Update Github token in Codepipeline with Cloudformation

Update Github token in Codepipeline with Cloudformation

The use case

This post comes from the fact that the token used by Codepipeline to connect to Github to download the source code of the website has expired. Hence, the automation “push and update the website” is not working. Here’s the error:

Error in pipeline

Let’s view how the secret is stored into cloudformation, and how codepipeline can connect.

The secret stack

The cloudformation stack is quite easy. It does not have any hard dependency on other stacks, and it’s used both to download code for dev and prod website.

"AWSTemplateFormatVersion": "2010-09-09",
"Parameters": {
"GithubOAuthTokenParameter": {
"Description": "Github OAuth Token",
"NoEcho": "true",
"Type": "String"
"Resources": {
"GithubOAuthToken": {
"Properties": {
"Name": "GithubOAuthToken",
"SecretString": {
"Ref": "GithubOAuthTokenParameter"
"Type": "AWS::SecretsManager::Secret"

The next part of the post is dedicated on how to create and use this cloudformation template

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Cloudformation templates for Cloudfront automatic cache invalidation using Lambda within CodePipeline

Cloudformation templates for Cloudfront automatic cache invalidation using Lambda within CodePipeline

In this post I’m going to show how I triggered an automatic cache invalidation for the Cloudfront distribution that is serving this website. As in the previous posts, all the resources will be provisioned via CloudFormation.
At the end of the post the CLI commands to create and / or update the resources will be shown.

The manual procedure

Once that the markdown file for a post is written and a local compilation / rendering has been made, the markdown source can be pushed on the git repo. That triggers the AWS Codepipeline that will download the source, render the markdown into html, and push the result to the S3 bucket served by Cloudfront.
Since Cloudfront is serving the S3 bucket, caching is in place. Newly pushed content won’t be visible until the cache expires, which is not feasible. So, after a successful compilation and pushing to S3, I manually get to Cloudfront distribution invalidations and fire a new invalidation. This way I’m sure that subsequent requests to the website will get the newly updated content.
In the images below the steps for manual invalidation are shown:

Go to CloudFront / Distributions, and search for “Invalidations” tab

Cloudfront invalidation manual step 1

Then selecting the last successful invalidation (shown below on the very left) and “copy to new” (upper right)

Cloudfront invalidation manual step 2

And then confirming the copy of the invalidation with the last path (the path /* is fine since AWS charges per invalidation, regardless of how much deep it is)

Cloudfront invalidation manual step 3

The invalidation takes a few minutes to be completed, and then the website is good to go. This is a mundane and forgetful-prone task, so I’m better automating it.

Automation setup

There is not an “invalidate cache” action that can be directly call from CodePipeline. A Lambda that actually creates the invalidation is needed and must be called as an action in the CodePipeline structure.
Let’s see in details the two resources:

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Redirection is over!

Redirection is over!

Last cloudfront issue

Finally the marcoaguzzi.it domain is actually responding without pointing to dev.marcoaguzzi.cloudns.ph. The last issue preventing the production cloudfront distribution from working was:

  • The lambda@edge function that was linked to development distribution was at version 5, while its cloudformation output value was pointing to version 1
  • The cloudformation stack deployed with production distribution read the output value and pointed to version 1, which wasn’t quite ready yet.
  • Changing the lambda@edge link in production distribution from version 1 to version 5, ending the arn for the lambda with “:5” instead of “:1”, did the trick.

Fire up staging pipeline

Now that both domains have their own distribution responding, it was time to facilitate testing.

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Website automation and what's next

Website automation and what's next


This website is build with Hexo, a static NodeJS blog framework. It allows a developer to define pages, posts, and all the elements using markdown format. Then the framework compiles them into static html, and the website is ready to be deployed on an accessible repository.

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