The CDK Construct Library for AWS::StepFunctions

AWS Step Functions Construct Library

The @aws-cdk/aws-stepfunctions package contains constructs for building serverless workflows using objects. Use this in conjunction with the @aws-cdk/aws-stepfunctions-tasks package, which contains classes used to call other AWS services.

Defining a workflow looks like this (for the Step Functions Job Poller example):


import * as sfn from '@aws-cdk/aws-stepfunctions';
import * as tasks from '@aws-cdk/aws-stepfunctions-tasks';
import * as lambda from '@aws-cdk/aws-lambda';

const submitLambda = new lambda.Function(this, 'SubmitLambda', { ... });
const getStatusLambda = new lambda.Function(this, 'CheckLambda', { ... });

const submitJob = new tasks.LambdaInvoke(this, 'Submit Job', {
  lambdaFunction: submitLambda,
  // Lambda's result is in the attribute `Payload`
  outputPath: '$.Payload',

const waitX = new sfn.Wait(this, 'Wait X Seconds', {
    time: sfn.WaitTime.secondsPath('$.waitSeconds'),

const getStatus = new tasks.LambdaInvoke(this, 'Get Job Status', {
  lambdaFunction: getStatusLambda,
  // Pass just the field named "guid" into the Lambda, put the
  // Lambda's result in a field called "status" in the response
  inputPath: '$.guid',
  outputPath: '$.Payload',

const jobFailed = new sfn.Fail(this, 'Job Failed', {
    cause: 'AWS Batch Job Failed',
    error: 'DescribeJob returned FAILED',

const finalStatus = new tasks.LambdaInvoke(this, 'Get Final Job Status', {
  lambdaFunction: getStatusLambda,
  // Use "guid" field as input
  inputPath: '$.guid',
  outputPath: '$.Payload',

const definition = submitJob
    .next(new sfn.Choice(this, 'Job Complete?')
        // Look at the "status" field
        .when(sfn.Condition.stringEquals('$.status', 'FAILED'), jobFailed)
        .when(sfn.Condition.stringEquals('$.status', 'SUCCEEDED'), finalStatus)

new sfn.StateMachine(this, 'StateMachine', {
    timeout: Duration.minutes(5)

You can find more sample snippets and learn more about the service integrations in the @aws-cdk/aws-stepfunctions-tasks package.

State Machine

A stepfunctions.StateMachine is a resource that takes a state machine definition. The definition is specified by its start state, and encompasses all states reachable from the start state:

const startState = new stepfunctions.Pass(this, 'StartState');

new stepfunctions.StateMachine(this, 'StateMachine', {
    definition: startState

State machines execute using an IAM Role, which will automatically have all permissions added that are required to make all state machine tasks execute properly (for example, permissions to invoke any Lambda functions you add to your workflow). A role will be created by default, but you can supply an existing one as well.

Amazon States Language

This library comes with a set of classes that model the Amazon States Language. The following State classes are supported:

An arbitrary JSON object (specified at execution start) is passed from state to state and transformed during the execution of the workflow. For more information, see the States Language spec.


A Task represents some work that needs to be done. The exact work to be done is determine by a class that implements IStepFunctionsTask, a collection of which can be found in the @aws-cdk/aws-stepfunctions-tasks module.

The tasks in the @aws-cdk/aws-stepfunctions-tasks module support the service integration pattern that integrates Step Functions with services directly in the Amazon States language.


A Pass state passes its input to its output, without performing work. Pass states are useful when constructing and debugging state machines.

The following example injects some fixed data into the state machine through the result field. The result field will be added to the input and the result will be passed as the state's output.

// Makes the current JSON state { ..., "subObject": { "hello": "world" } }
const pass = new stepfunctions.Pass(this, 'Add Hello World', {
  result: stepfunctions.Result.fromObject({ hello: 'world' }),
  resultPath: '$.subObject',

// Set the next state

The Pass state also supports passing key-value pairs as input. Values can be static, or selected from the input with a path.

The following example filters the greeting field from the state input and also injects a field called otherData.

const pass = new stepfunctions.Pass(this, 'Filter input and inject data', {
  parameters: { // input to the pass state
    input: stepfunctions.JsonPath.stringAt('$.input.greeting')
    otherData: 'some-extra-stuff'

The object specified in parameters will be the input of the Pass state. Since neither Result nor ResultPath are supplied, the Pass state copies its input through to its output.

