Implementing GitFlow with Amazon CodeCatalyst

by Michael Ohde | on

Amazon CodeCatalyst is a unified software development service for building and delivering applications on Amazon Web Services. With CodeCatalyst, you can implement your team’s preferred branching strategy. Whether you follow popular models like GitFlow or have your own approach, CodeCatalyst Workflows allow you to design your development process and deploy to multiple environments.


In a previous post in this series,  Using Workflows to Build, Test, and Deploy with Amazon CodeCatalyst , we discussed creating a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline in CodeCatalyst and how you can continually deliver high-quality updates through the use of one workflow. I will build on these concepts by focusing on how you collaborate across your codebase by using multiple CodeCatalyst Workflows to model your team’s branching strategy.

Having a standardized process for managing changes to the codebase allows developers to collaborate predictably and focus on delivering software. Some popular branching models include GitFlow, GitHub flow, and trunk-based development.

  • GitFlow is designed to manage large projects with parallel development and releases, featuring multiple long-running branches.
  • GitHub flow is a lightweight, branch-based workflow that involves creating feature branches and merging changes into the main branch.
  • Trunk-based development is focused on keeping the main branch always stable and deployable. All changes are made directly to the main branch, and issues are identified and fixed using automated testing and deployment tools.

In this post, I am going to demonstrate how to implement GitFlow with CodeCatalyst. GitFlow uses two permanent branches, main and develop, with supporting branches. The prefix names of the supporting branches give the function they serve — feature, release, and hotfix. I will apply this strategy by separating these branches into production and integration, both with their own workflow and environment . The main branch will deploy to production and the develop branch plus the supporting branches will deploy to integration.

Implementing GitFlow with CodeCatalyst
Figure 1. Implementing GitFlow with CodeCatalyst.

Upon completing the walkthrough, you will have the ability to utilize these techniques to implement any of the popular models or even your own.


If you would like to follow along with the walkthrough, you will need to:

  • Have an  Amazon Web Services Builder ID  for signing in to CodeCatalyst.
  • Belong to a space and have the space administrator role assigned to you in that space. For more information, see  Creating a space in CodeCatalyst Managing members of your space , and  Space administrator role .
  • Have an Amazon Web Services account associated with your space and have the IAM role in that account. For more information about the role and role policy, see  Creating a CodeCatalyst service role .


For this walkthrough, I am going use the Static Website blueprint with the default configuration. A CodeCatalyst blueprint creates new project with everything you need to get started. To try this out yourself, launch the blueprint by following the steps outlined in the  Creating a project in Amazon CodeCatalyst .

Once the new project is launched, I navigate to CI/CD > Environments. I see one environment called production. This environment was setup when the project was created by the blueprint. I will now add my integration environment. To do this, I click the Create environment above the list of environments.

Initial environment list with only production.
Figure 2. Initial environment list with only production.

A CodeCatalyst environment is where code is deployed and are configured to be associated with your Amazon Web Services account using Amazon Web Services account connections. Multiple CodeCatalyst environments can be associated with a single Amazon Web Services account, allowing you to have environments in CodeCatalyst for development, test, and staging associated with one Amazon Web Services account.

In the next screen, I enter the environment name as integration, select Non-production for the environment type, provide a brief description of the environment, and select the connection of the Amazon Web Services account I want to deploy to. To learn more about connecting Amazon Web Services accounts review Working with Amazon Web Services accounts in Amazon CodeCatalyst . I will make note of my connection Name and Role, as I will need it later in my workflow. After I have entered all the details for the integration environment, I click Create environment on the bottom of the form. When I navigate back to CI/CD > Environments I now see both environments listed.

Environment list with integration and production.
Figure 3. Environment list with integration and production.

Now that I have my production and integration environment, I want to setup my workflows to deploy my branches into each separate environment. Next, I navigate to CI/CD > Workflows. Just like with the environments, there is already a workflow setup by the blueprint created called OnPushBuildTestAndDeploy. In order to review the workflow, I select Edit under the Actions menu.

OnPushBuildTestAndDeploy workflow Actions menu.
Figure 4. OnPushBuildTestAndDeploy workflow Actions menu.

By reviewing the workflow YAML, I see the OnPushBuildTestAndDeploy workflow is triggered by the main branch and deploys to production. Below I have highlighted the parts of the YAML that define each of these. The Triggers in the definition determine when a workflow run should start and Environment where code is deployed to.

Name: OnPushBuildTestAndDeploy
  - Type: PUSH
      - main
      Name: production
        - Name: ****
          Role: ****

Since this confirms the production workflow is already done, I will copy this YAML and use it to create my integration workflow. After copying the entire OnPushBuildTestAndDeploy YAML to my clipboard (not just the highlights above), I navigate back to CI/CD > Workflows and click Create Workflow. Then in the Create workflow dialog window click Create.

Create workflow dialog window.
Figure 5. Create workflow dialog window.

