ImportError: No module named ‘rest_framework_swagger’


Building our Django app locally (i.e. no Docker container wrapping it) works great. Building the same app in Docker fails. Hint: make sure you know which requirements.txt file you’re using to build the app.  (And get familiar with the -f parameter for Docker commands.)


When I first started build the Docker container, I was getting the ImportError error after the container successfully builds:

ImportError: No module named 'rest_framework_swagger'


The only half-useful hit on StackOverflow was this one, and it didn’t seem like it explicitly addressed my issue in Docker:

…And The Lightning Bolt Struck

However, with enough time and desperation I finally understood that that article wasn’t wrong either.  I wasn’t using the /requirements.txt that contained all the dependencies – I was using the incomplete/abandoned /budget_proj/requirements.txt file, which lacked a key dependency.


I wasn’t watching the results of pip install closely enough – and when running Docker-compose up --build multiple times, the layer of interest won’t rebuild if there’s no changes to that layer’s inputs. (Plus this is a case where there’s no error message thrown, just one or two fewer pip installs – and who notices that until they’ve spent the better part of two days on the problem?)

Detailed Diagnostics

If you look closely at our project from that time, you’ll notice there are actually two copies of requirements.txt – one at the repo root and one in the /budget_proj/ folder.

Developers who are just testing Django locally will simply launch pip install -r requirements.txt from the root directory of their clone of the repo.  This is fine and good.  This is the result of the pip install -r requirements.txt when using the expected file:

$ pip install -r requirements.txt 
Collecting appdirs==1.4.0 (from -r requirements.txt (line 1))
 Using cached appdirs-1.4.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl
Collecting Django==1.10.5 (from -r requirements.txt (line 2))
 Using cached Django-1.10.5-py2.py3-none-any.whl
Collecting django-filter==1.0.1 (from -r requirements.txt (line 3))
 Using cached django_filter-1.0.1-py2.py3-none-any.whl
Collecting django-rest-swagger==2.1.1 (from -r requirements.txt (line 4))
 Using cached django_rest_swagger-2.1.1-py2.py3-none-any.whl
Collecting djangorestframework==3.5.4 (from -r requirements.txt (line 5))
 Using cached djangorestframework-3.5.4-py2.py3-none-any.whl
Requirement already satisfied: packaging==16.8 in ./budget_venv/lib/python3.5/site-packages (from -r requirements.txt (line 6))
Collecting psycopg2==2.7 (from -r requirements.txt (line 7))
 Using cached psycopg2-2.7-cp35-cp35m-macosx_10_6_intel.macosx_10_9_intel.macosx_10_9_x86_64.macosx_10_10_intel.macosx_10_10_x86_64.whl
Collecting pyparsing==2.1.10 (from -r requirements.txt (line 8))
 Using cached pyparsing-2.1.10-py2.py3-none-any.whl
Collecting requests==2.13.0 (from -r requirements.txt (line 9))
 Using cached requests-2.13.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl
Requirement already satisfied: six==1.10.0 in ./budget_venv/lib/python3.5/site-packages (from -r requirements.txt (line 10))
Collecting gunicorn (from -r requirements.txt (line 12))
 Using cached gunicorn-19.7.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl
Collecting openapi-codec>=1.2.1 (from django-rest-swagger==2.1.1->-r requirements.txt (line 4))
Collecting coreapi>=2.1.1 (from django-rest-swagger==2.1.1->-r requirements.txt (line 4))
Collecting simplejson (from django-rest-swagger==2.1.1->-r requirements.txt (line 4))
 Using cached simplejson-3.10.0-cp35-cp35m-macosx_10_11_x86_64.whl
Collecting uritemplate (from coreapi>=2.1.1->django-rest-swagger==2.1.1->-r requirements.txt (line 4))
 Using cached uritemplate-3.0.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl
Collecting coreschema (from coreapi>=2.1.1->django-rest-swagger==2.1.1->-r requirements.txt (line 4))
Collecting itypes (from coreapi>=2.1.1->django-rest-swagger==2.1.1->-r requirements.txt (line 4))
Collecting jinja2 (from coreschema->coreapi>=2.1.1->django-rest-swagger==2.1.1->-r requirements.txt (line 4))
 Using cached Jinja2-2.9.5-py2.py3-none-any.whl
Collecting MarkupSafe>=0.23 (from jinja2->coreschema->coreapi>=2.1.1->django-rest-swagger==2.1.1->-r requirements.txt (line 4))
Installing collected packages: appdirs, Django, django-filter, uritemplate, requests, MarkupSafe, jinja2, coreschema, itypes, coreapi, openapi-codec, simplejson, djangorestframework, django-rest-swagger, psycopg2, pyparsing, gunicorn
 Found existing installation: appdirs 1.4.3
 Uninstalling appdirs-1.4.3:
 Successfully uninstalled appdirs-1.4.3
 Found existing installation: pyparsing 2.2.0
 Uninstalling pyparsing-2.2.0:
 Successfully uninstalled pyparsing-2.2.0
Successfully installed Django-1.10.5 MarkupSafe-1.0 appdirs-1.4.0 coreapi-2.3.0 coreschema-0.0.4 django-filter-1.0.1 django-rest-swagger-2.1.1 djangorestframework-3.5.4 gunicorn-19.7.0 itypes-1.1.0 jinja2-2.9.5 openapi-codec-1.3.1 psycopg2-2.7 pyparsing-2.1.10 requests-2.13.0 simplejson-3.10.0 uritemplate-3.0.0

