Architect 8.3: custom file paths & much more

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by Ryan Block

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By popular demand: OpenJS Architect 8.3 (El Chupacabra) now supports custom file paths, custom Lambda templates, a fresh new local (and global) preferences file, and lots more!

Custom file paths

By default, like many frameworks, Architect relies on convention over configuration — meaning you can expect certain things, like the placement of function handlers, to appear in default, deterministic locations.

However, some projects and integrations necessitate more granular configurability. In Architect 8.3, you can express your project in a more verbose format that exposes additional settings, such as a custom handler source directory.


# app.arc
# simple - assumes src/http/get-foo/
get /foo
# verbose
  method get
  src whatever/dir/you/want

With this, you can even point two distinct Lambdas at the same code, like so:

  method post
  src some/dir
  method get
  src some/dir

This superpower also extends to Architect’s built-in code sharing, as well. Code that Architect would share to all of your functions via src/shared and src/views is now able to be configured to any path:

src shared-code
src frontend

Embed your Architect project in package.json

Some folks like to define their Architect projects in JSON with the arc.json file — and now Architect can read that definition from within an existing package.json file (under an arc or architect parameter). Check it out:

// package.json (not that you can comment JSON lol)
  "name": "your-app",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "my team's serverless app",
  "dependencies": {
    "@architect/architect": "^8.3.0"
  "arc": {
    "app": "app-name-for-aws",
    "aws": {
      "region": "us-west-1"
    "http": {
      "get": "/",
      "post": "/api"

For Node.js projects, this can be a nice way to define your application’s dependency and infrastructure manifests combined into a single file.

New preferences file

Developers on your team may have different preferences or needs for their local environment — for example, testing environment variables, or preferring to enable automatic Lambda handler creation when starting up the Sandbox local dev environment.

To support new configurability, Architect now has a local preferences file (preferences.arc or prefs.arc) for defining per-user settings for Architect workflows. Additionally, you can also add a global ~/.preferences.arc or ~/.prefs.arc, which will automatically resolve against your project-level preferences file (if present).

Learn more about some of the new [preferences available to Architect here(].

Custom handler templates

Architect automatically generates boilerplate Lambda handler files by running arc create (or by adding @create autocreate true to your preferences.arc file, and then starting Sandbox). Now you can define custom templates for Architect to use by adding an @create pragma to your preferences file, like so:

  http templates/http.js       # files can be inside your project
  events ~/arc-stuff/ # ... or elsewhere on your computer

Thank you

A hearty thanks to everyone in the Architect community who tested the beta releases of Architect 8.3 — without your help, we would not have the level of stability in our releases that we do.

Don’t forget to join the Architect conversation in Discord!

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Art by Michael Ramstead