A Pragmatic Approach Towards CDK for Terraform

March 02, 2024

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) has revolutionized the way we manage and provision resources in the cloud. Terraform, by HashiCorp, has been a leading tool in this space, allowing users to define infrastructure through declarative configuration files. However, with the advent of the Cloud Development Kit for Terraform (CDKTF), developers can now leverage the power of programming languages they are already familiar with, such as TypeScript, Python, Java, C#, and Go, to define their infrastructure.

2024 03 02

Building Blocks of CDK for Terraform

CDK for Terraform is built on top of the AWS Cloud Development Kit (CDK) and uses the JSII (JavaScript Interop Interface) to enable publishing of constructs that are usable in multiple programming languages. This polyglot approach opens up new possibilities for infrastructure management.

The foundational classes to build CDKTF applications are:

  • App Class: This is the container for your infrastructure configuration. It initializes the CDK application and acts as the root construct.
  • Stack Class: A stack represents a single deployable unit that contains a collection of related resources.
  • Resource Class: This class represents individual infrastructure components, such as an EC2 instance or an S3 bucket.
  • Constructs: Constructs are the basic building blocks of CDK apps. They encapsulate logic and can be composed to create higher-level abstractions.

When to Use CDK for Terraform

CDK for Terraform is a powerful tool, but it's not always the right choice for every project. Here are some scenarios where CDKTF might be a good fit:

  • Preference for Procedural Languages: If your team is more comfortable with procedural programming languages like Python or TypeScript, CDKTF allows you to define infrastructure using these languages instead of learning a new domain-specific language (DSL) like HCL (HashiCorp Configuration Language).
  • Need for Abstraction: As your infrastructure grows in complexity, creating higher-level abstractions can help manage this complexity. CDKTF enables you to create reusable constructs that encapsulate common patterns.
  • Comfort with Cutting-Edge Tools: CDKTF is a relatively new tool in the Terraform ecosystem. If your team is comfortable adopting new technologies and dealing with the potential for breaking changes, CDKTF can offer a more dynamic and flexible approach to infrastructure as code.


CDK for Terraform offers a pragmatic approach for teams looking to leverage their existing programming skills to define and manage cloud infrastructure. By providing a familiar language interface and enabling the creation of reusable constructs, CDKTF can help streamline the development process and manage complexity in large-scale deployments. However, it's essential to evaluate whether your team is ready to adopt this cutting-edge tool and whether it aligns with your project's needs.

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Victor Leung, who blog about business, technology and personal development. Happy to connect on LinkedIn