However, because our Django application (and the related Docker files) is contained in a subdirectory off the repo root (i.e. in the /budget_proj/ folder) – and because I was an idiot at the time and didn’t know about the -f parameter for docker-compose , so I was convinced I had to run docker-compose from the same directory as docker-compose.yml – docker-compose didn’t have access to files in the parent directory of wherever it was launched.  Apparently Docker effectively “chroots” its commands so it doesn’t have access to ../bin/requirements.txt for example.

So when docker-compose launched pip install -r requirements.txt, it could only access this one and gives us this result instead:

Step 12/12 : WORKDIR /code
 ---> 8626fa515a0a
Removing intermediate container 05badf699f66
Successfully built 8626fa515a0a
Recreating budgetproj_budget-service_1
Attaching to budgetproj_budget-service_1
web_1 | Running
web_1 | [2017-03-16 00:31:34 +0000] [5] [INFO] Starting gunicorn 19.7.0
web_1 | [2017-03-16 00:31:34 +0000] [5] [INFO] Listening at: (5)
web_1 | [2017-03-16 00:31:34 +0000] [5] [INFO] Using worker: sync
web_1 | [2017-03-16 00:31:34 +0000] [8] [INFO] Booting worker with pid: 8
web_1 | [2017-03-16 00:31:35 +0000] [8] [ERROR] Exception in worker process
web_1 | Traceback (most recent call last):
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.5/site-packages/gunicorn/", line 578, in spawn_worker
web_1 | worker.init_process()
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.5/site-packages/gunicorn/workers/", line 126, in init_process
web_1 | self.load_wsgi()
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.5/site-packages/gunicorn/workers/", line 135, in load_wsgi
web_1 | self.wsgi =
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.5/site-packages/gunicorn/app/", line 67, in wsgi
web_1 | self.callable = self.load()
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.5/site-packages/gunicorn/app/", line 65, in load
web_1 | return self.load_wsgiapp()
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.5/site-packages/gunicorn/app/", line 52, in load_wsgiapp
web_1 | return util.import_app(self.app_uri)
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.5/site-packages/gunicorn/", line 376, in import_app
web_1 | __import__(module)
web_1 | File "/code/budget_proj/", line 16, in <module>
web_1 | application = get_wsgi_application()
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.5/site-packages/django/core/", line 13, in get_wsgi_application
web_1 | django.setup(set_prefix=False)
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.5/site-packages/django/", line 27, in setup
web_1 | apps.populate(settings.INSTALLED_APPS)
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.5/site-packages/django/apps/", line 85, in populate
web_1 | app_config = AppConfig.create(entry)
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.5/site-packages/django/apps/", line 90, in create
web_1 | module = import_module(entry)
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.5/importlib/", line 126, in import_module
web_1 | return _bootstrap._gcd_import(name[level:], package, level)
web_1 | ImportError: No module named 'rest_framework_swagger'
web_1 | [2017-03-16 00:31:35 +0000] [8] [INFO] Worker exiting (pid: 8)
web_1 | [2017-03-16 00:31:35 +0000] [5] [INFO] Shutting down: Master
web_1 | [2017-03-16 00:31:35 +0000] [5] [INFO] Reason: Worker failed to boot.
budgetproj_web_1 exited with code 3


It has been pointed out that not only is it redundant for the project to have two requirements.txt files (I agree, and when we find the poor soul who inadvertently added the second file, they’ll be sacked…from our volunteer project ;)…

…but also that if we’re encapsulating our project’s core application in a subdirectory (called budget_proj), then logically that is where the “legit” requirements.txt file belongs – not at the project’s root, just because that’s where you normally find requirements.txt in a repo.

Status Report: Docker Toolbox failures on Windows 10


A growing body of experience building containers on Windows 10 systems (using the Docker Toolbox for Windows) indicates that Docker Toolbox for Windows (on Win10 at minimum) is not a supportable combination for our project at present.  It appears that the command in docker-compose.yml cannot be found – at least in cases where the called script is stored in a directory inside the container.

While there may be some adjustment that could be made to support both Windows and *NIX hosts in this scenario, it’s yet another incompatibility we’ve encountered (among many) that only crops up when using Windows as the host, and our team has to focus its cycles on supporting the majority of our project’s developers (who aren’t on Windows).


One of my colleagues on the project reported the following error when bringing up the Docker container from this branch in this repo.  He’s using Windows 10, Docker Toolbox for Windows:

user@DESKTOP MINGW64 /c/develop/python/team-budget/budget_proj (dockerize)
$ docker-compose up
Starting budgetproj_web_1

ERROR: for web Cannot start service web: oci runtime error: container_linux.go:247: starting container process caused "exec: \"/code/\": stat /code/ no such file or directory"
ERROR: Encountered errors while bringing up the project.

