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When is my EventBridge cron expression going to run next?

Within AWS, you can use EventBridge rules to run something on a schedule. For example, if you wanted to create daily reports, you could use an EventBridge rule to run a Lambda function that creates the report once a day.

There are two ways to specify an EventBridge rule: a cron expression or a rate expression. You use cron expressions when you want fine-grained control over the schedule, but I find them tricky to reason about. I’m not always sure if I’ve got a cron expression right, or when it’s next going to run.

Today I stumbled upon a useful feature in the EventBridge console – it’ll tell you the next time your cron expression is going to run!

Suppose you’re looking at a rule in the console:

A rule in the EventBridge console. It's titled 'run_costs_report', has a section titled 'Rule details', then a second section titled 'Event schedule' with the expression 'cron(0 8 ? * 3#2 *)'.

If you click “Edit”, and scroll down to the section titled “Define pattern”, it’ll show you the next 10 trigger dates when your cron expression will run:

A section in the AWS console titled 'Define pattern', with a text field for editing a cron expression and a list of the next 10 trigger dates at the bottom. There's a selection picker which is currently 'GMT'.

As you edit your cron expression, the list updates to reflect your changes. You can also choose whether the list shows times in GMT (UTC+0) or your local timezone.

I’d configured my rule in Terraform, so I hadn’t looked at the console at all – it was pure chance that I found this page. It helped me debug an issue I was having, and much faster than if I’d used trial-and-error. (I had an off-by-one bug, because I’d forgotten the UK isn’t in GMT right now.)

I don’t write many EventBridge rules so I don’t know when I’ll need this again, but it seems like something I’ll want to remember.