Since AWS Lambda service release last year announcement, I wanted to try this service and I actually did it. I found it very interesting, powerful and full of possibilities, but to be honest, Node.js is not really my cup of tea. So, I kept waiting for additional languages support.

So, with the recent announcement about Java 8 support for AWS Lambda, I found an excuse to try it again and for this I decided to use JRuby and write my test functions in Ruby.

After stumbling upon and reporting an issue with JRuby releases before 1.7.21, I was finally able to write and run AWS Lambda functions in Ruby.

To test this, I took the most basic example from AWS documentation and rewrote in Ruby:

require 'java'

java_package 'example'

java_import ''
java_import ''

class Hello
  java_signature 'String handler(int count, Context context)'
  def handler(count, context)
    logger = context.getLogger
    logger.log("received : #{count}")

To deploy and run that code, you must create an artifact acceptable for AWS Lambda (mostly .zip and .jar files). You can create those artifacts by using Maven as is explained in the documentation.

Your code should end in a location similar to: proj-dir/src/main/ruby/example/Hello.rb.

And you need to add some extra dependencies to use JRuby:

JRuby (use jruby-complete jar 1.7.21 or greater):


JRuby Maven compiler plugin:


After adding these extra dependencies and running mvn package you should have a .jar file ready to be used with Lambda.

So far, I only have observed two downsides about using JRuby for Lambda functions. The first one is, jruby-complete distribution is 20 MB in size, so I found my functions a little bloated in size. Hopefully, in the future AWS will add support for more runtimes and this will not be an issue anymore.

The second detail is, the first time you run your function you will notice a very long execution time (around 10s in my case) due to the usual slow JVM start up time. If you function is executed with relative frequence you will notice AWS Lambda reuse hardware and will obtain more reasonable execution times (around 100 ms for trivial functions).

All in all, I look forward to find more uses for this service and I hope for more convenient languages (e.g. Ruby, Go, Python, etc) being supported in AWS Lambda.

PS. In an AWS event today, it was announced a new service named "API Gateway" that can be combined with AWS Lambda as backend functions to build API endpoints. It's worth checking out.

Update (2015/12/03):

Akio Katayama published a niftier way to build your Lambda functions with JRuby but using gradle instead of plain old Maven. Check it out!