Off-by-none: Issue #105

September 1, 2020

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There’s nothing like serverless in September… ⛅️

Welcome to Issue #105 of Off-by-none. Glad you could join us!

Last week, we looked at the new service integration support for HTTP APIs, saw more support for JAMstack, and welcomed some new heroes. This week, we learn how to integrate SalesForce with EventBridge, create aggregates with DynamoDB streams, and find out why opening the box is a bad idea. Plus, we have a plenty of serverless content from the community.

When you want to stay in the serverless know… 📣

First of all, make sure you check out the TriggerMesh guide “What Every CIO Needs to Know about Serverless” that compares major offerings and explains concepts like cloud native and microservices in plain English. Use it to inform your peers / managers on serverless benefits and options. Sponsored

In other news, a recent report from SlashData finds that AWS dominates Cloud-Native Study of Kubernetes and Serverless Computing. 46% of serverless developers are using Lambda, although, apparently Google is making strides with UX/UI designers and researchers.

Remember when I told you to keep an eye on Fastly? Well, now they are acquiring Signal Sciences for $775M to bring a new cybersecurity offering called Secure@Edge that will integrate with Fastly’s serverless computing offering. 👀

Also FaunaDB launched their API v3 and Lambda Store introduced a new CLI to make using Redis in Lambda a whole lot easier.

When you need some serverless success stories… 📖

Durga Katrapally explains how he re-architected his web application to serve dynamic forms serverlessly. More of a tutorial than a story, but if we retired all the servers that are just catching forms, that would we a huge win IMO.

Dillon Woods,’s CTO, shares their experience with monitoring tools that support serverless. It’s sort of a puff piece for Sentry, but there’s some good justifications in there for using observability tools.

If you have kids that are dealing with remote and hybrid learning situations, perhaps learning how artificial intelligence and Amazon Alexa are teaching students to write might be of interest to you.

When you want some serverless use cases… 🗺

If there was ever a good use case for serverless, it’d be building a serverless endpoint to solve Suduko puzzles. Amirite? And even if that’s not your thing, I’m sure you can adapt this use of Google OR-Tools, WebAssembly, and Cloudflare Workers to solve your specific problem.

Passwordless logins are another handy use case. Guido Zuidhof shows you how to implement it serverlessly with FaunaDB as well the pros and cons of using them. And for the DevOps crowd, Allen Helton has a great post that shows you how to build a continuous changelog with AWS and JIRA. Not only is 100% serverless, it doesn’t even use Lambda functions. 😉

Where to go to increase your serverless know-how… 🏗

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Speaking of observability, you may want to take a deep dive into serverless tracing with AWS X-Ray and Lambda. Or for some ideas on application structure, have a look at this primer on the clean architecture pattern and its principles.

There’s always plenty to learn when it comes to serverless, especially as you start to use specific serverless components. Yan Cui can show you how to model hierarchical access with AppSync, and Vishnu Prassad has a nice little DynamoDB CheatSheet for NodeJS. Crespo Wang has some tips for working with AWS RDS Proxy, and Ivonne Roberts has a complete writeup on using AWS SQS events on AWS Lambda.

Last week we talked about some caveats with the new service integrations for HTTP APIs. Although there are still more features to be added, Eric Johnson has a great post that explains the benefits of building storage-first serverless applications with HTTP APIs service integrations and how they can be mapped using an OpenAPI 3 definition.

If you’re still somewhat new to serverless, then here are some autoscaling patterns in serverless computing you should know about, and if you’re thinking about using a routing framework in your Lambda functions, Allan Chua’s Route Management Frameworks for AWS Lambda and Node JS is a good round up. Extra points for mentioning Lambda API. 😊

When you just want to build something… 👷‍♀️

James Beswick continues his series on using serverless backends to iterate quickly on web apps. This time you deal with image moderation using Step Functions. And if you want to build something really cool, this post on building Salesforce integrations with Amazon EventBridge and Amazon AppFlow should point you in the right direction.

Building Lambda functions with TypeScript continues to be a popular subject. Here’s one straightforward tutorial that uses some parts of the Serverless Framework, and another that adds a bit more complexity. And if you want to add some extensibility to your projects, here are 10 steps to start building your own Serverless Plugin using TypeScript.

If you’re interested in taking a detour from AWS, this post will show you how to use Rust + WebAssembly to perform serverless machine learning and data visualization using Tencent. Or if you’d rather stick with AWS, Michael Bahr can show you how to point multiple subdomains to the same frontend, which is handy when building dynamic subdomains for serverless projects.

And for your final challenge, let Forrest Brazeal walk you through building aggregations with DynamoDB Streams. There’s no singing in this one either, but we always appreciate new content from Forrest.

How to feel good about your serverless security… 🔒

Don’t be like these people. According to a TrendMicro study, nearly half of UK IT leaders have not upgraded their security strategies for the cloud. I’m sure there is still a lot of value in On-Prem security strategies, but quite a bit has changed in the last few years. Even if you’ve updated your security strategies, is your cloud backup ready to handle a crisis?

For some short term security wins, you can use MongoDB client field level encryption with AWS Lambda, encrypt environment variables in AWS Lambda functions, and prevent AWS from reading your Step Functions data.

When you want some good serverless reads… 🤓

This post about knowing when to “open the box” by Brian Foody gave me a chuckle. It’s amazing how many developers want to recreate the wheel, especially when the serverless solution is probably much better. I get the curiosity factor, but it can be an efficiency and maintenance nightmare. And as Alvaro Rivas explains, serverless and multi-tenancy not only offloads work, but also adds additional security without all that expensive idle time.

