Off-by-none: Issue #58

October 8, 2019

Live from Serverlessconf NYC... πŸ—½

Welcome to Issue #58 of Off-by-none. Thanks for joining us! πŸ™Œ

Last week, we made you fall in love with Step Functions and shared lots of exciting serverless news. This week, we’re live from Serverlessconf NYC, talking with some of the pioneers in serverless. Plus, we’ve got plenty of amazing content from the serverless community.

Lots to get to, so let’s jump right in! πŸ‘

Serverless News & Product Announcements πŸš€

Easily Deploy GraphQL APIs with Serverless Components
Serverless Framework Components are on a roll. The new AppSync component is fast to deploy, loaded with a bunch of sane defaults, and supports all the features you need to launch a serverless GraphQL service.

Google will not donate Knative framework ‘to any foundation for the foreseeable future’
I looks like Knative will remain in Google’s hands for the time being. I think this makes sense, as I’m sure Google has a lot of plans for serverless and wants to control (or heavily influence) the trajectory of this project.

The next chapter – faastRuby
It looks like there are some changes happening to faastRuby. It’s being moved to Shopify, which I’m not really sure what that means. But it sounds like you need to move your workloads of their servers.

TriggerMesh announces EveryBridge Serverless Event Bus
TriggerMesh EveryBridge is a cross-cloud event bus that enables event-driven cloud-native applications across multiple cloud providers and on-prem infrastructures. Serverless Inc. did something similar to this two years ago, so it’ll be interesting to see if customers find this useful.

Simplified Serverless Insights on Amazon CloudWatch
Thundra has added some improvements to their product. You can now view all your functions without instrumentation, plus, gather insights from CloudWatch Logs instead of directly from the instrumentation.

Serverless Stories πŸ“–

Lambda@Edge and S3 Landing Page Caching for Performance and Scale
Regis Wilson from TrueCar recounts how they used Lambda@Edge to minimize page load times and increase frontend performance.

Serverless Use Cases πŸ—Ί

Build a SAM Application to Send AWS CloudWatch Notifications to a Slack Channel
Here’s a straightforward use case for notifying your team via Slack when a CloudWatch alarm goes off. Hongbo Liu shows you how to connect an alarm to an SNS topic and then push that to Slack with a Lambda function.

Counting Up to 1 Billion YouTube Views on β€œSweet Child O’ Mine” for Guns N’ Roses
Could there possibly be a better use case for serverless than to track views for the Sweet Child ‘O Mine video? Not only does Slash lay down the most iconic guitar solo of all time, but I can’t believe it’s approaching a BILLION views on YouTube! 🀘🏻🎸

Serverless Geospatial
This a great read from Tomas Holderness that shows you how addresscloud is using serverless to power their business. They’re even starting to test Aurora Serverless to replace their PostgreSQL cluster.

When you want to brush up on some serverless concepts… πŸ—

Using The Serverless Framework To Easily Deploy To Multiple Environments
Looking to modularize your serverless deployments? This post outlines some strategies that will let you deploy your serverless application with CI/CD to multiple environments using variables and environment specific config files.

AWS API Gateway and multiple CORS Origins
CORS tends to trip a lot of people up. Drasko Profirovic gives you some of the basics and shows you how to create headers based on some simple pattern matching.

Aurora Serverless 1O1
If you’re curious how Aurora Serverless works, this post from Piyush Jalan will give a quick run down.

Anatomy of AWS Lambda
Here is basically everything you need to know about how Lambda works. Details about invocation methods, the concurrency model, permissions and much more.

All you need to know about caching for serverless applications
Yan Cui shows you a number of ways to add caching to your serverless application. Caching can dramatically increase your serverless app’s performance, protect against hitting limits, and maybe even lower your costs.

5 Tips for getting the most out of AWS SAM
Efi Merdler-Kravitz has been building serverless apps for quite some time. Here are his five tips for building apps with AWS SAM.

Unleashed Lambdas-Outside the Handler
Derek Gau explains how to use global variables in Lambda functions to maintain state across invocations. In his example, he reuses MySQL connection pools. This works, but the problem is, he’s creating a new pool for each concurrent connection. So although he benefits from reuse, he still could run into a max_connections issue.

Serverless Tutorials πŸ—

Async Callbacks with AWS Step Functions and Task Tokens
Zac Charles gives you a run down of how to use Task Tokens with AWS Step Functions to run asynchronous worker processes. He calls out a few limitations with this approach as well.

Getting Hands Dirty with AWS CDK
Thinking about getting started with the AWS CDK? This post from Asanka Nissanka shows you a practical use case.

Building A Serverless API with AWS Lambda
Anthony Plescia from shows you how to build and deploy a serverless API using ALB and a Lambda function written in Go.

GraphQL API using Serverless + AWS AppSync + DynamoDB + Lambda resolvers + Cognito. [Part 2]
Part 2 of Facundo Fasciolo’s series on building a serverless GraphQL API. This post shows you how to mount DynamoDB and run it locally.

How to build a Serverless-React contact form integrating email, Slack, MS Teams and creating tickets in Trello.
If you need a simple serverless contact form that integrates with a bunch of other notification services, check out this repo from Christian Castillejo Arcos.

Serverless Security πŸ”’

The API Gateway security flaw you need to pay attention to
Yan Cui points out that ALL your APIs in an entire region share a rate limit that can be exhausted by a DoS attack on a single method. He’s got some suggestions on how to protect yourself from this.

