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Express.js API with Postgres

Express.js API with Postgres

  • This project deploys a simple HTTP API built using Express.js.
  • The application runs in a container workload and uses a Postgres relational database to store the data. To simplify the database access, this project uses Prisma.


  • Fixed price resources:

    • Container workload (~$0.012/hour, ~$9/month)
    • Relational (SQL) database ($0.017/hour, ~$12.5/month, free-tier eligible)
  • There are also other resources that might incur costs (with pay-per-use pricing). If your load won't get high, these costs will be close to $0.


If you're deploying from your local machine (not from a CI/CD pipeline), you need the following prerequisites:

1. Generate your project

The command below will bootstrap the project with pre-built application code and pre-configured stacktape.yml config file.


stp init --projectId expressjs-api-postgres

2. Deploy your stack

  • To provision all the required infrastructure and to deploy your application to the cloud, all you need is a single command.
  • The deployment will take ~5-15 minutes. Subsequent deploys will be significantly faster.


stp deploy --stage <<stage>> --region <<region>>

stage is an arbitrary name of your environment (for example staging, production or dev-john)

region is the AWS region, where your stack will be deployed to. All the available regions are listed below.

Region name & Locationcode
Europe (Ireland)eu-west-1
Europe (London)eu-west-2
Europe (Frankfurt)eu-central-1
Europe (Milan)eu-south-1
Europe (Paris)eu-west-3
Europe (Stockholm)eu-north-1
US East (Ohio)us-east-2
US East (N. Virginia)us-east-1
US West (N. California)us-west-1
US West (Oregon)us-west-2
Canada (Central)ca-central-1
Africa (Cape Town)af-south-1
Asia Pacific (Hong Kong)ap-east-1
Asia Pacific (Mumbai)ap-south-1
Asia Pacific (Osaka-Local)ap-northeast-3
Asia Pacific (Seoul)ap-northeast-2
Asia Pacific (Singapore)ap-southeast-1
Asia Pacific (Sydney)ap-southeast-2
Asia Pacific (Tokyo)ap-northeast-1
China (Beijing)cn-north-1
China (Ningxia)cn-northwest-1
Middle East (Bahrain)me-south-1
South America (São Paulo)sa-east-1

3. Test your application

After a successful deployment, some information about the stack will be printed to the console (URLs of the deployed services, links to logs, metrics, etc.).

To test the application, you will need the URL of the API Gateway.

It's printed to the console as mainApiGateway->url.

Create a post

Make a POST request to <<your_http_api_gateway_url>>/post with the JSON data in its body to save the post. Use your preferred HTTP client or the following cURL command:


curl -X POST <<your_http_api_gateway_url>>/posts -H 'content-type: application/json' -d '{ "title": "MyPost", "content": "Hello!", "authorEmail": ""}'

If the above cURL command did not work, try escaping the JSON content:


curl -X POST <<your_http_api_gateway_url>>/posts -H 'content-type: application/json' -d '{ \"title\":\"MyPost\",\"content\":\"Hello!\",\"authorEmail\":\"\"}'

Get all posts

Make a GET request to <<your_http_api_gateway_url>>/posts to get all posts.


curl <<your_http_api_gateway_url>>/posts

4. Run the application in development mode

To run a container in the development mode (locally on your machine), you can use the dev command.


stp dev --region <<your-region>> --stage <<stage>> --resourceName apiServer --container api-container

Stacktape runs the container as closely to the deployed version as possible:

  • Maps all of the container ports specified in the events section to the host machine.
  • Injects parameters referenced in the environment variables by $ResourceParam and $Secret directives to the running container.
  • Injects credentials of the assumed role to the container. This means that your locally running container will have the exact same IAM permissions as the deployed version.
  • Pretty-prints logs (stdout/stderr) produced by the container to the terminal.

The container is rebuilt and restarted, when you either:

  • type rs + enter to the terminal
  • use the --watch option and one of your source code files changes

5. Hotswap deploys

  • Stacktape deployments use AWS CloudFormation under the hood. It brings a lot of guarantees and convenience, but can be slow for certain use-cases.

  • To speed up the deployment, you can use the --hotSwap flag that avoids Cloudformation.

  • Hotswap deployments work only for source code changes (for lambda function, containers and batch jobs) and for content uploads to buckets.

  • If the update deployment is not hot-swappable, Stacktape will automatically fall back to using a Cloudformation deployment.


stacktape deploy --hotSwap --stage <<stage>> --region <<region>>

6. Delete your stack

  • If you no longer want to use your stack, you can delete it.
  • Stacktape will automatically delete every infrastructure resource and deployment artifact associated with your stack.


stp delete --stage <<stage>> --region <<region>>

Stack description

Stacktape uses a simple stacktape.yml configuration file to describe infrastructure resources, packaging, deployment pipeline and other aspects of your services.

