Creating Tables with DynamoDB Toolbox

I'm playing around with DynamoDB Toolbox, and one thing that wasn't clear in my mind was how do I actually create a table using the definitions I made using Toolbox.

Quick github issues search lead me to this issue:

How do we create the actual table in aws dynamodb? · Issue #101 · jeremydaly/dynamodb-toolbox
Preference is to not have two definitions for the same table: So how can we either create a table through the api or/and generate a cloudformation template? If this is out of the scope of this libr...

where Simlu was asking the same question, and the answer was "Do It Yourself".

I dread code duplication especially around things like table definitions - it's trivial to have all your tests pass, but in the end app fail in production because you have a mismatch between two definitions of the same thing.

I've made a little example repo and a helper. For now feel free to just copy and paste it.

Helper like this might get into the dynamodb-toolbox itself, so I didn't create a package for it yet. But if jeremydaly decides this code should live in a package, I will do that.

import type { DynamoDB } from "aws-sdk";

type DynamoDBTypes = "string" | "number" | "binary";

type ToolboxData = {
  partitionKey: string;
  sortKey?: string;
  attributes: {
    [key: string]: DynamoDBTypes;
  name: string;

function getAttributes(tableDefinition: DynamoDB.CreateTableInput) {
  const typesMap: { [key: string]: DynamoDBTypes } = {
    S: "string",
    N: "number",
    B: "binary",

  return tableDefinition.AttributeDefinitions.reduce((previous, current) => {
    return {
      [current.AttributeName]: typesMap[current.AttributeType],
  }, {});

function getPartitionKey(tableDefinition: DynamoDB.CreateTableInput) {
  return tableDefinition.KeySchema.find((k) => {
    return k.KeyType.toUpperCase() === "HASH";

function getSortKey(tableDefinition: DynamoDB.CreateTableInput) {
  const rangeAttribute = tableDefinition.KeySchema.find((k) => {
    return k.KeyType.toUpperCase() === "RANGE";
  return rangeAttribute ? rangeAttribute.AttributeName : undefined;

export const dynamoSdkToToolbox = (
  tableDefinition: DynamoDB.CreateTableInput
): ToolboxData => ({
  partitionKey: getPartitionKey(tableDefinition),
  attributes: getAttributes(tableDefinition),
  sortKey: getSortKey(tableDefinition),
  name: tableDefinition.TableName,

(there are tests for it in the example repo)

Contribute to xolvio/dynamodb-toolbox-examples development by creating an account on GitHub.

This is how to use it. Assuming you have a table definition using AWS SDK format:

import type { DynamoDB } from "aws-sdk";

export const tableDefinition: DynamoDB.CreateTableInput = {
  TableName: "my-table",
  AttributeDefinitions: [
      AttributeType: "S",
      AttributeName: "pk",
      AttributeType: "S",
      AttributeName: "sk",
  KeySchema: [
      AttributeName: "pk",
      KeyType: "HASH",
      AttributeName: "sk",
      KeyType: "RANGE",
  BillingMode: "PAY_PER_REQUEST"

pass it to the dynamoSdkToToolbox helper:

const DocumentClient = new DynamoDB.DocumentClient()

const MyTable = new Table({

This will set things like attributes, partitionKey, sortKey and name for you - making sure they are and stay in sync.

Using the same table definition you can create a table (although you would probably use cloud formation or CDK for that, that's a topic for a separate article, but you might want to use a helper like this to transform the SDK definition to CDK )

await dynamoDB.createTable(tableDefinition).promise()

Feel free to play around with the code:

Contribute to xolvio/dynamodb-toolbox-examples development by creating an account on GitHub.

Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts in the comments below.

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