I explained that as far as I understand Docker engine and Docker Toolbox (which hosts the engine in a Virtualbox VM), what’s going on is that inside the container, Docker is trying to execute /code/ – so theoretically there should be no reason why this would behave any differently on Windows than Mac or Linux, since the runtime environment inside the Docker container shouldn’t know anything about its underlying host’s environment.  I know for sure it’s working well on Mac and Linux, even on my personal Mac that’s running the Docker Toolbox.


Budget repo on Windows: fails

I attempted this myself with the same branch/repo using Docker Toolbox for Windows (downloaded today, running v1.13.1 of Docker engine) on Windows 10 (Anniversary update), and received effectively the same result:


Step 12/12 : WORKDIR /code
 ---> 37cb2ce39964
Removing intermediate container af6440be2e49
Successfully built 37cb2ce39964
WARNING: Image for service web was built because it did not already exist. To rebuild this image you must use `docker-compose build` or `docker-compose up --build`.
Creating budgetproj_web_1
Attaching to budgetproj_web_1
web_1  | standard_init_linux.go:178: exec user process caused "no such file or directory"
budgetproj_web_1 exited with code 1

Budget repo on Mac: succeeds

The same commit from the same branch/repo on OS X 10.11 with Docker Toolbox for Mac:


Step 12/12 : WORKDIR /code
 ---> 0da697ffe35c
Removing intermediate container d4df9c99e8f9
Successfully built 0da697ffe35c
Recreating budgetproj_web_1
Attaching to budgetproj_web_1
web_1 | Operations to perform:
web_1 | Apply all migrations: admin, auth, budget_app, contenttypes, sessions
web_1 | Running migrations:
web_1 | Applying contenttypes.0001_initial... OK
web_1 | Applying auth.0001_initial... OK
web_1 | Applying admin.0001_initial... OK
web_1 | Applying admin.0002_logentry_remove_auto_add... OK
web_1 | Applying contenttypes.0002_remove_content_type_name... OK
web_1 | Applying auth.0002_alter_permission_name_max_length... OK
web_1 | Applying auth.0003_alter_user_email_max_length... OK
web_1 | Applying auth.0004_alter_user_username_opts... OK
web_1 | Applying auth.0005_alter_user_last_login_null... OK
web_1 | Applying auth.0006_require_contenttypes_0002... OK
web_1 | Applying auth.0007_alter_validators_add_error_messages... OK
web_1 | Applying auth.0008_alter_user_username_max_length... OK
web_1 | Applying budget_app.0001_initial... OK
web_1 | Applying budget_app.0002_auto_20170221_0359... OK
web_1 | Applying sessions.0001_initial... OK
web_1 | [2017-03-01 21:42:05 +0000] [10] [INFO] Starting gunicorn 19.6.0
web_1 | [2017-03-01 21:42:05 +0000] [10] [INFO] Listening at: (10)
web_1 | [2017-03-01 21:42:05 +0000] [10] [INFO] Using worker: sync

So I tried this on a couple of other of our organization’s projects.

Housing repo on Windows: fails

Housing-17 under Docker Toolbox for Windows on Windows 10:

$ docker-compose up --build
Building web
Step 1/6 : FROM python:3.5
 ---> 4e5ed9f6613e
 ---> Using cache
 ---> a62a6ae73cec
Step 3/6 : ADD ./requirements.txt /provision/
 ---> Using cache
 ---> 9f34a7d35294
Step 4/6 : WORKDIR /provision/
 ---> Using cache
 ---> 4e06b4c2249f
Step 5/6 : RUN pip install -r requirements.txt
 ---> Using cache
 ---> e96a581fc549
Step 6/6 : WORKDIR /code/
 ---> Using cache
 ---> fc61cc36c06f
Successfully built fc61cc36c06f
Starting housing17_db_1
Starting housing17_web_1
Attaching to housing17_db_1, housing17_web_1
db_1   | LOG:  database system was shut down at 2017-03-01 19:38:08 UTC
db_1   | LOG:  MultiXact member wraparound protections are now enabled
db_1   | LOG:  database system is ready to accept connections
web_1  | standard_init_linux.go:178: exec user process caused "no such file or directory"
housing17_web_1 exited with code 1

Housing repo on Mac: succeeds

Housing-17 under Docker Toolbox for Mac on OS X 10.11:


Step 6/6 : WORKDIR /code/
 ---> Using cache
 ---> f79cbc2964cb
Successfully built f79cbc2964cb
Starting housing17_db_1
Starting housing17_web_1
Attaching to housing17_db_1, housing17_web_1
db_1 | LOG: database system was shut down at 2017-03-01 03:26:27 UTC
db_1 | LOG: MultiXact member wraparound protections are now enabled
db_1 | LOG: database system is ready to accept connections
web_1 | 
web_1 | 0 static files copied to '/code/static', 126 unmodified.
web_1 | [2017-03-01 21:50:00 +0000] [7] [INFO] Starting gunicorn 19.6.0
web_1 | [2017-03-01 21:50:00 +0000] [7] [INFO] Listening at: (7)
web_1 | [2017-03-01 21:50:00 +0000] [7] [INFO] Using worker: sync

