Template Handlers

Template handlers can be used to resolve a template config block to a CloudFormation template. This can be used to fetch templates from S3, for example. Users can create their own template handlers to easily add support for other template loading mechanisms. See Custom Template Handlers for more information.


The template_path key is deprecated in favor of the template key.

Available Template Handlers


Loads a template from the local file system. This handler supports templates with .json, .yaml, .template, .j2 and .py extensions. This is the default template handler type, specifying the file type is optional.

For backwards compatability, when a template_path key is specified in the Stack config, it is wired to use the file template handler.


  type: file
  path: <path>


  path: storage/bucket.yaml


The path property can contain an absolute or relative path to the template file. This handler assumes a relative path to be from sceptre_project_dir/templates


Downloads a template from an S3 bucket. The bucket is accessed with the same credentials that is used to run sceptre. This handler supports templates with .json, .yaml, .template, .j2 and .py extensions.


  type: s3
  path: <bucket>/<key>


  type: s3
  path: infra-templates/v1/storage/bucket.yaml


Downloads a template from a url on the web. By default, this handler will attempt to download templates with 5 retries and a download timeout of 5 seconds. The default retry and timeout options can be overridden by setting the http_template_handler key in the stack group config file.


  type: http
  url: <url>


  type: http
  url: https://raw.githubusercontent.com/acme/infra-templates/v1/storage/bucket.yaml

Custom Template Handlers

If you need to load templates from a different source, you can write your own template handler.

A template handler is a Python class which inherits from abstract base class TemplateHandler found in the sceptre.template_handlers module.

To have Sceptre validate that the template block specified in the Stack config is correct, template handlers should provide a JSON schema with the required and optional properties. The schema() method should be implemented and return a Python dictionary with the schema. For examples of JSON schemas in Python, please see the documentation of the jsonschema library.

Template handlers get access to the template block parameters, sceptre_user_data and connection_manager. These properties are available on self. Using connection_manager, template handlers can call AWS endpoints to perform actions or fetch templates. These correspond to the AWS Python SDK (see Boto3). For example:

        "Bucket": bucket,
        "Key": key

Sceptre uses the sceptre.template_handlers entry point to load template handlers. They can be written anywhere and are installed as Python packages.


The following Python module template can be copied and used:

├── custom_template_handler.py
└── setup.py

The following Python module template can be copied and used:


from sceptre.template_handlers import TemplateHandler

class CustomTemplateHandler(TemplateHandler):
    The following instance attributes are inherited from the parent class TemplateHandler.

    name: str
        The name of the template. Corresponds to the name of the Stack this template belongs to.
    handler_config: dict
        Configuration of the template handler. All properties except for `type` are available.
    sceptre_user_data: dict
        Sceptre user data defined in the Stack config
    connection_manager: sceptre.connection_manager.ConnectionManager
        Connection manager that can be used to call AWS APIs

    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        super(CustomTemplateHandler, self).__init__(*args, **kwargs)

    def schema(self):
        Return a JSON schema of the properties that this template handler requires.
        For help filling this, see https://github.com/Julian/jsonschema
        return {
            "type": "object",
            "properties": {},
            "required": []

    def handle(self):
        `handle` should return a CloudFormation template string or bytes. If the return
        value is a byte array, UTF-8 encoding is assumed.

        To use instance attribute self.<attribute_name>. See the class-level docs for a
        list of attributes that are inherited.

            CloudFormation template
        return ""


from setuptools import setup

        'sceptre.template_handlers': [
            '<custom_template_handler_type> = <custom_template_handler_module_name>:CustomTemplateHandler',

Then install using python setup.py install or pip install . commands.

This template handler can be used in a Stack config file with the following syntax. Any properties you put in the template block will be passed to the template handler in the self.handler_config dictionary.

  type: <custom_template_handler_type>
  <property>: <value>

Calling AWS services in your custom template_handler

For details on calling AWS services or invoking AWS-related third party tools in your template handler, see How do I call AWS services or use AWS-based tools in my custom hook/resolver/template handler?