Off-by-none: Issue #148

June 29, 2021

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Some serverless change is coming 🎉

Welcome to Issue #148 of Off-by-none. This issue is sponsored by our friends at Lumigo and Fauna.

Last week, Step Functions went low-code, we saw edge competition heating up, and we learned how to build apps on the decentralized web. This week, Serverless Chats gets a new co-host, AWS launches a crusade against software bugs, and we get a free masterclass in developer relations. Plus, we have plenty of great serverless content from the community.

Five Reasons to Use DynamoDB in Serverless Applications
In this webinar, Alex DeBrie, AWS Data Hero and author of the DynamoDB Book, and Uri Parush of Lumigo, talk about what makes DynamoDB unique and why it’s so popular in serverless. Please join us! July 8, 10:00 AM PT / 19:00 CEST Sponsored

Serverless News & Announcements 📣

First, let’s start with a Big Serverless Chats Announcement! The amazing Rebecca Marshburn will be joining me as a co-host on the podcast. We’re going to take the summer to make Serverless Chats bigger and better and will be back with all new episodes on August 30th.

In other cloud news, AWS announced AWS BugBust, which I think is just a massive crowd-sourced supervised learning exercise to train CodeGuru. But either way, it seems like a fun and creative way to wipe out bugs and save money.

Also, Red Hat expanded workload possibilities across the Hybrid Cloud with the latest version of OpenShift, Fugue announced the release of Regula 1.0, an open source policy engine for IaC security, and Salesforce Functions Beta delivers scalable experiences without limits.

On the money side of things, PlanetScale announced a $30M Series B to accelerate adoption of instantly provisioned and infinitely scalable databases and Vercel raised a cool $102M Series C for its front-end development platform.

Serverless Stories 📖

Mohammed Lutfalla shares how he processed half a million transactions in AWS Lambda within minutes, Quyen P.K lays out the architecture used to build a chatbot for GlassOn with Amazon Lex, and Christian Lechner creates a Kyma update Twitter bot using Azure Durable Functions.

Evandro Pires da Silva asks if a non IT professional could build a Lambda function. Then he used his wife as a guinea pig.

And finally, Steven McGown writes about a college graduate’s journey to cloud computing. He gives major props to Forrest Brazeal’s Cloud Resume Challenge, which deserves every ounce of praise.

Serverless Use Cases 🗺

Khoa Phan from the LEGO Group demonstrates the AWS Step Function Map State and how it can be used to fetch and merge PDFs.

And Ian Mckay has a Twitter thread on how you can use AWS CloudFormation to buy and sell US stock. This is a use case I think I’ll stay away from.

Serverless Concepts 🏗

Whether you’re building new microservices or augmenting existing services and applications, Fauna lets you simplify code, reduce costs, and ship faster. Learn more. Sponsored

Carl Alexander explains what is serverless PHP and how it works. Andrei Dascalu didn’t agree and rebutted with Serverless PHP – The Native Way. I think you can run PHP on Lambda just fine, especially given the custom runtimes available from Bref and others. But, then again, native is good, too.

Lee James Gilmore gives you a run down on serverless feature flags and how you can use AppConfig to avoid needing third party services.

For the absolute newbie, Aayush Pandey outlines all the AWS serverless services for beginners, or for the slightly more advanced, check out Jones Zachariah Noel’s AWS AppSync 101.

Karsten Eckhardt shows you why it’s important to pick the right memory size for your AWS Lambda functions. There are some tools for this as well.

And Julian Wood published another chapter in his “Building well-architected serverless applications” series, this one focuses on managing application security boundaries.

Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

Ugur Gungezerler shows us how to use SQS with NestJS and the Serverless Framework.

Miguel A. Calles demonstrates how to create a serverless website on AWS with Serverless plugins.

Jason DeLano walks you through what seems to be the painful process of upgrading Lambda functions from Python 2.7 to Python 3.8.

Add Debarshi Mondal continues discussing a serverless MERN stack by showing you how to  set SSL and custom domains with CloudFront and Route53.

