PureScript on AWS Lambda: Using Express and Serverless


This post shows you how to run PureScript 0.12 on AWS Lambda, using Express on the Serverless platform.


The final output of this article is also a repo


You should have nodejs (i.e. nvm, npm) setup on your machine, preferably 8.10. AWS Lambda uses 8.10. I’m new to nodejs land but I’m guessing that higher minor versions should be ok.

Software Setup

npm install -g purescript
npm install -g pulp bower
npm install -g serverless

AWS Credentials

If you haven’t already, generate an AWS key and secret. This user must have AdministratorAccess permissions. Here are the docs or a slightly outdated video. For the video, follow on to 1:40 and ignore the Serverless Dashboard instructions(around 0:58 to 1:00), we are going to do that on the command line.

serverless config credentials --provider aws --key your-aws-key --secret your-aws-secret

Project Setup

mkdir hello-purescript-serverless
cd hello-purescript-serverless
npm init # fill in as directed
pulp init
pulp build

If all goes well, you should see something like below:

* Building project in /Users/rabraham/Documents/dev/purescript/hello-purescript-serverless
Compiling Data.Symbol
Compiling Type.Data.RowList
Compiling Main
Compiling PSCI.Support
Compiling Effect.Class.Console
* Build successful.

Now let’s install our project specific packages.

bower install --save purescript-aws-lambda-express purescript-express
npm install --save aws-serverless-express express
npm install serverless-offline --save-dev

purescript-express is a wrapper on express while purescript-aws-lambda-express provides the wrapper for AWS Lambda. serverless-offline allows us to test the code locally before deploying it to AWS Lambda.

At time of writing, purescript-express has an issue where we have to install the following two packages too. Try a pulp build right now and if that fails, run the following commands

bower install --save purescript-test-unit
bower install --save purescript-aff

Let’s build it

pulp build

You should see some warnings but at the end, you should see * Build successful.

Main Course

In your src/Main.purs, delete the previous code and paste the following:

module Main where

import Node.Express.App (App, get)
import Node.Express.Handler (Handler)
import Node.Express.Response (sendJson)
import Network.AWS.Lambda.Express as Lambda

-- Define an Express web app

indexHandler :: Handler
indexHandler = do
sendJson { status: "ok" }

app :: App
app = do
get "/" indexHandler

-- Define the AWS Lambda handler

handler :: Lambda.HttpHandler
handler =
Lambda.makeHandler app

Build Your App

pulp build

Serverless Setup

In the root of your project, create the file serverless.yml and paste the following:

service: purescript-aws-lambda-express-test

name: aws
runtime: nodejs8.10
memorySize: 128
# stage: ${opt:stage dev}
region: us-east-1

handler: output/Main/index.handler
- http:
path: / # this matches the base path
method: ANY
- http:
path: /{any+}
method: ANY

- serverless-offline

Let’s test this locally: On one terminal.

serverless offline start

Open another terminal and do:

curl http://localhost:3000

You should see {"status":"ok"}


Once it works locally, let’s deploy to AWS.

serverless deploy -v

Output should look like something below. Note, your endpoint will be different:

Serverless: Packaging service
Service Information
service: purescript-aws-lambda-express-test
stage: dev
region: us-east-1
Stack Outputs
ServiceEndpoint: https://l4qajv7v95.execute-api.us-east-1.amazonaws.com/dev

Copy the link shown as ServiceEndpoint and you know what to do!

curl https://l4qajv7v95.execute-api.us-east-1.amazonaws.com/dev




serverless remove -v

I hope this enables you to make PureScript web applications! Thanks to purescript-express and purescript-aws-lambda-express for making this possible.