Learn more about the Pass state


A Wait state waits for a given number of seconds, or until the current time hits a particular time. The time to wait may be taken from the execution's JSON state.

// Wait until it's the time mentioned in the the state object's "triggerTime"
// field.
const wait = new stepfunctions.Wait(this, 'Wait For Trigger Time', {
    time: stepfunctions.WaitTime.timestampPath('$.triggerTime'),

// Set the next state


A Choice state can take a different path through the workflow based on the values in the execution's JSON state:

const choice = new stepfunctions.Choice(this, 'Did it work?');

// Add conditions with .when()
choice.when(stepfunctions.Condition.stringEqual('$.status', 'SUCCESS'), successState);
choice.when(stepfunctions.Condition.numberGreaterThan('$.attempts', 5), failureState);

// Use .otherwise() to indicate what should be done if none of the conditions match

If you want to temporarily branch your workflow based on a condition, but have all branches come together and continuing as one (similar to how an if ... then ... else works in a programming language), use the .afterwards() method:

const choice = new stepfunctions.Choice(this, 'What color is it?');
choice.when(stepfunctions.Condition.stringEqual('$.color', 'BLUE'), handleBlueItem);
choice.when(stepfunctions.Condition.stringEqual('$.color', 'RED'), handleRedItem);

// Use .afterwards() to join all possible paths back together and continue

If your Choice doesn't have an otherwise() and none of the conditions match the JSON state, a NoChoiceMatched error will be thrown. Wrap the state machine in a Parallel state if you want to catch and recover from this.


A Parallel state executes one or more subworkflows in parallel. It can also be used to catch and recover from errors in subworkflows.

const parallel = new stepfunctions.Parallel(this, 'Do the work in parallel');

// Add branches to be executed in parallel

// Retry the whole workflow if something goes wrong
parallel.addRetry({ maxAttempts: 1 });

// How to recover from errors

// What to do in case everything succeeded


Reaching a Succeed state terminates the state machine execution with a succesful status.

const success = new stepfunctions.Succeed(this, 'We did it!');


Reaching a Fail state terminates the state machine execution with a failure status. The fail state should report the reason for the failure. Failures can be caught by encompassing Parallel states.

const success = new stepfunctions.Fail(this, 'Fail', {
    error: 'WorkflowFailure',
    cause: "Something went wrong"


A Map state can be used to run a set of steps for each element of an input array. A Map state will execute the same steps for multiple entries of an array in the state input.

While the Parallel state executes multiple branches of steps using the same input, a Map state will execute the same steps for multiple entries of an array in the state input.

const map = new stepfunctions.Map(this, 'Map State', {
    maxConcurrency: 1,
    itemsPath: stepfunctions.JsonPath.stringAt('$.inputForMap')
map.iterator(new stepfunctions.Pass(this, 'Pass State'));

Custom State

It's possible that the high-level constructs for the states or stepfunctions-tasks do not have the states or service integrations you are looking for. The primary reasons for this lack of functionality are:

  • A service integration is available through Amazon States Langauge, but not available as construct classes in the CDK.
  • The state or state properties are available through Step Functions, but are not configurable through constructs

If a feature is not available, a CustomState can be used to supply any Amazon States Language JSON-based object as the state definition.

Code Snippets are available and can be plugged in as the state definition.

Custom states can be chained together with any of the other states to create your state machine definition. You will also need to provide any permissions that are required to the role that the State Machine uses.

The following example uses the DynamoDB service integration to insert data into a DynamoDB table.

import * as ddb from '@aws-cdk/aws-dynamodb';
import * as cdk from '@aws-cdk/core';
import * as sfn from '@aws-cdk/aws-stepfunctions';

// create a table
const table = new ddb.Table(this, 'montable', {
  partitionKey: {
    name: 'id',
    type: ddb.AttributeType.STRING,

const finalStatus = new sfn.Pass(stack, 'final step');

