Use PynamoDB Locally

Several DynamoDB compatible servers have been written for testing and debugging purposes. PynamoDB can be used with any server that provides the same API as DynamoDB.

PynamoDB has been tested with two DynamoDB compatible servers, DynamoDB Local and dynalite.

All you need to do is set the host attribute on your Model‘s Meta class to the hostname and port that your server is listening on.


Local implementations of DynamoDB such as DynamoDB Local or dynalite may not be fully featured (and I don’t maintain either of those packages), so you may encounter errors or bugs with a local implementation that you would not encounter using DynamoDB.

from pynamodb.models import Model
from pynamodb.attributes import UnicodeAttribute

class Thread(Model):
    class Meta:
        table_name = "Thread"
        host = "http://localhost:8000"
    forum_name = UnicodeAttribute(hash_key=True)

Running dynalite

Make sure you have the Node Package Manager installed, instructions here.

Install dynalite:

$ npm install -g dynalite

Run dynalite:

$ dynalite --port 8000

That’s it, you’ve got a DynamoDB compatible server running on port 8000.

Running DynamoDB Local

DynamoDB local is a tool provided by Amazon that mocks the DynamoDB API, and uses a local file to store your data. You can use DynamoDB local with PynamoDB for testing, debugging, or offline development. For more information, you can read Amazon’s Announcement and Jeff Barr’s blog post about it.

  • Download the latest version of DynamoDB local here.
  • Unpack the contents of the archive into a directory of your choice.

DynamoDB local requires the Java Runtime Environment version 7. Make sure the JRE is installed before continuing.

From the directory where you unpacked DynamoDB local, you can launch it like this:

$ java -Djava.library.path=./DynamoDBLocal_lib -jar DynamoDBLocal.jar

Once the server has started, you should see output:

$ java -Djava.library.path=./DynamoDBLocal_lib -jar DynamoDBLocal.jar
2014-03-28 12:09:10.892:INFO:oejs.Server:jetty-8.1.12.v20130726
2014-03-28 12:09:10.943:INFO:oejs.AbstractConnector:Started SelectChannelConnector@

Now DynamoDB local is running locally, listening on port 8000 by default.