Serverless Picks of the Week
Issue #103: We have faster CloudFormation!

Serverless Superhero

Our serverless superhero this week is Luke Hedger, lead engineer at The LEGO Group, AWS Community Builder, and recent author of the Serverless Development on AWS book! Luke is an active member of the serverless community, providing insights into his experience on social media and through his blog. Thank you, Luke, for everything and congratulations on the book!


In many workflows, human interaction is necessary. Sometimes you need it for a judgment call, other times you need it for some business-specific expertise that you can’t automate with AI. Sandro Volpicella wrote a blog post about how you can incorporate a pause in your workflows by using the Step Functions callback pattern. His blog post contains fantastic visuals to help explain the concept as he walks through a real-world scenario.

Back in February, AppSync resolvers got the ability to use environment variables. Unfortunately, the docs weren’t super clear on how to instrument your code with them. So Coner Murphy took it upon himself to create a blog post and show you exactly how to do it. Coner shows us how to add the env variables via the CDK so you can get started on your own.

Tracing async processes is tough. Usually when your workflows hit something like a queue, your traces become exponentially harder to track. But not for Marcin Sodkiewicz. He published an article last week on how to propagate OTEL traces through SQS. He talks a bit about how to structure data for async processes, but mainly goes into passing the data around and how to include the hops in your traces. It’s a super cool article and extremely thorough!

Interesting Reads

There are many communication mechanisms when it comes to event-driven architectures. But how do you know which one to choose for your app? James Eastham published a video on the differences between streams, event buses, and queues last week, shedding light on the topic for us. This is a fantastic video that gets meaningfully into the details and clears a lot of things up.

POST/CON is Postman’s biggest API conference ever from April 30 - May 1 in San Francisco, California! And right now, the Postman team is offering 30% off tickets until March 26. This event is for anyone who works with APIs or whose business relies on APIs. If you attend, you’ll earn a certificate and Postman Badge!

Over two days, you’ll hear from industry leaders, attend hands-on workshops, listen to in-depth presentations, and participate in exclusive conversations. If you work with APIs or your business relies on APIs, POST/CON24 is the place for you. Register today!


I had Johannes Koch on the Ready, Set, Cloud podcast last week to talk about CI/CD. For those of you who don’t know, Johannes is one of the most passionate industry leaders on CI/CD. We talk about what it is and isn’t, how to get started with it, and why it’s not as risky as you might think.

I’ve always liked AWS Amplify, it’s what I use to host Ready, Set, Cloud. Last week I saw a post from Stephen Siegert about how to set up an Amplify build with Postgres database branching. This is an in-depth article that walks you through all the gotchas - which are surprisingly a lot! This is a cool article that has tons of value to get you live as fast as possible.


David Behroozi has been doing fascinating work lately. Last week he published an article telling us that Lambda environment variables impact cold starts. He shows the results of some tests he ran that demonstrate at least a 20ms impact on cold starts when you have environment variables. There’s a lot of good information in the article and I feel like David is beginning an adventure we’ll see a lot of in the upcoming months.

Tip of the Week

Luc van Donkersgoed has been documenting his journey with AWS News really well on Twitter and LinkedIn. Last week he shared that he rehosted the site from Amplify to Vercel and had astonishing results.

New Releases

CloudFormation recently got 40% faster when creating new stacks! Through a new feature called optimistic stabilization, your deployments will show their status more granularly and quickly.

Claude 3 Haiku is now available for use in Amazon Bedrock. This is the “lower level” of Claude 3, but still an extremely capable LLM.

Last Words

I’m in San Francisco, California this week for the Game Developers Conference (GDC). If you’re in town and want to meet up, let me know!

If you’d like to make a recommendation for the serverless superhero or for an article you found especially useful, send me a message on Twitter, LinkedIn, or email.

Happy Coding!


This Week's Sponsor

This issue is brought to you by Postman, Postman is an API platform for building and using APIs that simplifies each step of the API lifecycle and streamlines collaboration so you can create better APIs—faster..

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