Inside the workflow YAML editor, I replace all the existing content by pasting the OnPushBuildTestAndDeploy YAML from my clipboard. The first thing I edit in the YAML is the name of the workflow. I do this by finding the property called Name and replacing OnPushBuildTestAndDeploy to OnIntegrationPushBuildTestAndDeploy.

Next, I want to change the triggers to the develop branch and match the supporting branches by their prefixes. Triggers allow you to specify multiple branches and you can use regex to define your branch names to match multiple branches. To explore triggers further read Working with triggers .

  - Type: PUSH
      - develop
      - "feature/.*"
      - "release/.*"
      - "hotfix/.*"

After my triggers are updated, I need to update the Environment property with my integration environment. I replace both the Name and the Connections properties with the correct values for my integration environment. I use the Name and Role from the integration environment connection I made note of earlier. For additional details about environments in workflows review Working with environments .

      Name: integration
        - Name: ****
          Role: ****

Before finishing the integration workflow, I have highlighted the use of ${WorkflowSource.BranchName} in the Deploy action. The workflow uses the BranchName variable to prevent different branch deployments from overwriting one another. This is important to verify as all integration branches use the same environment. The WorkflowSource action outputs both CommitId and BranchName to workflow variables automatically. To learn more about variables in workflows review Working with variables .

      AmplifyBranchName: ${WorkflowSource.BranchName}

I have included the complete sample OnIntegrationPushBuildTestAndDeploy workflow below. It is the developer’s responsibility to delete resources their branches create even after merging and deleting branches as there is no automated cleanup.

Entire sample integration workflow.
Figure 6. Entire sample integration workflow.

After I have validated the syntax of my workflow by clicking Validate, I then click Commit. Confirm this action by clicking Commit in the Commit workflow modal window.

Commit workflow dialog window.
Figure 7. Commit workflow dialog window.

Immediately after committing the workflow, I can see the new OnIntegrationPushBuildTestAndDeploy workflow in my list of workflows. I see that the workflow shows the “Workflow is inactive”. This is expected as I am looking at the main branch and the trigger is not invoked from main.

Now that I have finished the implementation details of GitFlow, I am now going to create the permanent develop branch and a feature branch to test my integration workflow. To add a new branch, I go to Code > Source repositories > static-website-content, select Create branch under the More menu.

Source repository Actions menu.
Figure 8. Source repository Actions menu.

Enter develop as my branch name, create the branch from main, and then click Create.

Create the develop branch from main.
Figure 9. Create the develop branch from main.

I now add a feature branch by navigating back to the create branch screen. This time, I enter feature/gitflow-demo as my branch name, create the branch from develop, and then click Create.

Create a feature branch from develop.
Figure 10. Create a feature branch from develop.

To confirm that I have successfully implemented GitFlow, I need to verify that the feature branch workflow is running. I return to CI/CD > Workflows, select feature/gitflow-demo from the branch dropdown, and see the integration workflow is running.

Feature branch running integration workflow.
Figure 11. Feature branch running integration workflow.

To complete my testing of my implementation of GitFlow, I wait for the workflow to succeed. Then I view the newly deployed branch by navigating to the workflow and clicking on the View app link located on the last workflow action.

Lastly, now that GitFlow is implemented and tested, I will step through getting the feature branch to production. After I make my code changes to the feature branch, I create a pull request to merge feature/gitflow-demo into develop. Note that pull requests were covered in the prior post in this series . When merging the pull request select Delete the source branch after merging this pull request, as the feature branch is not a permanent branch.

Deleting the feature branch when merging.
Figure 12. Deleting the feature branch when merging.

Now that my changes are in the develop branch, I create a release branch. I navigate back to the create branch screen. This time I enter release/v1 as my branch name, create the branch from develop, and then click Create.

Create the release branch from main.
Figure 13. Create the release branch from main.

I am ready to release to production, so I create a pull request to merge release/v1 into main. The release branch is not a permanent branch, so it can also be deleted on merge. When the pull request is merged to main, the OnPushBuildTestAndDeploy workflow runs. After the workflow finishes running, I can verify my changes are in production.


If you have been following along with this workflow, you should delete the resources you deployed so you do not continue to incur charges. First, delete the two stacks that deployed using the Amazon Web Services CloudFormation console in the Amazon Web Services account(s) you associated when you launched the blueprint and configured the new environment. These stacks will have names like static-web-XXXXX. Second, delete the project from CodeCatalyst by navigating to Project settings and choosing Delete project.


In this post, you learned how to use triggers and environments in multiple workflows to implement GitFlow with Amazon CodeCatalyst. By consuming variables inside workflows, I was able to further customize my deployment design. Using these concepts, you can now implement your team’s branching strategy with CodeCatalyst. Learn more about Amazon CodeCatalyst and get started today !

Michael Ohde

Michael Ohde is a Senior Solutions Architect from Long Beach, CA. As a Product Acceleration Solution Architect at Amazon Web Services, he currently assists Independent Software Vendor (ISVs) in the GovTech and EdTech sectors, by building modern applications using practices like serverless, DevOps, and AI/ML.