Better Dependency Injection with Laconia (AWS Lambda — Node.js)

Wisen Tanasa
Jul 5, 2018 · 3 min read

Dependency Injection is an important design pattern in any software development paradigm, including in the Serverless world. In AWS Lambda world, I was not satisfied with any of the approach that I have found. I have covered this topic previously and come up with a simple convention. That convention works, but I really want to see if I can make it even better. Introducing Laconia.

Laconia is a microframework that I’ve been developing recently. It is designed specifically for Lambda hence it is taking a very lightweight approach to support Dependency Injection. Package size matters for your Lambda performance, hence Laconia core package size is currently only about 12 KB when zipped.

The Handler

I’m going to a use a similar scenario that I have used in my previous blog post, simply, we have a Lambda that will always return a list of tweets from user id 1000.

With Laconia, the handler function can be written like this:

Voila! Notice how there is a clear separation of responsibility now in the code. The instances function is responsible for creating the objects that you need in your handler function. The handler function is responsible to execute your business logic.

Unit Testing

In our unit test, we will make sure that the user id 1000 is used when the tweets are being retrieved. As unit testing is a first class citizen in Laconia, testing your handler function will be a breeze. Laconia provides run method to run your handler function while bypassing the objects creation step. Let’s see it in action in the following example:

You can also still test your handler function as normal by invoking the lambda as a function if needed (All of the dependencies that you have will be instantiated of course).

Where are the event and context objects?

When you use Laconia, your dependencies will live around an object called LaconiaContext. LaconiaContext is the object that we have destructured in the handler function to retrieve the twitterService, and the object that we have created in the unit test to pass twitterService.

Everything that your Lambda needs will be contained by LaconiaContext. This is a very simple and important concept in Laconia. Notice how AWS event and context objects are not visible anymore as the handler function signature is now changed. They now live inside the LaconiaContext. Intuitively, they are accessible in your handler function via event and context keys:

As it is very common to configure your Lambda via environment variables, LaconiaContext also contains the process.env object and make it available via env key:

You might ask why would I need to access my environment variables this way? This is for better unit testability of your code. If you use process.env in your code, you’d have to set the environment variables you need in your unit test globally. As it’s being set globally, you’ll also have to make sure that you are resetting the environment variables after your test run to make sure that it doesn’t interfere with your other test scenarios.

Wrapping Up

Laconia makes it possible for you to semantically split the responsibility of your objects creation and handler logic. Declaring the dependencies that you need in the handler function is made lightweight by using destructuring. I also believe that a well written Lambda should be small and cohesive, hence there should not be a need of having an automatic dependencies wiring. This is reflected by the need of creating those objects manually in your code.

Unit testing is a first class citizen in Laconia, hence there is no need to use any additional testing library to mock the dependency creation step. There is also no need to have a workaround like exporting the real handler function differently or using the exports object like what I have covered in my previous blog post.

Lastly, Laconia is still very new, please leave a comment if you have any feedback on this framework. There are more to come!


Originally published at www.ceilfors.com on July 5, 2018.

Wisen Tanasa

Written by

Technical Lead @ ThoughtWorks, Lifelong Learner, Software development, Release engineering

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