Off-by-none: Issue #107

September 15, 2020

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Welcome to Serverless Land... 🎡

Welcome to Issue #107 of Off-by-none. Thanks for being here!

Last week, we learned the names of all 168 AWS Services (via song), chatted with Holly Mesrobian about adopting serverless at AWS, and got some great troubleshooting advice. This week, we get a FastPass to Serverless Land, hear some candid serverless feedback, and we get a new Data API. Plus, we share plenty of great serverless content from the community.

When you want some serverless news… 📣

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Some DAs at AWS released Serverless Land. It’s sort of like Disneyland, except for hardcore serverless geeks and there are no long lines for the rides. If you are looking for a consolidated list of all the latest AWS serverless announcements and blogs, this is the place for you.

Hasura will be bringing GraphQL on-demand to more people as it grabs $25 million in a round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. Meanwhile, Limelight adds serverless computing to its edge platform.

And thanks to the new X-Ray integration, Datadog now has distributed tracing for AWS Step Functions. I’m sure others will follow suit.

When you need some good serverless stories… 📖

Maksim Vinogradov wrote about what his team learned while using AWS Lambda in their production cycles for more than one year. It seems as though theses experiences are consistent, with education being the biggest roadblock.

Dunelm re-platformed its e-commerce system with serverless AWS components, and chose Fastly for their CDN. And Samuel James shared what his team learned from building a serverless e-commerce website on AWS to combat COVID-19. Big takeaway: DATA is King! 👑

Just as there’s more than one way to skin a cat (pardon the expression), there are lots of ways to build a serverless application. Tom Doe tells us how he built a serverless recipes app with FaunaDB and Vue.js (and Netlify).

And of course, there’s nothing like some honest AWS Serverless Feedback.

When you want some interesting serverless use cases 🗺

If you’ve got some time on your hands, Rodrigo Fuentes will show you how to use serverless and NLP to block unsolicited sales emails. I’m waiting for the phone call version.

Also, if you’re afraid you’re not getting enough alerts every day, you can set up a Discord notification using CloudWatch Alarms, SNS and AWS Lambda.

Miles Hill has a clever suggestion for creating event-driven containers with Lambda and Fargate. This makes a lot of sense to me.

When you want to deepen your serverless knowledge… 🏗

If you’re just getting started, Joita Mitra’s Going serverless with AWS Lambda will give you some of the fundamentals. For something a bit more advanced, check out Taavi Rehemägi’s Lambda Triggers and Design Patterns (Part 2), as well as The Complete AWS Lambda Handbook for Beginners (Part 1). Those should keep you busy for awhile.

Ran Ribenzaft gives us a Cloud Container Services Comparison, Lars Jacobsson shares a brief summary of his team’s AWS productivity tools, and Chaitanya Prakash Bapat points out 4 common serverless issues.

If you’re still studying for that certification, Michael King’s Ultimate Cheat Sheet for the AWS Solutions Architect Exam (Part 2) is out. This focuses on EC2, but unfortunately, we still need to know that stuff.

And finally, Vikas Solegaonkar has a great post on enhancing functionality with Lambda Layers, which is a good complement to James Beswick’s Using Lambda layers to simplify your development process.

What to do when you just want to start building… 👷‍♀️

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Chris Bailey shows you how to smoke test serverless APIs with Postman. He runs the tests via their command line tool called Newman, making it possible to trigger these from any CI system.

If you want to know how to set up custom domain names for AppSync, Yan Cui has you covered. James Beswick shows you how to start uploading to Amazon S3 directly from a web or mobile application, and Allan Chua has another really interesting article on deploying Natural JS inference models to AWS Lambda.

When you need some good serverless reads… 🤓

Tim Wagner and Shruthi Rao give us the recipe for flying cars: Serverless, Multicloud, and Distributed Applications. I’m curious who Zorg is in their Fifth Element comparison. I’m guessing Larry Ellison. 🤷‍♂️

Why Cloud-Based Architectures and Open Source Don’t Always Mix is an interesting read by Christopher Tozzi. Nothing particularly novel in here, but always fun to run this type of thought-experiment every now and then.

The team at Thundra published the The Full Guide to AWS Lambda Cold Starts, which contains some detailed stats about this common complaint, and Matthew Dorrian shares his thoughts on how to save money and improve performance with the Lambda power tuner UI.

What to do when you’ve finished rewatching Parks and Rec… 🚎

On Serverless Chats Episode #66: The Story of the Serverless Framework (PART 1), I have the first part of my conversation with Austen Collins about the origins of the Serverless Framework, how it was able to grow a passionate developer community, build a company around it, and where the framework and serverless are headed in the future.

And if you have orchestration on the mind, Yan Cui spoke at the Serverless Toronto Meetup to explain how you can deliver business value faster with AWS Step Functions.

When you’re looking for some new serverless stuff from AWS… 🆕

API Gateway HTTP APIs now support Lambda and IAM authorization options, which is pretty cool. I had a number of APIs that couldn’t be ported over because of this, but now’s the time to look at those workloads again.

Equally awesome is the fact that AWS Step Functions added support for AWS X-Ray, giving you full visibility across state machine executions and making it easier to analyze and debug your distributed applications. Learn more here.

There’s also a new Data API for Amazon Redshift! It might not be a common component in your greenfield serverless applications, but for those of you that need data access from Lambda, this is amazing. Plus, you can run your queries asynchronously and retrieve the results later.

In other AWS news, the security folks add an Amazon S3 bucket owner condition to help validate correct bucket ownership. There’s definitely a story behind this. Amazon CloudWatch released a Java client library for the Embedded Metric Format, and Amazon CloudWatch Dashboards now support sharing.

Finally, Amazon Lex launched support for Australian English. I’m guessing this had something to do with it not understanding Michael Hart. 😁

Thoughts from Twitter 🐦

While I certainly don’t condone violence, this Simpsons Against DevOps tweet made me laugh. 😁

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

September 21, 2020 – Mastering the AWS Serverless Application Model (AWS SAM)

September 23, 2020 – Amplify with Friends

September 23, 2020 – Nimbella and Postman: From APIs to Serverless Cloud Applications in Minutes

September 24, 2020 – Scaling up: Advanced Serverless Debugging through Observability (Webinar)

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

September 30, 2020 – Microsoft Create: Serverless – Conversations with Community and Industry Experts!

October 1-2, 2020 – ServerlessDays Hamburg 2019 🗣

October 6-8, 2020 – Chaos Conf 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 Paul Chin Jr. (@paulchinjr). Paul works in Developer Relations at Begin, and previously was a Cloud Solutions Architect at Cloudreach. If you’ve ever seen one of Paul’s presentations, you might know that beloved actor Nicolas Cage makes an appearance, as Paul admittedly relies on the thespian to inspire his projects and experiments. Paul is passionate about open source, serverless architecture, and making technology more accessible for everyone. Thanks, Paul, for being a national treasure for serverless! 🙌

Final Thoughts 🤔

I’ve been working on something kinda big, and in true Jeremy fashion, I may have gone a tiny bit over the top. But hey, the world needs feel good stuff every once in awhile, and if I can contribute to that, then why not? I’m hoping to put it out there this week, so stay tuned.

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.

See you next week,

Previous Issue

Issue #106September 8, 2020

Next Issue

Issue #108September 22, 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.


Nominate a Serverless Star

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 ⭐️!