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Performing a Migration in AWS Amplify

Back-end migrations can be a tricky task if you're going in blind, and it may take a few attempts before you know the ins and outs of a specific technology being used. Those with experience in AWS will understand that sometimes things don't always go according to plan when performing even the most common tasks in Amplify, and migration of an app from one app ID to another can seem like a huge undertaking.

In this guide, we'll look at how to:

  • Reference a new app
  • Create a new back-end environment for the migration
  • And verify our deployment works

This guide assumes you have an existing application created.

Before Attempting a Migration

Migration can be seen as a refactor of sorts, except it's the entire project that needs to move and work. In any refactoring effort, taking into account all the moving parts is key. But with Amplify, these parts are all tied to policies while creating the environment. What this means for Amplify is that with an existing app, we have the option to use already generated policies or perform a manual shifting of resources.

With the first option, policies and references are already mapped for how the BE would rebuild. However, in option two, there may not be an easy transition of resources especially if the application is large and/or is being upgraded as part of the migration processes. In the case of an older application, it may be easier to manually migrate because the upgrade process might not take into account some older pattern.

We'll use the first option of a simpler migration by referencing the new app id.

Initial Setup

Amplify behaves similarly to git. To get started, first follow a git-like workflow by fetching the latest:

$ amplify pull

It's recommended to commit the latest stable code to your source control of choice in case the migration goes wrong.

In the new AWS account, where this app will live, we need to create a space for it to live. Thankfully, Amplify docs give a step-by-step guide on configuring a new app space.

Referencing the New AWS App

At this point, if you've created a new app in a new account, then there should be a default staging environment. We won't use that one because we want at least one working, clean environment in case we need to start over (by deleting the environment).

Clear old environments

Take a look at the contents of team-provider-info.json and look for AmplifyAppId under any existing environments. Depending on the current environment selected, Amplify Actions will be performed against that environment at that app id.

This isn't useful to use because generating a new develop environment will have:

  1. A name conflict in this file
  2. New environments created in the same app

If you used the wrong credentials creating the env, a new app under the old account will be created at the new app id.

Generate an env at the new app id

Typically we'd perform amplify env add to add an environment to an existing app. However, we need to reference the new app. So we'll initialize a new app instead:

$ amplify init --appId <Amplify-Service-Project-AppId>

Found in the Amplify Docs for commands amplify-cli here

The Amplify-Service-Project-AppId can be found by:

  1. Navigating to AWS Amplify
  2. Selecting the app
  3. Selecting App settings > General
  4. Selecting the end part of the App ARN
Amplify APP ARN

Because there won't be environments to read from team-provider-info.json, it won't prompt for using an existing environment. Follow the interactive prompts for your configuration needs.

Verify the new environment and push

To verify that everything went well, look again AmplifyAppId in team-provider-info.json under the new environment. This should match with the Amplify Console.

Now we push:

$ amplify push

Verify Successful Deployment

All's that's left now is to wait while Amplify recreates the policies for all your back-end parts. If it all went well, you should have no failures in the terminal, and see the deployment success in Amplify Console with references to your API, functions, etc. like:

Amplify Console Environment Deploy Success

If you have a front-end, re-attach the source control of choice.


The final step after everything is working is to remove references to the old application. We did this partially by deleting old environments in team-provider-info.json. Now we have to delete the old app from the old account, and we're done!

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Building Your First Application with AWS Amplify cover image

Building Your First Application with AWS Amplify

AWS (Amazon Web Services) is popular for the cloud solution it provides across the globe, in various regions with data centers. In this article, we will be looking at a particular platform by AWS for frontend developers, AWS Amplify. AWS Amplify is a set of tools and features that let web and mobile developers quickly and easily build full-stack applications on AWS. This article is a summary of JavaScript Marathon: AWS for Frontend Developers with Michael Liendo. If you want a more detailed explanation of building and deploying frontend apps with AWS Amplify, I recommend you go and check out the video! Application User Flow Most applications need certain key features to be created for users. 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AWS Amplify Tools AWS Amplify tools for building and deploying frontend applications include: - CLI: To connect frontend with AWS backend cloud resources. - UI Components: AWS UI components library is an open-source design system with cloud-connected components and primitives that simplify building accessible, responsive, and beautiful applications. - Hosting Solution: For deploying frontend applications, static sites, and server-side apps, with a CI/CD pipeline. - Amplify Studio: A GUI for UI to plug a Figma component and automatically convert it into a ReactJS component. Walking back to how AWS will help manage the user journey we listed above and make developer lives easier, here are some of the services provided by AWS that help spin up applications with ease: - User Login: For user login, we can use Amazon Cognito, AWS’s user directory service to handle user authentication, password policies, forgot password, and more. - API: For API access, we can use AWS AppSync, a serverless GraphQL and Pub/Sub API service. - Database: for Database, we can use Amazon’s DynamoDB, which is a fully managed, serverless, key-value NoSQL database. - Storage: for assets storage, we can be use Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). Building a Project & Project Setup Now that you’re familiar with a few of the services we can use to build an application easily, let’s get started and build one together! Before we start, let’s install the AWS Amplify CLI. Run: ` npm install -g @aws-amplify/cli ` This will give us access to use Amplify’s commands for our application. The Application__ We will be building a Next framework application. This application will be a collection of pictures of Dogs. To scaffold a Next application, run: ` npx create-next-app thisdot-dogs ` Now cd into the application directory. ` cd thisdot-dogs ` Install the packages and dependencies we will be using from AWS: ` npm i @aws-amplify/ui-react aws-amplify ` Now, open the project in your code editor. We will be using VS Code. First, we will wrap the root component in an AmplifyProvider` component. Open `_app.js` and replace the code: ` import { AmplifyProvider } from '@aws-amplify/ui-react'; import '@aws-amplify/ui-react/style.css'; import '../styles/globals.css' function MyApp({ Component, pageProps }) { return ( ) } export default MyApp ` This is to make the application aware of Amplify. We also imported the style library from the React Amplify library. We will be using the install amplify CLI tool to initialize the Amplify configuration in our project. 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Utilizing AWS Cognito for Authentication cover image

