Defining Pipeline Stages and Actions in AWS CodePipeline

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AWS CodePipeline is a fully managed continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) service that automates the build, test, and deployment phases of your release process. One of the key components of CodePipeline is defining pipeline stages and actions. Stages represent the logical units in your pipeline, and actions are the tasks or steps within each stage.

Step-by-step Guide

Follow these steps to define pipeline stages and actions in AWS CodePipeline:

  1. Create a New Pipeline: Open the AWS Management Console, navigate to CodePipeline, and click on "Create pipeline." Specify a pipeline name and select your source provider (e.g., AWS CodeCommit, GitHub).
  2. Configure Source Stage: Choose your repository and branch to monitor for changes. Set up a poll schedule or trigger based on code changes.
  3. Add Stages and Actions: Click on "Add stage" to define pipeline stages. Within each stage, click on "Add action group" to define actions. Actions can include building, testing, and deploying your application.
  4. Configure Actions: For each action, select the provider (e.g., AWS CodeBuild, AWS CodeDeploy) and specify the necessary settings and inputs, such as the build or deployment settings.
  5. Ordering of Actions: Arrange the actions within each stage in the order they need to be executed.
  6. Set Transition Rules: Define transition rules between stages to control the flow of the pipeline. For example, you can set an approval action before deploying to the production environment.
  7. Save and Execute: Save the pipeline configuration, and it will automatically start executing whenever changes are detected in the source repository.

Example of AWS CLI commands to create a pipeline with two stages:

aws codepipeline create-pipeline --cli-input-json file://pipeline-definition.json
aws codepipeline start-pipeline-execution --name MyPipeline

Common Mistakes

  • Not properly configuring the actions within each stage, leading to failed builds or deployments.
  • Creating long and complex pipelines with too many actions, making it challenging to manage and troubleshoot.
  • Skipping testing stages and not including proper validation checks.
  • Not defining proper approval actions for critical stages, leading to uncontrolled deployments.
  • Using hard-coded values in action configurations instead of leveraging parameterization.


  1. Q: Can I have multiple actions within a single stage?

    Yes, a stage can have multiple actions that run in parallel or sequentially.

  2. Q: Can I modify the pipeline stages after creation?

    Yes, you can edit, add, or remove stages and actions from the pipeline as needed.

  3. Q: Can I use custom-built tools for specific actions?

    Yes, you can define custom actions using AWS Lambda or third-party providers.

  4. Q: How do I handle failures in an action?

    CodePipeline provides built-in retry and failure handling mechanisms for actions.

  5. Q: Can I integrate CodePipeline with other AWS services?

    Yes, CodePipeline can be easily integrated with other AWS services, such as AWS CodeBuild and AWS CodeDeploy.


Defining pipeline stages and actions in AWS CodePipeline is a crucial step in setting up an automated CI/CD pipeline. By defining logical stages and arranging actions within each stage, you can streamline the software release process and ensure smooth deployments. Be cautious of common mistakes and carefully configure the actions to optimize the pipeline's efficiency and reliability. AWS CodePipeline simplifies the process of managing complex deployment workflows and helps you deliver applications quickly and reliably to your customers.