You can deploy your services to multiple environments (stages) - for example production, staging or dev-john. A stack is a running instance of a service. It consists of your application code (if any) and the infrastructure resources required to run it.

The configuration for this service is described below.

1. Service name

You can choose an arbitrary name for your service. The name of the stack will be constructed as {service-name}-{stage}.


serviceName: expressjs-api-postgres

2. Resources

  • Every resource must have an arbitrary, alphanumeric name (A-z0-9).
  • Stacktape resources consist of multiple (sometimes more than 15) underlying AWS or 3rd party resources.

2.1 HTTP API Gateway

API Gateway receives requests and routes them to the container.

For convenience, it has CORS allowed.


type: http-api-gateway
enabled: true

2.2 Postgres relational database

The application data is stored in a Postgres database. The database is configured as follows:

  • Database credentials. In this example, we input them directly. For production workloads, you should use secrets to store them securely.

  • Engine type. We are using postgres engine. It uses a single-node database server - the simplest and cheapest option.

  • Instance size. We are using the db.t2.micro instance. It has 1 vCPU, 1GB of memory, and is free-tier eligible (~$12.5/month without a free tier). To see the full list of available options, refer to AWS instance type list.

By default, the version used for the database is the latest AWS-supported stable version (currently 13.4). Minor version upgrades are done automatically.

You can also configure many other aspects of your database, such as storage, logging, read replicas, or failover instances.


type: relational-database
masterUserName: admin_user
masterUserPassword: my_secret_password
type: postgres
instanceSize: db.t2.micro

2.3 Container workload

Application code runs inside a container workload with a single container. The workload is configured as follows:

  • Container. This container workload uses only a single container: api-container. The container is configured as follows:
    • Packaging - determines how the Docker container image is built. The easiest and most optimized way to build the image for a Typescript application is using stacktape-image-buildpack. We only need to configure entryfilePath. Stacktape automatically transpiles and builds the application code with all of its dependencies, builds the Docker image, and pushes it to a pre-created image repository on AWS. You can also use other types of packaging.
    • Database connection string - we are passing it to the container as an environment variable. The connection string can be easily referenced using a $ResourceParam() directive. This directive accepts a resource name (mainDatabase in this case) and the name of the relational database referenceable parameter (connectionString in this case). If you want to learn more, refer to referencing parameters guide and directives guide.
    • We are configuring events(requests) that can reach the container. By configuring the path to /{proxy+}, the method to '*' and the containerPort to 3000, the event integration routes all requests (no matter the method or path) coming to the HTTP API Gateway to port 3000 of the container.
  • Resources. Resources are shared between containers of container workload (in this case, we only have one container). The cheapest available resource configuration is 0.25 of virtual CPU and 512 MB of RAM.

You can also configure scaling. New (parallel) container workload instance can be added when (for example) the utilization of your CPU or RAM gets larger than 80%. The HTTP API Gateway will evenly distribute the traffic to all container workloads.


type: container-workload
cpu: 0.25
memory: 512
- name: api-container
type: stacktape-image-buildpack
entryfilePath: ./src/index.ts
value: $ResourceParam('mainDatabase', 'connectionString')
- name: PORT
value: 3000
- type: http-api-gateway
containerPort: 3000
httpApiGatewayName: mainApiGateway
method: '*'
path: /{proxy+}

3. Database migration hooks

To simplify database access and migrations, this project uses Prisma. If you're not familiar with it, don't worry - it's very simple. Prisma schema for this application is already configured at prisma/schema.prisma in the project directory.

3.1 Generate Prisma client

Prisma offers a database client that we can import into our code. To generate it, we use the npx prisma generate command. To do it automatically every time before the stack is deployed, the command is saved as a script and then used inside a before:deploy hook.


serviceName: posts-api-pg
executeCommand: npx prisma generate
- triggers: ['before:deploy']
scriptName: generatePrismaClient

3.2 Prisma database migration

To sync our Prisma schema with the database, we need to use npx prisma db push command. We can't do this before the database is created, so we use the after:deploy hook.

We also need to pass the DB_CONNECTION_STRING environment variable to the script. We do it using the $ResourceParam() directive that will automatically download the connection string value and pass it to the script.


executeCommand: npx prisma generate
executeCommand: npx prisma db push --skip-generate
value: $ResourceParam('mainDatabase', 'connectionString')
- triggers: ["before:deploy"]
scriptName: generatePrismaClient
- triggers: ["after:deploy"]
scriptName: migrateDb

You can also execute the migration script anytime using


stp script:run --scriptName migrateDb --stage <<previously-used-stage>> --region <<previously-used-region>>
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