Emergency_response repo on Windows: fails

Emergency-response-backend under Docker Toolbox for Windows on Windows 10:


---> d1dece959fab
Removing intermediate container 446d7dae0532
Step 14/14 : COPY . /code/
 ---> d12ccbed9557
Removing intermediate container 27809cb3988a
Successfully built d12ccbed9557
WARNING: Image for service web was built because it did not already exist. To rebuild this image you must use `docker-compose build` or `docker-compose up --build`.
Creating emergencyresponsebackend_web_1
Attaching to emergencyresponsebackend_web_1
web_1  | standard_init_linux.go:178: exec user process caused "no such file or directory"
emergencyresponsebackend_web_1 exited with code 1

Emergency_response repo on Mac: succeeds/fails (but for an application-specific reason)

Emergency-response-backend under Docker Toolbox for Mac on OS X 10.11:

Step 14/14 : COPY . /code/
 ---> bc4a1bd8e372
Removing intermediate container e9b079ea31da
Successfully built bc4a1bd8e372
WARNING: Image for service web was built because it did not already exist. To rebuild this image you must use `docker-compose build` or `docker-compose up --build`.
Creating emergencyresponsebackend_web_1
Attaching to emergencyresponsebackend_web_1
web_1 | Traceback (most recent call last):
web_1 | File "", line 10, in <module>
web_1 | execute_from_command_line(sys.argv)
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.4/site-packages/django/core/management/", line 367, in execute_from_command_line
web_1 | utility.execute()
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.4/site-packages/django/core/management/", line 316, in execute
web_1 | settings.INSTALLED_APPS
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.4/site-packages/django/conf/", line 53, in __getattr__
web_1 | self._setup(name)
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.4/site-packages/django/conf/", line 41, in _setup
web_1 | self._wrapped = Settings(settings_module)
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.4/site-packages/django/conf/", line 97, in __init__
web_1 | mod = importlib.import_module(self.SETTINGS_MODULE)
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.4/importlib/", line 109, in import_module
web_1 | return _bootstrap._gcd_import(name[level:], package, level)
web_1 | File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 2254, in _gcd_import
web_1 | File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 2237, in _find_and_load
web_1 | File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 2226, in _find_and_load_unlocked
web_1 | File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 1200, in _load_unlocked
web_1 | File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 1129, in _exec
web_1 | File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 1471, in exec_module
web_1 | File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 321, in _call_with_frames_removed
web_1 | File "/code/emergency_response_api/", line 16, in <module>
web_1 | from . import project_config
web_1 | ImportError: cannot import name 'project_config'
web_1 | Traceback (most recent call last):
web_1 | File "", line 10, in <module>
web_1 | execute_from_command_line(sys.argv)
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.4/site-packages/django/core/management/", line 367, in execute_from_command_line
web_1 | utility.execute()
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.4/site-packages/django/core/management/", line 316, in execute
web_1 | settings.INSTALLED_APPS
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.4/site-packages/django/conf/", line 53, in __getattr__
web_1 | self._setup(name)
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.4/site-packages/django/conf/", line 41, in _setup
web_1 | self._wrapped = Settings(settings_module)
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.4/site-packages/django/conf/", line 97, in __init__
web_1 | mod = importlib.import_module(self.SETTINGS_MODULE)
web_1 | File "/usr/local/lib/python3.4/importlib/", line 109, in import_module
web_1 | return _bootstrap._gcd_import(name[level:], package, level)
web_1 | File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 2254, in _gcd_import
web_1 | File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 2237, in _find_and_load
web_1 | File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 2226, in _find_and_load_unlocked
web_1 | File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 1200, in _load_unlocked
web_1 | File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 1129, in _exec
web_1 | File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 1471, in exec_module
web_1 | File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 321, in _call_with_frames_removed
web_1 | File "/code/emergency_response_api/", line 16, in <module>
web_1 | from . import project_config
web_1 | ImportError: cannot import name 'project_config'

(Note: the runtime error in “” indicates that the command in docker-compose.yml was executed correctly, and there’s an app-specific issue in running one of the commands inside the script that docker-compose.yml specifies.)

Potentially related issues re: Docker running on Windows

Absolute paths change with git bash on Windows

Docker Build Image fails with ‘NOT FOUND’ executing…

Bash script always prints command not found (perhaps a missing ‘execute’ bit, that only affects commands running in a Docker container when running on Docker Toolbox for Windows?)


Docker container commands: which goes where?

So far in my DevOps class I’ve encountered three separate places where we use parameterized commands to perform some of the Docker setup and runtime execution.

I’ve been having a conceptual crisis of confidence because I don’t definitively understand which kinds of commands go where.  So this is my exercise in deciphering the lay of the land.

