AWS Compute Blog

Node.js 4.3.2 Runtime Now Available on Lambda

by Bryan Liston | on | in AWS Lambda | | Comments

We are happy to announce that you may now develop your AWS Lambda functions using the Node.js 4.3.2 runtime. You can start using this new runtime version today by specifying a runtime parameter value of “nodejs4.3” when creating or updating functions. We will continue to support creating new Lambda functions on Node.js 0.10. However starting October 2016 you will no longer be able to create functions using Node.js 0.10, given the upcoming end of life for the runtime. Here’s a quick primer on what’s changed between the two versions:


New Node features

You can now leverage features in the V8 Javascript Engine such as ES6 Support, block scoping, Promises, and new arrow functions, to name a few. For more information, see the Expressive ES6 features that shine in Node.js 4.0 post by Ryan Paul @ RethinkDB.


Backward compatible

Nothing in regards to your existing functions running under Node.js 0.10 will change, and they will continue to operate and function as expected. You may also port your existing Node.js 0.10 functions over to Node.js 4.3.2 by simply updating the runtime, and they will continue to work as written. You will however need to take into account any static modules you may have compiled for 0.10 before making this move. Be sure to review the API changes between Node.js 0.10 and Node.js 4 to see if there are other changes that affect your code.


Node callbacks

The programming model for Node.js 0.10, Lambda required an explicit Context method call (done(), suceeed(), fail()) to exit the function. Context.succeed, context.done, and however, are more than just bookkeeping – they cause the request to return after the current task completes and freeze the process immediately, even if other tasks remain in the Node.js event loop. Generally that’s not what you want if those tasks represent incomplete callbacks.

This programming model for Node.js 4.3.2 improves on this by adding an optional callback parameter to the method. The callback parameter can be used to specify error or return values for the function execution. You specify the optional callback parameter when defining your function handler as below:

exports.myHandler = (event, context, callback) => callback(null, "I'm running Node4!");

By default, the callback waits for all the tasks in the Node.js event loop to complete, just as it would if you ran the function locally. If you chose to not use the callback parameter in your code, then AWS Lambda implicitly calls it with a return value of null. You can still use the Context methods to terminate the function, but the callback approach of waiting for all tasks to complete is more idiomatic to how Node.js behaves in general. The context parameter will also continue to exist and provides your handler with the runtime information of the Lambda function that is executing.

If you want to simulate the same behavior as a context method, you now have the ability to access the callbackWaitsForEmptyEventLoop setting via the context object. This property is useful to modify the default behavior of the callback. You can set this property to false to request AWS Lambda to freeze the process after the callback is called. For more information about this new functionality, see Lambda Function Handler.

Remember, the existing Node.js 0.10 programming model does not support the new callback functionality that specifically exists in the new 4.3.2 runtime. If you continue to use 0.10, you will still need to take advantage of the context object to specify return values of your function.

For more information, see the AWS Lambda Developer Guide.

Hope you enjoy,


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