This is the main function of the package, responsible for starting the infinite loop of listening for new invocations. It relies on configuration provided to the config argument and produced by the lambda_config function.

  config = lambda_config(environ = parent.frame()),
  timeout_seconds = NULL



A list of configuration values as created by the lambda_config function.


If set, the function will stop listening for events after this timeout. The timeout is checked between events, so this won't interrupt the function while it is waiting for a new event. This argument is provided for testing purposes, and shouldn't otherwise need to be set: AWS should handle the shutdown of idle Lambda instances.


See vignette("lambda-runtime-in-container", package = "lambdr") for an example of how to use this function to place an R Lambda Runtime in a container.

This package uses the logger package for logging. Debug log entries can be enabled with logger::log_threshold(logger::DEBUG). This will log additional information such as raw event bodies.

Event context

Context is metadata associated with each invocation. If the handler function accepts a context argument then it will automatically receive at runtime a named list consisting of these values along with the arguments in the body (if any). For example, a function such as my_func(x, context) will receive the context argument automatically. The context argument must be named (... will not work).

Refer to vignette("lambda-runtime-in-container", package = "lambdr") for details.

AWS Lambda variables

The lambda_config function obtains the configuration values for the Lambda runtime configures the R session for Lambda based on environment variables made available by Lambda. The following environment variables are available:

  • Lambda Runtime API, available as the "AWS_LAMBDA_RUNTIME_API" environment variable, is the host of the various HTTP endpoints through which the runtime interacts with Lambda.

  • Lambda Task Root, available as the "LAMBDA_TASK_ROOT" environment variable, defines the path to the Lambda function code. It isn't used in container environments with a custom runtime, as that runtime is responsible for finding and sourcing the function code. Hence, a missing task root is ignored by this package.

  • The handler, available as the "_HANDLER" environment variable, is interpreted by R as the function that is executed when the Lambda is called. This value could be anything, as the interpretation is solely up to the runtime, so requiring it to be a function is a standard imposed by this package.

These handler, runtime_api and task_root arguments to the lambda_config function can also provide values to these configuration options, although the environment variables will always be used if available. While it may be sensible to provide the handler function directly, the other two configuration options are only provided for debugging and testing purposes.


if (FALSE) {
# A general usage pattern involves sourcing necessary functions and running
# this `start_lambda` in a `runtime.R` file which is then executed to start
# the runtime. In the following example, the function handler can be set to
# "lambda" either as the container `CMD`, or configured through AWS Lambda.

parity <- function(number) {
  list(parity = if (as.integer(number) %% 2 == 0) "even" else "odd")


# Alternatively, it can be passed as an argument `handler = parity` to
# the lambda configuration. If the handler is configured through other means
# then this will be ignored:

start_lambda(config = lambda_config(handler = parity))