Dockerfile, docker-compose.yml, docker-compose run

Here’s what I think I have inferred from what we’ve done in class tutorials:

  • Dockerfile
    • can contain one or more commands prefaced with the RUN directive
    • these will run commands outside of the to-be-built Docker container, to setup the appropriate files and environment to make the build successful
    • presumably you should do as little as necessary out here
    • example command: RUN pip install -r requirements.txt
  • docker-compose.yml
    • configures the set of containers that will be built and run together (one or more)
    • command to be run once the container is up and running
    • ?? Only one command can be configured per container ??
    • example command: command: gunicorn fooapi.wsgi:application -b :8000
  • docker-compose run [container_name]
    • commands can be run one time, arbitrarily, outside the build process itself
    • example command: docker-compose run web startproject fooapi .

My Confusions

  1. If my web application needs to have all the python packages installed as dependencies, why isn’t pip install -r requirements.txt being run once the appropriate container is up and running?
  2. If the use of a RUN command in Dockerfile creates a scratch space outside all containers, why would I need to install python dependencies to be able to create a PostgreSQL container cf. Assignment 3? [Leaving aside the advice I’ve heard that putting databases in containers isn’t generally necessary or advisable]
  3. What is the net effect of running commands inside the “docker-compose run [container_name]” wrapper?  Why couldn’t/shouldn’t I run that command as a RUN command from the Dockerfile, and then copy the resulting files into the /code folder that we’re creating in Assignment 3?
  4. Does docker-compose run run commands inside an already-built container?

As I learn answers to these questions, with any luck I’ll return here to annotate what I’ve learned.

AWS wrangling, round 4: automating the setup of a static website

This time around, let’s automate the steps I manually performed last time (as much as the S3 APIs allow CLI interaction, which is sadly not much).

Install the AWS CLI (command line interface)

Follow the instructions for your operating system from here:

Run the following commands

Create a new bucket (CLI)

Note: “mikecanuckbucket” is the bucket I’m creating.

aws s3 mb s3://mikecanuckbucket

Which returns the following output:

make_bucket: mikecanuckbucket

Configure the static website (CLI)

aws s3 website s3://mikecanuckbucket --index-document index.html

Which returns nothing if it succeeds.

Set bucket-level permissions (Console)

You have to use the console for this one (or at least, I couldn’t find a CLI command to interact with bucket-level permissions).  This time around I tried the bucket policy approach, and used this policy example as my template:

  • Load the AWS S3 console
  • select your bucket
  • click the Properties button
  • expand the Permissions section
  • click the Add bucket policy button
  • Paste the bucket policy you’ve constructed – in my example, I simply substituted “mikecanuckbucket” for “examplebucket” from the example
  • Click Save

Note: the bucket policy is immediately applied.

Upload a web page (CLI)

Note: “helloworld.html” is the example file I’m uploading to my bucket.

aws s3 cp helloworld.html s3://mikecanuckbucket

Set file-level permissions (Console)

Hah!  If you used the bucket policy like me, this won’t actually be necessary.  One convenient advantage of this inconvenience.

If you didn’t, then you’ll have to configure file-level permissions like I did in the last post.

Retrieve the page link (Console)

  • Select the new file in your new bucket
  • Click the Properties button
  • Click (or copy) the URL listed as Link


I’m disappointed that the S3 team hasn’t made it possible to eliminate the manual (Console) steps in an operation like this.  I must be missing something, or perhaps the AWS shell is where all incomplete features will be added in the future?

I happened to notice a git issue asking whether aws-shell or SAWS was the future, and according to the most active developer in both, it appears to be aws-shell.  Presumably this project is being actively developed then (though after a year and a half, it’s still labelled “The aws-shell is currently in developer preview” – and the vast majority of commits are from a year ago).  However, it’s sad to see some pretty significant issues have remained open over a year – that’s a project that sounds like it’s on life support, not fully staffed.  Or maybe the AWS APIs are still just that incomplete?

It’s also discouraging to see it mention that “The aws-shell accepts the same commands as the AWS CLI, except you don’t need to provide the aws prefix”.  This implies that it’s simply relying on the AWS CLI to implement additional commands, rather that implement themselves.  And certainly my cursory inspection of the autocomplete commands bears this out (no new options to the base s3 command palette).  [That’s understandable – it’s painful as a development organization to duplicate functionality that’s ostensibly being supported already by one branch of the org.]

Still, it is disappointing to see that at this point in the maturity lifecycle of AWS, there are still this many discontinuities to create such a disjoint experience.  My experience with the official tutorials is similar – some are great, some are frankly terrible botched efforts, and I would’ve expected better from The Leader in Cloud.  [Hell, for that matter, some capabilities themselves such as CodeDeploy are still a botched mess, at least as far as how difficult it was for me to succeed EVEN WITH a set of interdependent – admittedly poorly-written – tutorials.]


AWS wrangling, round 3: simplest possible, manually-configured static website

Our DevOps instructor Dan asked us to host a static HelloWorld page in S3.  After last week’s over-scoped tutorial, I started digging around in the properties of an S3 bucket, and discovered it was staring me in the face (if only I’d stared back).

