Implementing an event-driven serverless story generation application with ChatGPT and DALL-E
This post demonstrates how to integrate AWS serverless services with artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, ChatGPT, and DALL-E. This full stack event-driven application showcases a method of generating unique bedtime stories for children by using predetermined characters and scenes as a prompt for ChatGPT.
Every night at bedtime, the serverless scheduler triggers the application, initiating an event-driven workflow to create and store new unique AI-generated stories with AI-generated images and supporting audio.
These datasets are used to showcase the story on a custom website built with Next.js hosted with AWS App Runner. After the story is created, a notification is sent to the user containing a URL to view and read the story to the children.
By integrating AWS services with AI technologies, you can now create new and innovative ideas that were previously unimaginable.
The application mentioned in this blog post demonstrates examples of point-to-point messaging with Amazon EventBridge pipes, publish/subscribe patterns with Amazon EventBridge and reacting to change data capture events with DynamoDB Streams.
Understanding the architecture
The following image shows the serverless architecture used to generate stories:
A new children’s story is generated every day at configured time using Amazon EventBridge Scheduler (Step 1). EventBridge Scheduler is a service capable of scaling millions of schedules with over 200 targets and over 6000 API calls. This example application uses EventBridge scheduler to trigger an AWS Lambda function every night at the same time (7:15pm). The Lambda function is triggered to start the generation of the story.
The “Scenes” and “Characters” Amazon DynamoDB tables contain the characters involved in the story and a scene that is randomly selected during its creation. As a result, ChatGPT receives a unique prompt each time. An example of the prompt may look like this:
Write a title and a rhyming story on 2 main characters called Parker and Jackson. The story needs to be set within the scene haunted woods and be at least 200 words long
After the story is created, it is then saved in the “Stories” DynamoDB table (Step 2).
Once the story is created this initiates a change data capture event using DynamoDB Streams (Step 3). This event flows through point-to-point messaging with EventBridge pipes and directly into EventBridge. Input transforms are then used to convert the DynamoDB Stream event into a custom EventBridge event, which downstream consumers can comprehend. Adopting this pattern is beneficial as it allows us to separate contracts from the DynamoDB event schema and not having downstream consumers conform to this schema structure, this mapping allows us to remain decoupled from implementation details.
Upon triggering the StoryCreated event in EventBridge, three targets are triggered to carry out several processes (Step 4). Firstly, AI Images are processed, followed by the creation of audio for the story. Finally, the end user is notified of the completed story through Amazon SNS and email subscriptions. This fan-out pattern enables these tasks to be run asynchronously and in parallel, allowing for faster processing times.
An SNS topic is triggered by the `StoryCreated` event to send an email to the end user using email subscriptions (Step 6). The email consists of a URL with the id of the story that has been created. Clicking on the URL takes the user to the frontend application that is hosted with App Runner.
Amazon Polly is used to generate the audio files for the story (Step 6). Upon triggering the `StoryCreated` event, a Lambda function is triggered, and the story description is used and given to Amazon Polly. Amazon Polly then creates an audio file of the story, which is stored in Amazon S3. A presigned URL is generated and saved in DynamoDB against the created story. This allows the frontend application and browser to retrieve the audio file when the user views the page. The presigned URL has a validity of two days, after which it can no longer be accessed or listened to.
The `StoryCreated` event also triggers another Lambda function, which uses the OpenAI API to generate an AI image using DALL-E based on the generated story (Step 7). Once the image is generated, the image is downloaded and stored in Amazon S3. Similar to the audio file, the system generates a presigned URL for the image and saves it in DynamoDB against the story. The presigned URL is only valid for two days, after which it becomes inaccessible for download or viewing.
In the event of a failure in audio or image generation, the frontend application still loads the story, but does not display the missing image or audio at that moment. This ensures that the frontend can continue working and provide value. If you wanted more control and only trigger the user’s notification event once all parallel tasks are complete the aggregator messaging pattern can be considered.
Hosting the frontend Next.js application with AWS App Runner
Next.js is used by the frontend application to render server-side rendered (SSR) pages that can access the stories from the DynamoDB table, which are then hosted with AWS App Runner after being containerized.
AWS App Runner enables you to deploy containerized web applications and APIs securely, without needing any prior knowledge of containers or infrastructure. With App Runner, developers can concentrate on their application, while the service handles container startup, running, scaling, and load balancing. After deployment, App Runner provides a secure URL for clients to begin making HTTP requests against.
With App Runner, you have two primary options for deploying your container: source code connections or source images. Using source code connections grants App Runner permission to pull the image file directly from your source code, and with Automatic deployment configured, it can redeploy the application when changes are made. Alternatively, source images provide App Runner with the image’s location in an image registry, and this image is deployed by App Runner.
In this example application, CDK deploys the application using the DockerImageAsset construct with the App Runner construct. Once deployed, App Runner builds and uploads the frontend image to Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR) and deploys it. Downstream consumers can access the application using the secure URL provided by App Runner. In this example, the URL is used when the SNS notification is sent to the user when the story is ready to be viewed.
Giving the frontend container permission to DynamoDB table
To grant the Next.js application permission to obtain stories from the Stories DynamoDB table, App Runner instance roles are configured. These roles are optional and can provide the necessary permissions for the container to access AWS services required by the compute service.
If you want to learn more about AWS App Runner, you can explore the free workshop.
Design choices and assumptions
The DynamoDB Time to Live (TTL) feature is ideal for the short-lived nature of daily generated stories. DynamoDB handle the deletion of stories after two days by setting the TTL attribute on each story. Once a story is deleted, it becomes inaccessible through the generated story URLs.
Using Amazon S3 presigned URLs is a method to grant temporary access to a file in S3. This application creates presigned URLs for the audio file and generated images that last for 2 days, after which the URLs for the S3 items become invalid.
Input transforms are used between DynamoDB streams and EventBridge events to decouple the schemas and events consumed by downstream targets. Consuming the events as they are is known as the “conformist” pattern, and couples us to implementation details of DynamoDB streams with downstream EventBridge consumers. This allows the application to remain decoupled from implementation details and remain flexible.
The adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) technology has significantly increased in various industries. ChatGPT, a large language model that can understand and generate human-like responses in natural language, and DALL-E, an image generation system that can create realistic images based on textual descriptions, are examples of such technology. These systems have demonstrated the potential for AI to provide innovative solutions and transform the way we interact with technology.
This blog post explores ways in which you can utilize AWS serverless services with ChatGTP and DALL-E to create a story generation application fronted by a Next.js application hosted with App Runner. EventBridge Scheduler is used to trigger the story creation process then react to change data capture events with DynamoDB streams and EventBridge Pipes, and use Amazon EventBridge to fan out compute tasks to process notifications, images, and audio files.
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