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Handwritten CloudFormation

Apr 2019

AWS CloudFormation is a proprietary declarative language to provision AWS infrastructure as code. Handwriting CloudFormation files is often a default approach to bootstrap AWS infrastructure automation. Although this might be a sensible way to start a small project, our teams, and the industry at large, have found that handwritten CloudFormation simply does not scale as the infrastructure grows. Noticeable pitfalls of handwritten CloudFormation files for large projects include poor readability, lack of imperative constructs, limited parameter definition and usage, and lack of type checking. Addressing these shortfalls has led to a rich ecosystem of both open-source and custom tooling. We find Terraform a sensible default that not only addresses shortfalls of CloudFormation but also has an active community to add the latest AWS features and fix bugs. In addition to Terraform, you can choose from many other tools and languages, including troposphere, sceptre, Stack Deployment Tool and Pulumi.