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Simple AWS CloudFormation stack management tooling.

Project Description

Formica makes it easy to create and deploy CloudFormation stacks. It is built on top of Troposphere and has built-in modularity so you can reuse CloudFormation stack components.


Formica can be installed through pip:

pip install formica

Alternatively you can clone this repository and run

python install

AWS Credentials

Formica supports all the standard AWS credential settings, so you can use profiles through the --profile option, provide no specific profile which will use the default profile or set environment variables like AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID. Take a look at the AWS credentials docs for more details on how to configure these credentials.


AWS CloudFormation provides a great service for automatically deploying and updating your infrastructure. But while the service itself is great the tooling to deploy and manage CloudFormation has been lacking. This means that many teams aren’t using CloudFormation or automating their infrastructure as much as they should. Formica tries to be a great CloudFormation client by making it easy to build modular templates, make parts of templates reusable and give you great tooling to deploy to and inspect your CloudFormation stacks.

Our goal is that you should never have to log into the AWS Console to look at your CloudFormation stacks, because Formica gives you all the info you need right in your shell.

Quick Start Guide

You define your CloudFormation template through *.fc files. Those files will be automatically loaded from the current working directory and executed to create your template. They are python files with built-in troposphere support.

In this example we’ll create an S3 Bucket and set the bucket name through a parameter. Put the following into a bucket.fc file:


In the same folder run formica template which should show you the following template:

    "Resources": {
        "DeploymentBucket": {
            "Type": "AWS::S3::Bucket"

Now we’ll create a new stack with this template:

formica new --stack formica-example-stack

This will create a new ChangeSet in CloudFormation that we can deploy in a next step. It will also describe all the changes that will be done. Instead of setting --stack for every command you can also set the FORMICA_STACK environment variable which will be picked up automatically.

root@62d81801cc09:/app/examples/s3-bucket# formica new --stack formica-example-stack
Creating change set for new stack, ...
Change set submitted, waiting for CloudFormation to calculate changes ...
Change set created successfully
Deployment metadata:
| Parameters    |  |
| Tags          |  |
| Capabilities  |  |

Resource Changes:
| Action |    LogicalId     | PhysicalId |      Type       | Replacement | Changed |
| Add    | DeploymentBucket |            | AWS::S3::Bucket |             |         |
Change set created, please deploy.

For more detail on the ChangeSet description check out the describe command documentation.

All changes, whether you want to create a new stack or update an existing one, are done through ChangeSets. This makes sure you can inspect the specific actions that CloudFormation will take before deploying them. In a CI context you can of course simply run both commands one after the other to get a fully automated deployment.

Now we can deploy the changes:

formica deploy --stack formica-example-stack

The command will follow the CloudFormation stack events and print them to the command line. If the deployment fails, so will the command.

root@62d81801cc09:/app/examples/s3-bucket# formica deploy --stack formica-example-stack
|          Timestamp           |          Status          |              Type              |           Logical ID           |                   Status reason                    |
2017-02-15 10:14:27 UTC+0000   CREATE_IN_PROGRESS         AWS::CloudFormation::Stack       formica-example-stack            User Initiated
2017-02-15 10:14:31 UTC+0000   CREATE_IN_PROGRESS         AWS::S3::Bucket                  DeploymentBucket
2017-02-15 10:14:32 UTC+0000   CREATE_IN_PROGRESS         AWS::S3::Bucket                  DeploymentBucket                 Resource creation Initiated
2017-02-15 10:14:53 UTC+0000   CREATE_COMPLETE            AWS::S3::Bucket                  DeploymentBucket
2017-02-15 10:14:55 UTC+0000   CREATE_COMPLETE            AWS::CloudFormation::Stack       formica-example-stack

After the deployment we will now see our new S3 Bucket. As we didn’t set a name the name of the bucket is generated by S3:

shell root@62d81801cc09:/app/examples/s3-bucket# aws s3 ls 2017-02-15 11:21:18 formica-example-stack-deploymentbucket-57ouvt2o46yh

If we want to add an additional bucket we can change our bucket.fc file to be the following:


and then run the change and deploy commands:

formica change --stack formica-example-stack
formica deploy --stack formica-example-stack

And we can now see both buckets in S3:

root@62d81801cc09:/app/examples/s3-bucket# aws s3 ls
2017-02-15 11:21:18 formica-example-stack-deploymentbucket-57ouvt2o46yh
2017-02-15 11:21:18 formica-example-stack-deploymentbucket2-1jv31cwqdh5gk

And we can list all the stacks to see the status with formica stacks:

root@62d81801cc09:/app/examples/s3-bucket# formica stacks
Current Stacks:
|             Name              |            Created At            |            Updated At            |     Status      |
| formica-example-stack         | 2017-02-15 10:02:56.809000+00:00 | 2017-02-15 10:57:54.641000+00:00 | UPDATE_COMPLETE |

Last but not least we’ll remove the stack with formica remove --stack formica-example-stack

root@62d81801cc09:/app/examples/s3-bucket# formica remove --stack formica-example-stack
Removing Stack and waiting for it to be removed, ...
|          Timestamp           |          Status          |              Type              |           Logical ID           |                   Status reason                    |
2017-02-15 11:09:07 UTC+0000   DELETE_IN_PROGRESS         AWS::CloudFormation::Stack       formica-example-stack            User Initiated
2017-02-15 11:09:10 UTC+0000   DELETE_IN_PROGRESS         AWS::S3::Bucket                  DeploymentBucket
2017-02-15 11:09:31 UTC+0000   DELETE_COMPLETE            AWS::S3::Bucket                  DeploymentBucket
2017-02-15 11:09:32 UTC+0000   DELETE_COMPLETE            AWS::CloudFormation::Stack       formica-example-stack

And now you’ve created, inspected, updated, deployed and removed a CloudFormation stack with Formica.

For more in-depth information check out our documentation

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