Serverless Reads 🤓

Gareth Cronin suggests that surely building software can’t be as hard as it used to be? He also shares his tool-kit for tiny responsive web apps.

Lawrence Hecht noted that WebAssembly developers lust for Rust and AssemblyScript based on a recent report. More interesting is that 24% of those using WebAssembly are using it for serverless. I wonder if this has to do with the Edge?

Casey Haakenson wants you to help your future self by considering your logging audience. Lots to agree with here.

Pete McCain shares 8 cloud computing trends to watch in 2021. Probably telling you what you already know, but it bears repeating.

Sarah Schlothauer sat down with Jonas Bonér, CEO and Founder of Lightbend, who explains that “Akka Serverless is really the first of its kind.”

And finally, James Thomas shares five years of lessons learnt in Developer Relations. This is an important read for anyone building products for developers. Huge thank you to James for putting this out there.

Podcasts, Videos, and more 🎧

On Serverless Chats Episode #107: Serverless Infrastructure as Code, Rebecca and I chat with Ben Kehoe about what infrastructure as code really means, why IaC with serverless is different than non-serverless architectures, how IaC defines resource graphs that fully specify the state of your system, why is it important for developer intent to be maintained by IaC systems, and much more.

And the always amazing Marcia Villalba show you how to build workflows visually with AWS Step Functions Workflow Studio.

New from AWS 🆕

There were a few interesting serverless announcements this week, including the ability to configure GitHub Actions workflows with a new GitHub Action for building serverless applications, AWS SAM’s new machine learning inference templates for AWS Lambda, and the release of a simplified way of building serverless applications with AWS-supported container images for continuous integration systems.

In other relevant AWS announcements, CloudWatch added 14 new Metric math functions, AWS WAF added 15 new text transformations, and you can now connect to your Amazon CloudWatch data to detect anomalies and diagnose their root causes using Amazon Lookout for Metrics.

And finally, Amazon DynamoDB Accelerator (DAX) now supports encryption in transit of data between your applications and DAX clusters, and between the nodes within a DAX cluster. This is a nice little security enhancement.

Thoughts from Twitter 🐦

We’re celebrating the one year anniversary of a major app we run, with approximately 2000 users run entirely on @awscloud lambda backed by @dynamodb. Some learnings from this. A 🧵 ~ Abhay Bhargav
Abhay shares some really important lessons from his team’s experience operating their service. It’s always great to read about non-sugarcoated serverless success.

Upcoming Serverless Events 🗓

If you have an event, webinar, etc. that you’d like me to mention, please email me.

June 30, 2021 – AWSome Day Online Conference

July 8, 2021 – Five Reasons to Use DynamoDB in Serverless Applications (Webinar)

August 15, 2021 – ServerlessDays – Student Edition

September 14, 2021 – ServerlessDays – Nashville

September 17, 2021 – ServerlessDays – Hamburg

September 28, 2021 – ServerlessDays – Paris

November 3-4, 2021 – CascadiaJS 2021

Serverless Star of the Week ⭐️

There is a very long list of people who 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 Ali Spittel (@ASpittel). Ali is a Senior Developer Advocate at AWS. She writes about tech on HackerNews, FreeCodeCamp, JSWeekly, and on her blog. She is one of the hosts of the amazing Ladybug Podcast where she and her co-hosts amplify women’s voices in the tech community. Thank you, Ali, for helping others learn to code and succeed with serverless! 🙌

Final Thoughts 🤔

I hope everyone had a great week and are looking forward to the upcoming summer months (well, in the northern hemisphere anyway). Speaking of which, I’ll be taking some time off from the podcast for the next two months so that Rebecca and I can work on the show and come back with a whole new experience on August 30th. In addition to time off from the show, this newsletter will be switching to a bi-weekly schedule starting next week and will resume its weekly schedule on August 31st.

This will be the first time in almost three years that I’ll be taking some time off from the normal weekly schedule, so it feels a bit strange. However, part of that time off is to work on a new and (hopefully) better experience, so I’m sure it will be worth 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 #147June 22, 2021

Next Issue

Issue #149July 6, 2021

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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 ⭐️!