Serverless Reads πŸ€“

AWS billing is broken and Kubernetes won’t last, says irreverent economist Corey Quinn
This was a great interview with Corey Quinn. Not really about serverless, but worth the read. In case you didn’t know, “Larry Ellison is not people!”

The Cloud Is Transforming How We Build Software — Here is How Companies Can Prepare
If you’re having trouble convincing management to embrace serverless, have them read this article. “Cloud-Native And Serverless Are The Future. Embrace It Now.”

Serverless – a paradigm shift in app development
John Demian outlines why serverless makes you think differently, what roll third-party services play, and how it differs from traditional architectures.

Is going serverless worth it? Pros and Cons of Server-Less
I prefer a positive approach, so I try not to criticize people that write articles about serverless. However, I think this article is incredibly misleading. I included it because I believe that the author’s impression of serverless is likely a failure of our ability to properly explain it. This concerns me.

The cloud lock-in myth: opting out of servers, and opting into de facto standards
Brian LeRoux has a great new post that exposes cloud lock-in for what it truly is, a myth. The world is moving to serverless because it gets rid of the boring parts of building apps for the cloud. Brian suggests you get on board, or get left behind.

If you’ve got a long commute… πŸš™

Episode #17: Building Serverless Apps Using Architect with Brian LeRoux
In this episode, I chat with Brian LeRoux about why he and his team built the Architect Framework, how it makes building modern serverless apps easier, and why DynamoDB should be your cloud database of choice.

When you’re wondering what the AWS Devs are working on… πŸ‘·β€β™€οΈ

Improving the Getting Started experience with AWS Lambda
Getting started with serverless can be daunting, but this new feature from AWS hopes to solve that problem. Now you can create an app in the console that utilizes infrastructure as code (IaC), creates a CI/CD pipeline for deployment, and bakes in best practices in serverless application structure and methods.

Amazon Translate now adds support for seven new languages – Greek, Romanian, Hungarian, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Thai, and Urdu
As I said last time, it would be great if they’d added support for English as well! πŸ˜€

Amazon EventBridge now supports AWS CloudFormation
Yes, yes, yes, finally, yes, thank you, why did this take so long, yes, yes, yes!

Amazon Cognito Increases CloudFormation Support
Another useful update to CloudFront.

Amazon Elasticsearch Service provides option to mandate HTTPS
Not serverless, but since this is really the only service that we use in AWS that will give us good, real-time search capabilities, it’s good to see this security improvement.

Amplify CLI simplifies starting from existing Amplify projects and adds new command for extending CLI capabilities
With a single command, the update CLI clones a git repo, deploys the backend, and configures the frontend. This helps speed up the process of set up, development, and testing existing Amplify projects.

Serverless Tools πŸ› 

Introducing the lumigo-cli
We mentioned this tool last week, but some new features have been added and it’s definitely worth taking a look.

Thoughts from Twitter 🐦

27 features and fixes, 11 documentation updates, 16 community contributors in AWS SAM 1.15.0. With added support for APIGW resource policies, SNS <-SQS subscription, Lambda batch window size, and Cognitio event sources #serverless #awssam #nobigdeal ~ Salman Paracha
AWS SAM keeps getting better and better. There are some very cool updates here, including SNS event support for SQS Subscriptions and MaximumBatchingWindowInSeconds support for stream event sources.

I just cut a new major version of img2lambda ~ Clare Liguori
Lots of great updates to the img2lambda tool as well, which lets you repackage container images into AWS Lambda function deployment packages and Lambda layers.

Upcoming Serverless Events πŸ—“

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.

October 7-9, 2019 – Serverlessconf 2019 in New York City

October 10, 2019 – Integration Patterns in a Serverless World Webinar

October 14-16, 2019 – Serverless Architecture Conference Berlin

October 24, 2019 – ServerlessDays Stockholm

October 30, 2019 – Retail at the Scale of Serverless with AWS – Webinar

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 let me know.

This week’s star is Eslam Hefnawy (@eahefnawy). Eslam is a Senior Core Developer on the team at Serverless, Inc. and a regular contributor on the Serverless blog. Eslam is one of the co-creators of the Serverless Framework and continues to create other great open source projects as well. He has been one of the driving forces behind the new Serverless Components, which you should definitely be keeping your eye on. Eslam brings tremendous value to the serverless space and we are thankful to have him. Thanks for all you do, Eslam! πŸ™Œ

Final Thoughts πŸ€”

I’ve been meeting and chatting with lots of great people here at Serverlessconf NYC. The team at A Cloud Guru has done a fantastic job bringing together all these serverless fanatics. I need to get back to the hallway track here, but I’ll leave you with this. Every conference I attend shows that the serverless space is continuing to mature and that more and more people are jumping on the bandwagon. There is a lot of exciting news to come in the next few months, so stay tuned for the next evolution of serverless.

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Off-by-none. Please send me your feedback and suggestions as they help to make this newsletter better each week. You can reach me via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or email and let me know your thoughts, criticisms, or (perhaps) even how you’d like to contribute to Off-by-none.

If you like this newsletter, and think others would too, please do me the honor of sharing it with friends and coworkers who are interested in serverless.

Until next week,

Previous Issue

Issue #57October 1, 2019

Next Issue

Issue #59October 15, 2019

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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 β€œserver-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 ⭐️!