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AWS Beanstalk with Express - Integrations

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Amazon AWS Express

AWS Beanstalk with Express

Learn how to configure AWS Beanstalk with Dotenv Vault in a simple Express web app. This tutorial assumes you are already familiar with .env files and know how to sync them.

Initial setup

Use the default AWS Beanstalk Express example, an existing project, or just start from scratch when creating an application for this tutorial.

Configure your AWS Beanstalk environment to your liking and don’t forget to link a GitHub repo as source.

Create a buildspec.yml file in your root folder to set your AWS Beanstalk project settings.

Add relevant phase and command settings to your project to define the tasks that need to be performed when building. Here’s a basic setup for your buildspec.yml:

// buildspec.yml
version: 0.2
      - npm install
      - npm run build
      - rm -rf ./__build__
      - npm prune --production
      - aws cloudformation package --template template.yml --s3-bucket $S3_BUCKET --output-template template-export.yml

Once ready, proceed by creating a basic pipeline setup using AWS CodePipeline and connect it with your AWS Beanstalk project accordingly.

Package installation

With the AWS settings taken care of, you can proceed by installing the dotenv package with npm.

npm install dotenv --save

Create an app.js file in your root folder, if you don’t have one already then reference the dotenv package as early in the code as possible to avoid possible conflicts.

// app.js
console.log(process.env) // for debugging purposes. remove when ready.

Build the Vault

Confirm you are logged in and your Vault is synced locally by running npx dotenv-vault pull ci. Once ready, proceed by building your Vault with npx dotenv-vault build.

npx dotenv-vault build

Once Vault has finished building, it will provide you with access to its decryption keys, which you can use to interact with protected environment variables with ease.

To retrieve a key, just input npx dotenv-vault keys, followed by your preferred environment, like ci, for example. You can do the same with other environments such as development and production.

The outcome of this will be a long URL being returned. You will immediately recognize it as it always starts with dotenv://:key and ends in ?environment= with the environment you have chosen.

npx dotenv-vault keys ci
remote:   Listing .env.vault decryption keys... done

dotenv://:[email protected]/vault/.env.vault?environment=ci

Set deployment

With the decryption key safely in your possession, it is time for you to head back to the AWS CodePipeline settings.

From there press the Edit button in the top right corner, then the Edit stage button under the Build stage and lastly the edit icon.

Once the Edit action is displayed, locate the Environment variables section, put DOTENV_KEY as the key and save the decryption key you obtained earlier for the value field.

Select Plaintext as type and confirm your changes with the Done button at the bottom right corner of the panel.

Commit and push

That’s it!

Commit those changes safely to code and deploy to AWS Beanstalk.

When the build runs, it will recognize the DOTENV_KEY, decrypt the .env.vault file, and load the ci environment variables to ENV.

If a DOTENV_KEY is not set when developing on local machine, for example, it will fall back to standard Dotenv functionality.

You’ll know things worked correctly when you see Loading .env from encrypted .env.vault in your AWS Beanstalk logs.