Somehow I’d foolishly gotten into the groove of AWS tutorials and assumed if I found official content, that must be the most well-constructed approach based on the minimal needs of most of their audience, so I didn’t question the complexity and poorly-constructed lessons until long after I was committed to see it through.  [Thankfully I was able to figure out at least one successful path through those vagaries, or else I’d probably still be stubborn-through-seething and trying to debug the black box that are IAM policy attachments.]

Starting Small: S3 bucket and nothing else

Create Bucket

Modify the bucket-level Permissions

  • Select the new bucket and click Properties
  • Expand the Permissions section, click Add more permissions
  • In the Grantee selector, choose Everyone
  • check the List checkbox
  • click Save

Enable static website hosting

  • In the Bucket Properties, expand the Static Website Hosting section
  • Select enable website hosting
  • In the Index Document textbox, enter your favoured homepage name (e.g. index.html)
  •  click Save

Upload your web content

  • In the Actions button (on the top-left of the page), select Upload
  • Click Add files, select a simple HTML file, and click Start Upload
    • If you don’t have a suitable HTML file, copy the following to a text editor on your computer and save it (e.g. as helloworld.html)
      <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "">
       <title>Hello, World!</title>
       body {
       color: #ffffff;
       background-color: #0188cc;
       font-family: Arial, sans-serif; 

      Hello, World!

      You have successfully uploaded a static web page to AWS S3

      </body> </html>

Modify the content-level Permissions

  • Select the newly-uploaded file, then click Properties
  • expand the Permissions section and click Add more permissions
  • In the Grantee selector, choose Everyone
  • check the Open/Download checkbox and click Save

Now to confirm that your web page is available to web users, find the Link in the Properties for the file and click it – here’s my test file:

Screenshot 2017-01-15 10.26.39.png

If you’ve done everything correctly, you should see something like this:

Screenshot 2017-01-15 10.31.01.png

If one or more of the Permissions aren’t correct, you’ll see this (or at least, that’s what I’m getting in Chrome):

Screenshot 2017-01-15 10.29.47.png


AWS Tutorial wrangling, effort 2: HelloWorld via CodeDeploy

I’m taking a crash course in DevOps this winter, and our instructor assigned us a trivial task: get Hello World running in S3.

I found this tutorial (tantalizingly named “Deploy a Hello World Application with AWS CodeDeploy (Windows Server)”), figured it looked close enough (and if not, it’d keep me limber and help me narrow in on what I *do* need) so I foolishly dove right in.

TL;DR I found the tutorial damnably short on explicit clarity – lots of references to other tutorials, and plenty of incomplete or vague instructions, it seems this was designed by someone who’s already overly-familiar with AWS and didn’t realize the kinds of ambiguities they’d left behind.

I got myself all the way to Step 3 and was faced with this error – little did I know this was just the first of many IAM mysteries to solve:

Mac4Mike:aws mike$ aws iam attach-role-policy --role-name CodeDeployServiceRole --policy-arn arn:aws:iam::aws:policy:/service-role/AWSCodeDeployRole
An error occurred (AccessDenied) when calling the AttachRolePolicy operation: User: arn:aws:iam::720781686731:user/Mike is not authorized to perform: iam:AttachRolePolicy on resource: role CodeDeployServiceRole

Back the truck up, Mike

Hold on, what steps preceded this stumble?

CodeDeploy – Getting Started

Well, first I pursued the CodeDeploy Getting Started path:

  • Provision an IAM user
    • It wasn’t clear from the referring tutorials, so I learned by trial and error to create a user with CLI permissions (Access/Secret key authN), not Console permissions
  • Assigning them the specified policies (to enable CodeDeploy and CloudFormation)
  • Creating the specifiedCodeDeployServiceRole service role
    • The actual problem arose here, where I ran the command as specified in the guide

I tried this with different combinations of user context (Mike, who has all access to EC2, and Mike-CodeDeploy-cli, who has all the policies assigned in Step 2 of Getting Started) AND the –policy-arn parameter (both the Getting Started string and the one dumped out by the aws iam create-role command (arn:aws:iam::720781686731:role/CodeDeployServiceRole)).

And literally, searching on this error and variants of it, there appear to be no other people who’ve ever written about encountering this.  THAT’s a new one on me.  I’m not usually a trailblazer (even of the “how did he fuck this up *that* badly?” kind of trailblazing…)

OK, so then forget it – if the CLI + tutorial can’t be conquered, let’s try the Console-based tutorial steps.   [Note: in both places, they state it’s important that you “Make sure you are signed in to the AWS Management Console with the same account information you used in Getting Started.”  Why?  And what “account information” do they mean – the user with which you’re logged into the web console, or the user credentials you provisioned?]

I was able to edit the just-created CodeDeployServiceRole and confirm all the configurations they specified *except* where they state (in step 4), “On the Select Role Type page, with AWS Service Roles selected, next to AWS CodeDeploy, choose Select.”  Not sure what that means (which should’ve pulled me in the direction of “delete and recreate this role”), but I tried it out as-is anyway.  [The only change I had to make so far was to attach AWSCodeDeployRole.]

