generate a short unique ID for the URL

To generate a short/unique ID you can use this function:

// Shorten shortens a URL and will return an error if the URL does not validate.
// The implementation is a bit naive but good enough for a show case.
func Shorten(u string) (string, error) {
	if _, err := url.ParseRequestURI(u); err != nil {
		return "", err
	hash := fnv.New64a()
	return strconv.FormatUint(hash.Sum64(), 36), nil

Run integration test

Here is an integration test you can run against your service to see if it works.

  • Download integration_test.go
  • Copy to root of your project
  • Run it with: go test -integrationTest -endpoint=$(sls info -v | awk '/ServiceEndpoint/ { print $2 }')