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Project Structure

While we wait for our local environment to start up, let's look at the starter the create sst CLI has set up for us.


This chapter goes into a lot of detail to help you get familiar with this setup.

If you are just trying to get an overview of SST, feel free to skim this chapter and skip ahead.


Your project will look something like this.

├─ package.json
├─ sst.config.ts
├─ packages
│  ├─ core
│  │ └─ migrations
│  ├─ functions
│  ├─ graphql
│  └─ web
└─ stacks

We are using a monorepo setup. We recommend using it because it's the best way to manage a growing project with interconnected parts (like the backend, frontend, and infrastructure).

It may seem a bit heavy upfront but it makes it easy to add new features while keeping things organized.


The create sst setup generates a monorepo + Workspaces setup.

We'll look at how our monorepo is split up with Workspaces below. But first, let's start by looking at what these directories do.


The stacks/ directory contains the app's infrastructure as defined as code. Or what is known as Infrastructure as Code (IaC). SST by default uses TypeScript to define your infrastructure. You can also use JavaScript.

We typically group related resources together into stacks. In the stacks/ directory there are a couple of files:

  • Database.ts creates a PostgreSQL database cluster.

    export function Database({ stack }: StackContext) {
    const rds = new RDS(stack, "db", {
    engine: "postgresql11.13",

    // ...

    Stacks also allow us to return props that we can reference in other stacks.

    return rds;
  • Api.ts creates an API with a GraphQL endpoint at /graphql using API Gateway.

    export function Api({ stack }: StackContext) {
    const api = new ApiGateway(stack, "api", {
    defaults: {
    function: {
    bind: [use(Database)],

    // ...

    We bind the database to our API so that the functions that power our API have access to it.

    function: {
    bind: [use(Database)],

    The use(Database) call gives this stack access to the props that the Database stack returns (rds in this case).

    The bind prop does two things for us. It gives our functions permissions to access the database. Also our functions are loaded with the database details required to query it. You can read more about Resource Binding.

  • Web.ts creates a Vite static site hosted on S3, and serves the contents through a CDN using CloudFront.

    export function Web({ stack }: StackContext) {
    const api = use(Api);

    const site = new StaticSite(stack, "site", {

    // ...

    We get the Api stack to set the GraphQL API URL as an environment variable for our frontend to use.

    environment: {
    VITE_GRAPHQL_URL: api.url + "/graphql",


The packages/ directory houses everything that powers our backend. This includes our GraphQL API, but also all your business logic, and whatever else you need.

  • packages/core contains all of your business logic. The create sst setup encourages Domain Driven Design. It helps you keep your business logic separate from your API and Lambda functions. This allows you to write simple, maintainable code. It implements all the things your application can do. These are then called by external facing services — like an API.

  • packages/core/migrations is created by default to house your SQL migrations.

  • packages/web contains a React application created with Vite. It's already wired up to be able to talk to the GraphQL API. If you are using a different frontend, for example NextJS, you can delete this folder and provision it yourself.

  • packages/functions is where you can place all the code for your Lambda functions. Your functions should generally be fairly simple. They should mostly be calling into code previously defined in packages/core.

  • packages/graphql contains the outputs of GraphQL related code generation. Typically you won't be touching this but it needs to be committed to Git. It contains code shared between the frontend and backend.


Our starter is structured to encourage Domain Driven Design.


The package.json for our app is relatively simple. But there are a couple of things of note.


As we had mentioned above, we are using Workspaces to organize our monorepo setup.

Workspaces are now supported in both npm and Yarn and you can learn more about them in their docs. In a nutshell, they help you manage dependencies for separate packages inside your repo that have their own package.json files.

We have workspaces in our setup.

"workspaces": [

You'll notice that all these directories have their own package.json file.

So when you need to install/uninstall a dependency in one of those workspaces, you can do the following from the project root.

npm install <package> -W <workspace>
npm uninstall <package> -W <workspace>

Or you can navigate to the workspace directory and run the commands from there without the -W flag.


Our starter also comes with a few helpful scripts.

"scripts": {
"dev": "sst dev",
"build": "sst build",
"deploy": "sst deploy",
"remove": "sst remove",
"console": "sst console",
"typecheck": "tsc --noEmit",
"test": "sst bind -- vitest run",
"gen": "hygen"

Here's what these scripts do:

  • dev: Start the Live Lambda Dev environment for the default stage.
  • build: Build the CloudFormation for the infrastructure of the app for the default stage. It converts the SST constructs to CloudFormation and packages the necessary assets, but it doesn't deploy them. This is helpful to check what's going to be deployed without actually deploying it.
  • deploy: Build the infrastructure and deploy the app to AWS.
  • remove: Completely remove the app's infrastructure from AWS for the default stage. Use with caution!
  • console: Start the SST Console for the default stage. Useful for managing non-local stages.
  • typecheck: Run typecheck for your stacks code. By default, our editor should automatically typecheck our code using the tsconfig.json in our project root. However, this script lets you explicitly run typecheck as a part of our CI process.
  • test: Load our Config and run our tests. Our starter uses Vitest.
  • gen: Uses Hygen to run built-in code gen tasks. Currently only supports npm run gen migration new. This will help you code gen a new migration.

The default stage that we are referring to above, is the one that you selected while first creating the app.

This might seem like a lot of scripts but we don't need to worry about them now. We'll look at them in detail when necessary.


Finally, the sst.config.ts defines the project config and the stacks in the app.

export default {
config(_input) {
return {
name: "my-sst-app",
region: "us-east-1",
stacks(app) {
} satisfies SSTConfig;

By now your sst dev process should be complete. So let's run our first migration and initialize our database!