Reading up on the AttachRolePolicy action, it appears that –policy-arn refers to the permissions you wish to attach to the targeted role, and –role-name refers to the role getting additional permissions.  That would mean I’m definitely meant to attach “arn:aws:iam::aws:policy/service-role/AWSCodeDeployRole” policy to CodeDeployServiceRole.  (Still doesn’t explain why I lack the AttachRolePolicy permission in either of the IAM Users I’ve defined, nor how to add that permission.)

Instead, with no help from any online docs or discussions, I discovered that it’s possible to assign the individual permission by starting with this interface:

  • Click Create Policy
  • Select Policy Generator
  • AWS Service: Select AWS Identity and Access Management
  • Actions: Attach Role Policy
  • ARN: I tried constructing two policies with (arn:aws:iam::aws:policy/service-role/AWSCodeDeployRole) and (arn:aws:iam::720781686731:role/CodeDeployServiceRole)
    • The first returned “AccessDenied” and with the second, the command I’m fighting with returned “InvalidInput”

Then I went to the Users console:

  • select the user of interest (Mike-CodeDeploy-cli in my journey)
  • click Add Permissions
  • select “Attach existing policies directly”
  • select the new Policy I just created (where type = Customer managed, so it’s relatively easy to spot among all the other “AWS managed” policies)

As I mentioned, the second construction returned this error to the command:

An error occurred (InvalidInput) when calling the AttachRolePolicy operation: ARN arn:aws:iam::720781686731:role/CodeDeployServiceRole is not valid.

Nope, wait, dammit – the ARN is the *policy*, not the *object* to which the policy grants permission…

Here’s where I started ranting to myself…

Tried it a couple more times, still getting AccessDenied, so screw it.  [At this point I conclude AWS IAS is an immature dog’s breakfast – even with an explicit map you still end up turned in knots.]

So I just went to the Role CodeDeployServiceRole and attached both policies (I’m pretty sure I only need to attach the policy AWSCodeDeployRole but I’m adding the custom AttachRolePolicy-CodeDeployRole because f it I just need to get through this trivial exercise).

[Would it kill the folks at AWS to draw a friggin picture of how all these capabilities with their overlapping terminology are related?  Cause I don’t know about you, but I am at the end of my rope trying to keep these friggin things straight.  Instead, they have a superfluous set of fragmented documented and tutorials, which it’s clear they’ve never usability tested end-to-end, and for which they assume way too much existing knowledge & context.]

I completed the rest of the InstanceProfile creation steps (though I had to create a second one near the end, because the console complained I was trying to create one that already existed).

CodeDeploy – create a Windows instance the “easy” way

Then of course we’re on to the fun of creating a Windows Instance in AWS.  Brave as I am, I tried it with CloudFormation.

I grabbed the CLI command and substituted the following two Parameter values in the command:

  • –template-url:

    ttp:// (for the us-west-2 region I am closest to)

  • Parameter-Key=KeyPairName: MBP-2009 (for the .pem file I created a while back for use in SSH-managing all my AWS operations)

The first time I ran the command it complained:

You must specify a region. You can also configure your region by running "aws configure".

So I re-ran aws configure and filled in “us-west-2” when it prompted for “Default region name”.

Second time around, it spat out:

    "StackId": "arn:aws:cloudformation:us-west-2:720781686731:stack/CodeDeployDemoStack/d1c817d0-d93e-11e6-8ee1-503f20f2ade6"

They tell us not to proceed until this command reports “CREATE_COMPLETED”, but wow does it take a while to stop reporting “None”:

aws cloudformation describe-stacks --stack-name CodeDeployDemoStack --query "Stacks[0].StackStats" --output text

When I went looking at the cloudformation console (blame it on lack of patience), it reported my instance(s)’ status was “ROLLBACK_COMPLETE”.  Now, I’m no AWS expert, but that doesn’t sound like a successful install to me.  I headed to the details, and of course something else went horribly wrong:

  • CREATE_FAILED – AWS::EC2::Instance – API: ec2:RunInstances Not authorized for images: [ami-7f634e4f]

CodeDeploy – create a Windows instance the “hard” way

So let’s forget the “easy” path of CloudFormation.  Try the old-fashioned way of creating a Windows instance, and see if I can make it through this:

  • Deciding among Windows server AMI’s is a real blast – over 600 of them!
  • I narrowed it down to the “Windows_Server-2016-English-Full-Base-2016.12.24”
    • Nano is only available to Windows Assurance customers
    • Enterprise is way more than I’d need to serve a web page
    • Full gives you the Windows GUI to manage the server, whereas Core only includes the PowerShell (and may not even allow RDP access)
    • I wanted to see what the Manage Server GUI looks like these days, otherwise I probably would’ve tried Core
    • Note: there were three AMI all prefixed “Windows_Server-2016-English-Full-Base”, I just chose the one with the latest date suffix (assuming it’s slightly more up-to-date with patches)
  • I used the EC2 console to get the Windows password, then installed the Microsoft Remote Desktop client for Mac to enable me to interactively log in to the instance

Next is configuring the S3 bucket:

