Enabling CORS for an OpenWhisk Web Action

Here’s a quick tip for you. If you are building an OpenWhisk action you plan on exposing as a web action, most likely you’ll want to look into enabling CORS so you can call your code from JavaScript on the front-end. Since Web Actions can return both a result and headers, this is trivial to do. Here is a simple example.

function main(args) {

    if(!args.name) args.name = 'Nameless';
    let result = {
        string:'Hello '+args.name

    return {
        headers: { 
        body: new Buffer(JSON.stringify(result)).toString('base64')


There’s two things to make note of here. First, obviously, is the Access-Control-Allow-Origin header. I’m using * which means it can be called from anywhere, but I could lock that down if I chose.

Finally, when you return your data you have to base64 encode it. So the body key handles doing all of that after I’ve created my result value as I like.

The end result then is a simple endpoint I can hit from some client-side code:

.then(function(res) {

I also think it would be valid to build this as a sequence. So you could have webFoo being the action, comprised of a sequence of foo + webify (or some such) where foo represents the real business logic and webify handles the ‘complex’ output required to return the result.

Thank you to @akrabat on the OpenWhisk Slack for helping me figure this out!

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