John Blamire’s post, Cloud Has Become A Barrier To Work, We Need An Answer Fast!, gives an interesting perspective on removing complexity from the cloud and making it more accessible. This is something that the Jamstack is helping with too, and these top 10 Static Site Generators to watch in 2020 will help you sort out the best tool for the job. +1 for Eleventy.

I thought this was an interesting post/interview about how former Twitter engineers are designing a modern serverless database at Fauna. We don’t mention FaunaDB much, but there is definitely something cool there. And Rhea Moutafis explains that there’s an ongoing war between containers and serverless computing, but also recommends taking the hybrid approach.

For fans of the Hawkins High A/V Club… 📽

Episode #64 of the Serverless Chats Podcast, From ColdFusion to Serverless with Raymond Camden, was a fun trip down memory lane. We talked about Ray’s journey from ColdFusion to Serverless and why the Jamstack might just be the perfect level of abstraction for web developers.

Yan Cui has another great episode of Real World Serverless, this time chatting with Gillian Armstrong about serverless chatbots. Plus he was on the InfoQ podcast taking about serverless, orchestration and choreography, distributed tracing, and more.

Mike Roberts released another episode of Cloud Coffee Break in which he introduces you to what testing means in the world of serverless. And if you are interested in learning more about the AWS CDK, this AWS Online Tech Talk is all about building enhanced CI/CD workflows with it.

When you’re curious what the AWS devs have been up to… 🆕

Not much in the way of serverless this week, but as we mentioned earlier, Amazon AppFlow now supports Amazon EventBridge as a destination. Plus, Amazon CloudFront announced real-time logs that are available in Kinesis streams, which is a pretty cool feature. And there’s some Amazon CloudWatch Logs features now available in the AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio Code as well.

They also launched a client library for Amazon SNS that supports message payloads of up to 2 GB. Is the old trick of storing large payloads in S3, but the fact that it’s all baked into a single solution is nice.

In other interesting AWS announcements, AWS CloudTrail now provides relevant user statistics to act on anomalies detected by CloudTrail Insights, Amazon Lex has a new express testing capability, and AWS X-Ray now supports controlling access to X-Ray resources using tags.

There was also a price change notice for customers using Amazon Pinpoint to send SMS messages to India. Not everyone was happy about this, but seems to have been brought on by the Telcos.

When you need some handy serverless tools… 🛠

lambda-middleware is a useful collections of, yup, you guessed it, middleware for your Lambda functions. If you’d prefer to build with Netlify, create-netlify-ts can get your TypeScript functions up and running quickly. And if you’d like to run the SAM CLI on Linux, here are some tips for you.

Thoughts from Twitter 🐦

It’s your monthly reminder that serverless done right is very affordable. We run a full-stack insurance company, selling four products (home/auto/renters/umbrella). Every environment and developer has his or her own AWS account that is a replica of prod. Here’s our bill for July. ~ Joe Emison
I always appreciate Joe’s transparency, and showing that it only costs $734.38 USD to run an entire cloud infrastructure serverlessly, should turn any CIO/CTO’s head.

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Have a job listing you’d like to share? Please contact me for more information.

Upcoming Serverless Events 🗓

There are a lot of upcoming serverless events, webinars, livestreams, and more. If you have an event you’d like me to mention, please email me.

September 3, 2020 – ServerlessDays Warsaw

September 9, 2020 – Amplify with Friends

September 17, 2020 – AWS Community Day Sri Lanka (Online Event) 🗣

September 23, 2020 – Amplify with Friends

September 30, 2020 – CDK Day 2020 (Online Conference)

October 1-2, 2020 – ServerlessDays Hamburg 2019 🗣

Serverless Star of the Week ⭐️

There is a very long list of people that are doing #ServerlessGood and contributing to the Serverless community. These people deserve recognition for their efforts. So each week, I will mention someone whose recent contribution really stood out to me. I love meeting new people, so if you know someone who deserves recognition, please nominate them.

This week’s star is Anna Spysz (@annaspies). After completing a full-stack developer bootcamp in 2018, Anna became a Software Engineer at Stackery working in React and Node.js. Prior to her current position, Anna has held a variety of roles in different industries, such as working as a travel writer, editor, tech journalist, and online entrepreneurship course developer, in addition to authoring a few books. Because of her unorthodox path to technology, she is committed to making tech approachable, empowering new developers, and has an obsession with good documentation. Thanks, Anna, for your inspiring path to serverless! 🙌

Final Thoughts 🤔

Welcome to September! Typically this is when the kids go back to school and everyone’s productivity kicks it up a notch. It’ll be a little different this year, but I’m still looking forward to seeing some amazing serverless things over the course of the next few months, especially since re:Invent is right around the corner (well, sort of). Anyway, if you’re working on something amazing, sign up to be a guest on Serverless Spotlight and tell us all about it.

I hope you enjoyed this newsletter. We’re always looking for ideas and feedback to make it better and more inclusive, so please feel free to reach out to me via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or email.


Previous Issue

Issue #104August 25, 2020

Next Issue

Issue #106September 8, 2020

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About the Author

Jeremy is the GM of Serverless Cloud at Serverless, Inc. and an AWS Serverless Hero that has a soft spot for helping people solve problems using serverless. He frequently consults with companies and developers transitioning away from the traditional “server-full” approach. You can find him ranting about serverless on Twitter, in several forums and Slack groups, hosting the Serverless Chats podcast, and at (virtual) conferences around the world.


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Off-by-none is committed to celebrating the diversity of the serverless community and recognizing the people who make it awesome. If you know of someone doing amazing things with serverless, please nominate them to be a Serverless Star ⭐️!