// States language JSON to put an item into DynamoDB
// snippet generated from https://docs.aws.amazon.com/step-functions/latest/dg/tutorial-code-snippet.html#tutorial-code-snippet-1
const stateJson = {
  Type: 'Task',
  Resource: 'arn:aws:states:::dynamodb:putItem',
  Parameters: {
    TableName: table.tableName,
    Item: {
      id: {
        S: 'MyEntry',
  ResultPath: null,

// custom state which represents a task to insert data into DynamoDB
const custom = new sfn.CustomState(this, 'my custom task', {

const chain = sfn.Chain.start(custom)

const sm = new sfn.StateMachine(this, 'StateMachine', {
  definition: chain,
  timeout: cdk.Duration.seconds(30),

// don't forget permissions. You need to assign them

Task Chaining

To make defining work flows as convenient (and readable in a top-to-bottom way) as writing regular programs, it is possible to chain most methods invocations. In particular, the .next() method can be repeated. The result of a series of .next() calls is called a Chain, and can be used when defining the jump targets of Choice.on or Parallel.branch:

const definition = step1
        .when(condition1, step3.next(step4).next(step5))

new stepfunctions.StateMachine(this, 'StateMachine', {

If you don't like the visual look of starting a chain directly off the first step, you can use Chain.start:

const definition = stepfunctions.Chain
    // ...

State Machine Fragments

It is possible to define reusable (or abstracted) mini-state machines by defining a construct that implements IChainable, which requires you to define two fields:

  • startState: State, representing the entry point into this state machine.
  • endStates: INextable[], representing the (one or more) states that outgoing transitions will be added to if you chain onto the fragment.

Since states will be named after their construct IDs, you may need to prefix the IDs of states if you plan to instantiate the same state machine fragment multiples times (otherwise all states in every instantiation would have the same name).

The class StateMachineFragment contains some helper functions (like prefixStates()) to make it easier for you to do this. If you define your state machine as a subclass of this, it will be convenient to use:

interface MyJobProps {
    jobFlavor: string;

class MyJob extends stepfunctions.StateMachineFragment {
    public readonly startState: State;
    public readonly endStates: INextable[];

    constructor(parent: cdk.Construct, id: string, props: MyJobProps) {
        super(parent, id);

        const first = new stepfunctions.Task(this, 'First', { ... });
        // ...
        const last = new stepfunctions.Task(this, 'Last', { ... });

        this.startState = first;
        this.endStates = [last];

// Do 3 different variants of MyJob in parallel
new stepfunctions.Parallel(this, 'All jobs')
    .branch(new MyJob(this, 'Quick', { jobFlavor: 'quick' }).prefixStates())
    .branch(new MyJob(this, 'Medium', { jobFlavor: 'medium' }).prefixStates())
    .branch(new MyJob(this, 'Slow', { jobFlavor: 'slow' }).prefixStates());

A few utility functions are available to parse state machine fragments.

  • State.findReachableStates: Retrieve the list of states reachable from a given state.
  • State.findReachableEndStates: Retrieve the list of end or terminal states reachable from a given state.


Activities represent work that is done on some non-Lambda worker pool. The Step Functions workflow will submit work to this Activity, and a worker pool that you run yourself, probably on EC2, will pull jobs from the Activity and submit the results of individual jobs back.

You need the ARN to do so, so if you use Activities be sure to pass the Activity ARN into your worker pool:

const activity = new stepfunctions.Activity(this, 'Activity');

// Read this CloudFormation Output from your application and use it to poll for work on
// the activity.
new cdk.CfnOutput(this, 'ActivityArn', { value: activity.activityArn });

Activity-Level Permissions

Granting IAM permissions to an activity can be achieved by calling the grant(principal, actions) API:

const activity = new stepfunctions.Activity(this, 'Activity');

const role = new iam.Role(stack, 'Role', {
  assumedBy: new iam.ServicePrincipal('lambda.amazonaws.com'),

activity.grant(role, 'states:SendTaskSuccess');

This will grant the IAM principal the specified actions onto the activity.


