I hate servers

Have you heard of serverless architecture? Have you experimented with it? I have and I’m a big fan.

Serverless architecture lets you concentrate on code and not have to worry about anything else. Your logic just runs in this ephemeral, stateless container that comes and goes on demand. All the big cloud companies now support this; Amazon has AWS Lambda, Azure has Azure Functions, and Google has Google Cloud Functions.

Author’s Note: This post is an excerpt from my weekly Dev Mastery newsletter. It was originally sent to Dev Mastery subscribers on December 1, 2016.

One of the most thorough and balanced articles on the subject comes from Mike Roberts on Martin Fowler’s blog. Link below…

Personally, I’ve experimented with a setup that includes Amazon S3 as a static host for the front end, and then AWS Lambda combined with API Gateway to handle the back end. When the budget is tight and you’re not dealing with critical security and privacy concerns, I’ve found this to be an excellent option.

I was an early adopter so I had to figure things out for myself using the documentation provided by AWS. Since then, the AWS blog has posted an article that describes how to do something very similar to what I set up for my client. It’s a good practical walk-through.

There’s also a product called Serverless that I have played with and seems to be maturing nicely. It abstracts away some of the configuration and setup steps when working with the AWS stack. I didn’t end up using it on client work because it was still in very early beta. But if you just want to quickly try out serverless architecture, it’s worth playing with. It’s free and pretty easy to use.

I haven’t tried Microsoft or Google’s offering yet, so I can’t speak to them. If you’ve had experience or know of good resources, let me know.

The last thing I’ll leave you with is a fun little distraction from the New York Times website that has nothing to do with serverless architecture. It’s a neat little game where you try to beat Usain Bolt’s reaction time (I like it best on mobile). If you’re new to web development and are looking for an interesting little learning project, try building a clone of this game. It will teach you about timers and the Audio API. It’s also a great time waster. My best score was 0.126.

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