Utilizing AWS Cognito for Authentication

Utilizing AWS Cognito for Authentication AWS Cognito, one of the most popular services of the Amazon Web Services, is at the heart of many web and mobile applications, providing numerous useful user identity and data security features. It is designed to simplify the process of user authentication and authorization, and many developers decide to use it instead of developing their own solution. "Never roll out your own authentication" is a common phrase you'll hear in the development community, and not without a reason. Building an authentication system from scratch can be time-consuming and error-prone, with a high risk of introducing security vulnerabilities. Existing solutions like AWS Cognito have been built by expert teams, extensively tested, and are constantly updated to fix bugs and meet evolving security standards. Here at This Dot, we've used AWS Cognito together with Amplify in many of our projects, including Let's Chat With, an application that we recently open-sourced. In this blog post, we'll show you how we accomplished that, and how we used various Cognito configuration options to tailor the experience to our app. Setting Up Cognito Setting up Cognito is relatively straightforward, but requires several steps. In Let's Chat With, we set it up as follows: 1. Sign in to the AWS Console, then open Cognito. 2. Click the "Create user pool" to create a user pool. User Pools are essentially user directories that provide sign-up and sign-in options, including multi-factor authentication and user-profile functionality. 3. In the first step, as a sign-in option, select "Email", and click "Next". 4. Choose "Cognito defaults" as the password policy "No MFA" for multi-factor authentication. Leave everything else at the default, and click "Next". 5. In the "Configure sign-up experience" step, leave everything at the default settings. 6. In the "Configure message delivery" step, select "Send email with Cognito". 7. In the "Integrate your app" step, just enter names for your user pool and app client. For example, the user pool might be named "YourAppUserPoolDev", while the app client could be named "YourAppFrontend_Dev". 8. In the last step, review your settings and create the user pool. After the user pool is created, make note of its user pool ID: as well as the client ID of the app client created under the user pool: These two values will be passed to the configuration of the Cognito API. Using the Cognito API Let's Chat With is built on top of Amplify, AWS's collection of various services that make development of web and mobile apps easy. Cognito is one of the services that powers Amplify, and Amplify's SDK is offers some helper methods to interact with the Cognito API. 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The AuthService class contains many other methods that act as a facade over the Amplify SDK methods. This service is used in authentication effects since Let's Chat With is based on NgRx and implements many core functionalities through NgRx effects: `typescript @Injectable() export class AuthEffects implements OnInitEffects { public signIn$ = createEffect(() => this.actions$.pipe( ofType(SignInActions.userSignInAttempted), withLatestFrom(, exhaustMap(([{ email, password }, redirectUrl]) => this.authService.signInAdmin(email, password).pipe( map((user) => AuthAPIActions.userLoginSuccess({ user })), tap(() => void this.router.navigateByUrl(redirectUrl || '/reports')), catchError((error) => of( AuthAPIActions.userSignInFailed({ errors: [error.message], email, }) ) ) ) ) ) ); } ` The login component triggers a SignInActions.userSignInAttempted` action, which is processed by the above effect. 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The Cognito user ID is read from the event.request.userAttributes.sub` property. `javascript async function handler(event, context) { const owner = event.request.userAttributes.sub; if (owner) { const user = await getUser({ owner }); if (user == null) { await addUser({ owner, notificationConfig: DEFAULTNOTIFICATION_CONFIG }); } context.done(null, event); } else { context.done(null, event); } } async function getUser({ owner }) { const params = { ExpressionAttributeNames: { '#owner': 'owner' }, ExpressionAttributeValues: { ':owner': owner }, KeyConditionExpression: '#owner = :owner', IndexName: 'byOwner', TableName: process.env.USERTABLE_NAME, }; const { Items } = await documentClient().query(params).promise(); return Items.length ? 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Using Notion as a CMS cover image

Using Notion as a CMS

Unlike most note-taking applications, Notion features a full suite of notation-like tools, from tools to track tasks to ones that help with journaling, all in one place. If you're an experienced user, you may have used some of their advanced concepts like tables as databases, custom templates, and table functions. As of May 13, 2021, Notion released a beta version of their API client, opening up another range of possibilities for the app. Users of the client can query databases, create pages, update blocks, perform searches, and much more. We'll look at how easy it is to get started with the client today. Note: For this simple demonstration, we won't use authentication, but it's highly recommended no matter what type of app you decide to create._ Project Setup We have a few options for building a scalable blog site. For this stack, we'll be using NextJS because it's relatively lightweight compared to most frameworks, and has several readily available features for a standard React app. But Remix works just as well. In a folder of your choice, create the NextJS app with: `bash npx create-next-app@latest ` or `bash yarn create next-app ` Note: add `--typescript` at the end to generate a TypeScript project._ I'm using the TypeScript project for this demo. If you're unfamiliar with NextJS, I recommend their Getting Started Guide. In this new project folder, we have all the necessary things to run the app. Install the necessary dependencies: `bash npm install -S @notionhq/client ` Create the Notion Database For this next step and the next, you'll need a Notion account to create databases, and an integration key. Now, create a table for your blog posts in Notion. This will become the database for referencing posts for the site. 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Being a CTO at Any Level: A Discussion with Kathy Keating, Co-Founder of CTO Levels

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