Task object expose various metrics on the execution of that particular task. For example, to create an alarm on a particular task failing:

new cloudwatch.Alarm(this, 'TaskAlarm', {
    metric: task.metricFailed(),
    threshold: 1,
    evaluationPeriods: 1,

There are also metrics on the complete state machine:

new cloudwatch.Alarm(this, 'StateMachineAlarm', {
    metric: stateMachine.metricFailed(),
    threshold: 1,
    evaluationPeriods: 1,

And there are metrics on the capacity of all state machines in your account:

new cloudwatch.Alarm(this, 'ThrottledAlarm', {
    metric: StateTransitionMetrics.metricThrottledEvents(),
    threshold: 10,
    evaluationPeriods: 2,


Enable logging to CloudWatch by passing a logging configuration with a destination LogGroup:

const logGroup = new logs.LogGroup(stack, 'MyLogGroup');

new stepfunctions.StateMachine(stack, 'MyStateMachine', {
    definition: stepfunctions.Chain.start(new stepfunctions.Pass(stack, 'Pass')),
    logs: {
      destinations: logGroup,
      level: stepfunctions.LogLevel.ALL,

State Machine Permission Grants

IAM roles, users, or groups which need to be able to work with a State Machine should be granted IAM permissions.

Any object that implements the IGrantable interface (has an associated principal) can be granted permissions by calling:

  • stateMachine.grantStartExecution(principal) - grants the principal the ability to execute the state machine
  • stateMachine.grantRead(principal) - grants the principal read access
  • stateMachine.grantTaskResponse(principal) - grants the principal the ability to send task tokens to the state machine
  • stateMachine.grantExecution(principal, actions) - grants the principal execution-level permissions for the IAM actions specified
  • stateMachine.grant(principal, actions) - grants the principal state-machine-level permissions for the IAM actions specified

Start Execution Permission

Grant permission to start an execution of a state machine by calling the grantStartExecution() API.

const role = new iam.Role(stack, 'Role', {
  assumedBy: new iam.ServicePrincipal('lambda.amazonaws.com'),

const stateMachine = new stepfunction.StateMachine(stack, 'StateMachine', {

// Give role permission to start execution of state machine

The following permission is provided to a service principal by the grantStartExecution() API:

  • states:StartExecution - to state machine

Read Permissions

Grant read access to a state machine by calling the grantRead() API.

const role = new iam.Role(stack, 'Role', {
  assumedBy: new iam.ServicePrincipal('lambda.amazonaws.com'),

const stateMachine = new stepfunction.StateMachine(stack, 'StateMachine', {

// Give role read access to state machine

The following read permissions are provided to a service principal by the grantRead() API:

  • states:ListExecutions - to state machine
  • states:ListStateMachines - to state machine
  • states:DescribeExecution - to executions
  • states:DescribeStateMachineForExecution - to executions
  • states:GetExecutionHistory - to executions
  • states:ListActivities - to *
  • states:DescribeStateMachine - to *
  • states:DescribeActivity - to *

Task Response Permissions

Grant permission to allow task responses to a state machine by calling the grantTaskResponse() API:

const role = new iam.Role(stack, 'Role', {
  assumedBy: new iam.ServicePrincipal('lambda.amazonaws.com'),

const stateMachine = new stepfunction.StateMachine(stack, 'StateMachine', {

// Give role task response permissions to the state machine

The following read permissions are provided to a service principal by the grantRead() API:

  • states:SendTaskSuccess - to state machine
  • states:SendTaskFailure - to state machine
  • states:SendTaskHeartbeat - to state machine

Execution-level Permissions

Grant execution-level permissions to a state machine by calling the grantExecution() API:

const role = new iam.Role(stack, 'Role', {
  assumedBy: new iam.ServicePrincipal('lambda.amazonaws.com'),

const stateMachine = new stepfunction.StateMachine(stack, 'StateMachine', {

// Give role permission to get execution history of ALL executions for the state machine
stateMachine.grantExecution(role, 'states:GetExecutionHistory');

Custom Permissions

You can add any set of permissions to a state machine by calling the grant() API.

const user = new iam.User(stack, 'MyUser');

const stateMachine = new stepfunction.StateMachine(stack, 'StateMachine', {

//give user permission to send task success to the state machine
stateMachine.grant(user, 'states:SendTaskSuccess');


Any Step Functions state machine that has been created outside the stack can be imported into your CDK stack.

State machines can be imported by their ARN via the StateMachine.fromStateMachineArn() API

import * as sfn from 'aws-stepfunctions';

const stack = new Stack(app, 'MyStack');






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