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AWS Introduces a New Workflow Studio for AWS Step Functions

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Recently, AWS introduced a new Workflow Studio for its Step Functions offering. Through the AWS Management Console, developers can now access a visual builder to create Step Functions workflows.

AWS Step Functions is a serverless function orchestrator that makes it easy to sequence AWS Lambda functions and multiple AWS services into business-critical applications. Since its release in December 2016, developers have, according to an AWS Compute blog post, been building Step Functions workflows with Amazon States Language (ASL) to orchestrate multiple services into business-critical applications. 

With Workflow Studio, developers now have a drag-and-drop interface, allowing them to build orchestration workflows quickly. Moreover, the workflow steps appear as a series of interconnected boxes in the Workflow Studio interface, and developers can customize each processing step via a low-code menu. Furthermore, the state is configured using editable forms, and the workflow ASL definition can be exported for further editing in the console or local integrated development environment (IDE) of the developer.


Workflow Studio does not only target developers, but business users and non-technical people can also use it. For example, they can create placeholders for AWS Lambda functions and other service integrations using the drag-and-drop interface – and the resources do not need to exist before designing the workflow.  Furthermore, once a workflow is prototyped, they can save and continue to edit in the console or hand over the ASL definition to a developer, who can continue in an IDE like Visual Code. Subsequently, the developer can incorporate the ASL definition into an infrastructure as code (IaC) template.

Marcia Villalba, a senior developer advocate for Amazon Web Services, stated in an AWS News Blog post on Workflow Studio:

Step Functions is amazing for visualizing the processes inside your distributed applications, but developing those state machines is not a visual process. Workflow Studio makes it easy for developers to build serverless workflows. It empowers developers to focus on their high-value business logic while reducing the time spent writing configuration code for workflow definitions and building data transformations.

In addition, a respondent on a Reddit thread on Workflow Studio for Step Functions wrote:

I've been wrestling with Step Functions for a few months now, and something like this would have been amazing. Last time I had to make some adjustments to a Step Function definition, I even thought, "I should make a visual tool for this cause it'd make a fortune."

And Yan Cui, an AWS serverless hero and developer advocate at Lumigo, tweeted:

This significantly lowers the barrier of entry for Step Function.

Microsoft has a similar offering as AWS Step Functions with Logic Apps. This service in Azure also has a drag-and-drop interface allowing developers to build workflows and integrations. Furthermore, developers can also use an IDE like Visual Code for their workflows with the recent release of Logic App Standard.

Currently, Workflow Studio is available in all the AWS Regions where Step Functions is available. The Workflow Studio is included in Step Functions pricing at no additional fee – and pricing details of Step Functions workflows are available on the pricing page.

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