  • There is some awfully confusing and incomplete documentation here
  • There are apparently two policies to be configured, with helpful sample policies, but it’s unclear where to go to attach them, or what steps to take to make sure this occurs
  • It’s like the author has already done this a hundred times and knows all the steps by heart, but has forgotten that as part of a tutorial, the intended audience are people like me who have little or no familiarity with the byzantine interfaces of AWS to figure out where to attach these policies [or any of the other hundred steps I’ve been through over the last few weeks]
  • I *think* I found where to attach the first policy (giving permission to the Amazon S3 Bucket) – I attached this policy template (substituting both the AWS account ID [111122223333] and bucket name [codedeploydemobucket] for the ones I’m using):
    { "Statement": [ { "Action": ["s3:PutObject"], "Effect": "Allow", "Resource": "arn:aws:s3:::codedeploydemobucket/*", "Principal": { "AWS": [ "111122223333" ] } } ] }
  • I also decided to attach the second recommended policy to the same bucket as another bucket policy:
    { "Statement": [ { "Action": ["s3:Get*", "s3:List*"], "Effect": "Allow", "Resource": "arn:aws:s3:::codedeploydemobucket/*", "Principal": { "AWS": [ "arn:aws:iam::80398EXAMPLE:role/CodeDeployDemo" ] } } ] }
  • Where did I finally attach them?  I went to the S3 console, clicked on the bucket I’m going to use (called “hacku-devops-testing”), selected the Properties button, expanded the Permissions section, and clicked the Add bucket policy button the first time.  The second time, since it would only allow me to edit the bucket policy, I tried Add more permissions – but that don’t work, so I tried editing the damned bucket policy by hand and appending the second policy as another item in the Statement dictionary – after a couple of tries, I found a combination that the AWS bucket policy editor would accept, so I’m praying this is the intended combination that will all this seductive tutorial to complete:
     "Version": "2008-10-17",
     "Statement": [
     "Effect": "Allow",
     "Principal": {
     "AWS": "arn:aws:iam::720781686731:root"
     "Action": "s3:PutObject",
     "Resource": "arn:aws:s3:::hacku-devops-testing/*"
     "Action": [
     "Effect": "Allow",
     "Resource": "arn:aws:s3:::hacku-devops-testing/*",
     "Principal": {
     "AWS": [

CodeDeploy – actually deploying code

I followed the remaining commands (closely – gotta watch every parameter and fill in the correct details, ugh).  But thankfully this was the trivial part.  [I guess they got the name “CodeDeploy” right – it’s far more attractive than “CodeDeployOnceYouFoundTheLostArkOfTheCovenantToDecipherIAMIntricacies”.]


Success!  Browsing to the public DNS of the EC2 instance showed me the Hello World page I’ve been trying to muster for the past three days!


This tutorial works as a demonstration of how to marshall a number of contributing parts of the AWS stack: CodeDeploy (whose “ease of deployment” benefits I can’t yet appreciate, considering how labourious and incomplete/error-prone this tutorial was), IAM (users, roles, groups, policies), S3, EC2 and AMI.

However, as a gentle introduction to a quick way to get some static HTML on an AWS endpoint, this is a terrible failure.  I attacked this over a span of three days.  Most of my challenges were in deciphering the mysteries of IAM across the various layers of AWS.

In a previous life I was a security infrastructure consultant, employed by Microsoft to help decipher and troubleshoot complex interoperable security infrastructures.  I prided myself on being able to take this down to the lowest levels and figure out *exactly* what’s going wrong.  And while I was able to find *a* working pathway through this maze, my experience here and my previous expertise tells me that AWS has a long way to go to make it easy for AWS customers to marshall all their resources for secure-by-default application deployments.  [Hell, I didn’t even try to enhance the default policies I encountered to limit the scope of what remote endpoints or roles would have access to the HTTP and SSH endpoints on my EC2 instance.  Maybe that’s a lesson for next time?]


Notes to self: installing Vagrant via homebrew

It’s as easy as

brew install vagrant

Ha! Nice try there, buddy:

Error: No available formula with the name "vagrant" 
==> Searching for similarly named formulae...
Error: No similarly named formulae found.
==> Searching taps...
These formulae were found in taps:
homebrew/completions/vagrant-completion  Caskroom/cask/vagrant-manager
Caskroom/cask/vagrant-bar                Caskroom/cask/vagrant
To install one of them, run (for example):
  brew install homebrew/completions/vagrant-completion

According to this discussion, it’s not allowed by homebrew but the homebrew-cask project enables users to install vagrant.  (So *that’s* why I couldn’t get Chrome, Dropbox, 1Password, VLC and other apps installed view homebrew – there’s some rule or constraint in homebrew that only enables non-GUI apps.)

So let’s install the Cask tools – this article makes me feel silly even – you just have to know to use the “cask” keyword, as in:

brew cask install vagrant

Thus do I get vagrant v1.9.1 in one (slightly unexpected) command line.  (And don’t forget virtualbox and vagrant-manager!)

Which is super-cool, because many package managers end up with non-current builds of the tools in their catalogs.

And as a bonus, they mention a bunch of quicklook plugins that I never even thought to go looking for – markdown, syntax-highlighted code,  JSON, CSV and more!