Off-by-none: Issue #164

November 16, 2021

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Accidental serverless complexity 🧩

Welcome to Issue #164 of Off-by-none. This issue is sponsored by our friends at Lumigo and Courier.

Last week, Azure gave us serverless containers, we learned some more serverless patterns, and I shared some things I’ve learned over the last 24 years in tech. This week, Cloudflare steps on the serverless gas, the Serverless Framework gets an overhaul, and something is still unfulfilled with serverless. Plus, we have lots of great content from the serverless community.

Webinar: Overcoming common serverless challenges in production apps
Join Serverless Guru founder Ryan Jones and AWS Serverless Hero and Lumigo Developer Advocate Yan Cui, as they dive into some common challenges in production serverless applications they have seen and how they’ve built solutions to overcome them. Save your spot! Fri, Nov 19, 10:00 AM PT Sponsored

Something is unfulfilled with Serverless

Last week, Corey Quinn wrote a post titled The Unfulfilled Promise of Serverless. He made a lot of good points about the portability and complexity issues, as well as the perceived value problem. I agreed with much of what he said, but I felt as though it was missing some context, so I followed it up with The Unfulfilled Potential of Serverless. This prompted Mark Nunnikhoven to follow that up with The Infinite Loop of Lost Potential, which I think brilliantly ties the other two pieces together. They’re all worth checking out if you have the time.

Serverless News & Announcements 📣

The last week was super busy with announcements, including today’s announcement by Serverless, Inc. of the Serverless Framework v3 Beta. There has been a tremendous amount of effort put into this new version and it’s available to try right now.

Cloudflare declared it Full Stack Week, planning to make a series of announcements laying out their vision for the future of compute. They started by introducing Relational Database Connectors for Cloudflare Workers, which is pretty darn cool.

PlanetScale is now GA, and with that came $50M in Series C money.

I also found out that Epsagon is NOT shutting down their platform, but will instead keep supporting both new and existing customers for FREE (with limits, of course).

Thorsten Höger, Sathyajith Bhat, Matthew Bonig, and Matt Coulter have made the The CDK Book: A Comprehensive Guide to the AWS Cloud Development Kit available for preorder.

And if you like the AWS CDK, they just released v1.126.0 – v1.130.0 with high-level APIs for AWS AppRunner and hotswap support for Amazon ECS and AWS Step Functions.

Denis Bauer was a 2021 Brilliant Women in Digital Health award recipient, so congrats to her for the amazing work she’s doing!

And speaking of amazing people, we also got to meet the latest AWS Heroes, including Takahiro Horike. The fact that he wasn’t already a Serverless Hero blows my mind.

Serverless Concepts 🏗

There’s this interesting post on model development of mobile applications which posits that the notion of the frontend/backend separation model itself is a thing of the past. I don’t disagree.

Tobias Schmidt shared his ultimate guide to monitoring serverless apps as a Twitter thread (but there’s a link to the blog post at the end).

Wojciech Matuszewski goes a bit deep on showing you how to get the most of AWS Lambda free compute using wrapper scripts. There are some clever uses for this.

Lavanya R answers the question, “What is Lambda throttling and how do you fix it?

Evan Weaver from Fauna outlines a method for reducing complexity by integrating through the database. It’s a different way of thinking, but there’s definitely something there.

Matt Lewis shared some tips to prevent a serverless wreck. This is a must read for anyone building serverless applications!

And finally, Vlad Ionescu shares a flowchart for determining how to run containers on AWS.

Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

Not sure I would advise this, but Mohd Afzal shows you how to create an AWS Elastic Beanstalk deployment using the Serverless Framework. I mean, it’s 2021, so pretty much anything is possible now. 🤷‍♂️

Parth Trambadiya has a simple tutorial showing you how to deploy a serverless portfolio website on AWS and Josiah Grace does a deep dive into how they built deploy previews at Opendoor.

Lee James Gilmore, who seems to have no shortage of amazing serverless content, shares another tutorial, this one focusing on building serverless event-driven systems with EventBridge.

The Developer’s Guide To Notification Systems: Part 2 – Scale & Reliability
Are you building/re-vamping your notification system? You should know the requirements for your fellow developers and non-technical teammates who will be creating the notifications for your end users. Understanding these personas will help you scale more reliably. Sponsored

Serverless Reads 🤓

Ant Stanley re-shared a post from a while back stating that serverless isn’t the evolution of compute, but instead the compute needed to support the evolution of apps. It makes more sense when he says it.

Yan Cui discusses just how easy serverless observability is. Which is only true if you use the right tools.

Matt Asay’s piece on the continuing success of Elastic despite its very public war of licenses with AWS, is a good reminder of what developers really care about.

Pablo Bermejo wrote a great post asking whether DevOps is a legacy practice given the evolution of serverless development practices. I sort of agree with the sentiment.

And speaking of great posts, Charles Chen has an excellent one about accidental complexity and embracing YAGNI. If you only read one thing this week, this should probably be it.

Podcasts, Videos, and more 🎧

On Serverless Chats Episode #119: Scaling your Startup, Rebecca and I chatted with Brian Scanlan about the technical strategies you should avoid (and embrace) when scaling your startup, why you probably shouldn’t go multi-region, how fixing your on-call processes can improve company culture and reduce developer burnout, and so much more.

Marcia Villalba latest video talks about managing the health and lifecycle of your serverless apps by following Pillar #1 of the Well-Architected Framework, Operational Excellence.

And all of the videos from Map Camp 2021 are now available, as well as all of the ServerlessDays Paris 2021 videos including this one covering advanced serverless messaging patterns by Julian Wood.

New from AWS 🆕

re:Invent is just around the corner, so lots of pre:Invent announcements are starting to roll out. Here are few interesting ones that caught my eye:

Serverless Tools 🛠

Utilities for Serverless Data lets you define your models and their indexes (access paths) programmatically, and then access and modify your data in a consistent and type-safe manner. It’s pretty cool to see the community start to build tools for working with Serverless Cloud!

Thoughts from Twitter 🐦

Why is there more demand for beginner content? Are a lot of people not getting behind the beginner stage? Is it just more broadly applicable? Do experts not consume as much content as beginners? Or do I just have a false impression?~ Jannik Wempe
This is a great question! As someone who pours over technical content, I do see a much higher percentage of beginner content, but I also think that might be correlated to the novelty of the tech being written about.

AWS made a breaking change to the Event Bridge-Step Functions integration, which prevents the end of a state machine execution from triggering a new execution. As far as I know, this was not communicated to customers.~ Ben Kehoe
I don’t know if I’m more impressed by the fact that Ben was able to catch this edge case, or that AWS actually went and fixed it.

Upcoming Serverless Events 🗓

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

November 17 & 18, 2021 – Serverless Summit 21

November 17, 2021 – A Practical Guide to PHP Serverless Applications

November 18th, 2021 – Prisma Serverless Conference – Database Access in The Serverless Era

November 19th, 2021 – AWS She Builds Summit

November 23, 2021 – The enterprise playbook for operating confidently on serverless (webinar)

November 29, 2021 – Help Make BugBusting History at AWS re:Invent 2021

November 29 – December 3, 2021 – AWS re:Invent

November 30, 2021 – Lars Jacobsson – Open Source Demos

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 Treasa Anderson (@TreasaAnderson). Treasa is a Digital Marketing Specialist at the Serverless Edge, a blog for engineers, architects, tech leaders, students and business leaders who are interested in adopting serverless. In her role at The Serverless Edge, Treasa creates all types of content on the future of work, software, and technology as part of the blog’s mission to equip businesses to build applications that are transformative for their customers now and into the future. Thank you, Treasa, for helping make serverless more accessible to all!

Final Thoughts 🤔

Serverless edge functions connecting to massively scalable relational databases with updated state-of-the-art deployment frameworks! What a time to be alive!

See you next week,

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 #163November 9, 2021

Next Issue

Issue #165November 23, 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 ⭐️!