you're reading...

Amazon SimpleDB Basics in C# – PutAttribute

In response to a question in the comments on how to do a PutAttribute on SimpleDB, I’ve put together this post. These are fragments of code and not a complete source file. Hopefully if someone is looking for information, this can help as a guide. This code was written for Windows Phone 7 (i.e. Silverlight). To implement this fully, you’ll need to fill in the methods named CalculateStringToSignV2 and HmacSign. It is done via a GET method so all of the data is sent in the query string. Some of the code is a derivation from existing samples.

public void UpdateData(string itemName, AwsCredentials credentials) {

     IDictionary<string, string> parameters = new Dictionary<string, string>();
     parameters["Action"] = "PutAttributes";
     parameters["DomainName"] = DomainName;
     parameters["ItemName"] = itemName;

     // in my sample, I have a column called "LastUpdated" that I want to update with the current time.
     parameters["Attribute.1.Name"] = "LastUpdated";
     parameters["Attribute.1.Value"] = DateTime.Now.ToUniversalTime().ToString(CultureInfo.InvariantCulture);
     parameters["Attribute.1.Replace"] = true.ToString();

     AddRequiredParameters(parameters, GetMethod, credentials);

     var queryString = GetParametersAsString(parameters);

     var uri = new Uri(string.Format("{0}?{1}", SimpleDbUrl, queryString));
     var updateRequest = WebRequest.Create(uri) as HttpWebRequest;
     if (updateRequest != null)
                updateRequest.Method = GetMethod;
                AsyncDataPackage asyncDataPackage = new AsyncDataPackage() { PostData = queryString, Request = updateRequest, Credentials = credentials};
                updateRequest.BeginGetResponse(UpdateResponseHandler, asyncDataPackage);


private void AddRequiredParameters(IDictionary<string, string> parameters, string accessMethod, AwsCredentials credentials)
            if (String.IsNullOrEmpty(credentials.AccessKey))
                throw new ArgumentNullException("The AWS Access Key cannot be NULL or empty");
            if (parameters.ContainsKey("Signature"))
            parameters["SignatureVersion"] = signatureVersion;
            parameters["SignatureMethod"] = signatureMethod;
            parameters["Timestamp"] = GetFormattedTimestampIso8601(0);
            parameters["Version"] = serviceVersion;

            string toSign = CalculateStringToSignV2(parameters, SimpleDbUrl, credentials.AccessKey, accessMethod);
            string auth;
            auth = HmacSign(toSign, credentials.SecretKey);

            parameters["AWSAccessKeyId"] = credentials.AccessKey;
            parameters["Signature"] = auth;


private static string GetParametersAsString(IDictionary<string, string> parameters)
            StringBuilder data = new StringBuilder(512);
            foreach (string key in (IEnumerable<string>)parameters.Keys)
                string value = parameters[key];
                if (value != null)
            string result = data.ToString();
            return result.Remove(result.Length - 1);

    public class AwsCredentials
        public string AccessKey { get; set; }
        public string SecretKey { get; set; }

public class AsyncDataPackage
        public HttpWebRequest Request { get; set; }
        public string PostData { get; set; }
        public AwsCredentials Credentials { get; set; }


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


I'm Ken Stone. I'm an indie developer with a focus on .NET and Windows Phone development. I have a day job, but everything I say is mine alone.

TechEd 2012July 11th, 2012
Let the learning begin.
%d bloggers like this: