Off-by-none: Issue #171

January 11, 2022

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I see your true colors (and faker) shining through 🎨

Welcome to Issue #171 of Off-by-none. This issue is sponsored by our friends at Upstash.

Last week, we shared an Ode to the Cloud, looked at the trade-offs of going Lambda-less, and learned some advanced serverless best practices. This week, rogue open-source breaks the AWS-CDK, Typescript Lambdas get some powertools, and “dynamic crons” become all the rage. Plus we have lots of amazing content from the serverless community.

Serverless Data for Redis and Kafka
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Serverless News & Announcements 📣

I’m sure you’ve all heard, but this past week, a dev intentionally corrupted his own ‘colors’ and ‘faker’ NPM apps, which broke the AWS-CDK. So, that wasn’t good.

But beyond that, there were some super interesting AWS announcements, including the fact that AWS Lambda now supports ES Modules and Top-Level Await for Node.js 14. Dan Fox explains in more detail and explains why most of the performance gains come with Provisioned Concurrency.

AWS also announced the introduction of Lambda Powertools for TypeScript. It’s still in BETA, but you can visit the GitHub repo or read Matt Morgan’s first look or take a test drive with Matt Lewis.

The AWS Serverless Application Model (SAM) CLI now supports local testing of the AWS Cloud Development Kit (CDK). I’m curious to see how this will fit in with SAM Accelerate.

Brice Pellé explains the new configurable batching size feature for AWS AppSync Lambda resolvers. Pretty cool optimization here.

Michael Bahr announced the Point In Time Scheduler Public Preview for creating “dynamic crons.” This is becoming a popular feature request (we have an implementation in Serverless Cloud that’s almost ready to launch). Adrin Mukherjee also wrote an article for scheduling API request processing in AWS that approaches the solution in a different way.

Miniflare 2.0, a fully-local development and testing tool for Cloudflare Workers is now available.

And finally, James Beswick wraps up AWS serverless announcements from last quarter in his ICYMI: Serverless Q4 2021 post.

Serverless Concepts 🏗

There’s an article that discusses the gradual migration and refactoring of applications to serverless leveraging Amazon API Gateway (i.e. the strangler fig pattern).

Chris Armstrong explains how to package your NodeJS Lambda functions individually with esbuild for faster cold-start times.

Bruno Koga gives an introduction to some concepts related to building microservices with serverless.

Sandro Volpicella gives an overview of Lambda Provisioned Concurrency plus other ways to improve AWS Lambda cold start times.

Wondering how to do serverless in AWS? Asad Ullah has a post that’ll help you grok the main concepts.

Sheen Brisals published Part 2 of his Capturing Solution Design Details In Serverless Developments series.

And Pawel Zubkiewicz explains the benefits and cost savings of refactoring AWS Step Functions to native integrations with the AWS API.

Serverless Tutorials 👷‍♀️

Emin Buğra Saral teaches you how to do preview deployments with Serverless Framework on GitLab.

Jerry Ng built his own TinyURL, and shows you how he did it.

Nwachukwu Chibuike explains how to manage environment variables in Serverless using the AWS SSM Parameter Store.

Sierra Mitchell, Olivier Sutter, and Davide Gallitelli have an excellent tutorial that shows you how to blur faces in videos automatically with Amazon Rekognition Video.

Andy Blackledge shares how to enable Lambda event filtering with the CDK.

Max Rohde explains the nuances of TypeScript types for AWS Lambda.

And Filip Wojciechowski explains how to structure a Python AWS Serverless project. I love posts like this. Super helpful for people getting started.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for updates on my new DynamoDB Modeling Course! I’ll be sharing some updates about it soon.

Serverless Reads 🤓

Cameron McHenry shares how serverless saved money on his heating bill and Lars Jacobsson explains the serverless architecture of a talking doorbell. These are super cool, but I think I saved myself a lot of time by buying an ecobee thermostat and a Ring doorbell. 🤷‍♂️

Simon MacDonald argues that fat functions are an anti-pattern. The reasoning is certainly sound, and in many cases I agree. But, to me, there’s a big difference between a “Lambdalith” and the appropriate use of the occasional “Fat function” that combines some related logic.

Michael Walmsley shares the first part in his new series on Serverless Testing, starting with “What I forgot at the beginning”.

Michael Blanton describes his experience building a modern HRTech platform that is 100% serverless.

Kristi Perreault shared an excellent article on how to support women in tech.

Renato Losio recaps why an incorrect IAM Policy raised questions about AWS access to S3 data.

And finally, Ben Ellerby has a great piece on Service Ports: Finding a Loosely Coupled Utopia with Event-Driven Serverless.

Podcasts, Videos, and more 🎧

Marcia Villalba shows how your Kinesis streams can now be totally serverless (well, almost).

The Serverless Craic team discuss the Stride Threat Model and other security tools.

I finally got a chance to watch Emily Freeman and Ken Exner’s “Abstractions: Creating the best developer experience” talk from re:Invent 2021. Sure, maybe some of the jokes didn’t land the way they hoped, but I literally LOL’d multiple times. Either way, it was a great talk filled with lots of useful information, so I’d definitely recommend it.

And Sam Williams lays out five steps to become a Serverless Developer in 2022.

New from AWS 🆕

Looks like the teams at AWS are through the holidays and starting to crank out features again:

Serverless Tools 🛠

Here is an open source Serverless boilerplate template using TypeScript and Express.

sls-test-tools was upgraded with integration testing tools for DynamoDB.

Thoughts from Twitter 🐦

Let’s be clear here: the accountability for this disrupting your CI/CD process lies with you, not with AWS—and that is exactly the problem with the client-side tooling model. ~ Ben Kehoe
Interesting point by Ben, though I’d be curious as to what a server-side tooling model would look like and how it could mitigate this type of issue.

Upcoming Serverless Events 🗓

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

January 26, 2022 – AWS Startup Showcase Season 2 Episode 1 | Open Cloud Innovations

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 Mohamed Labouardy (@mlabouardy). Mohamed is the CTO and co-founder of Crew, an all-in-one recruiting platform. Before his current role, Mohamed was Head of DevOps at Foxintellligence and Founder of He is also a DevSecOps Evangelist with a deep experience building distributed applications and author of several books around Serverless, Golang and DevOps practices. Thank you, Mohamed, for sharing your knowledge with the community!

Final Thoughts 🤔

Week 2 of 2022 and I’m already exhausted. There’s so much going on, and a ton in the works (lots of convos with AWS PMs lately). This is going to be a big year for serverless, so hold onto your hats. 🚀


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.

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Issue #170January 4, 2022

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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 ⭐️!