Serverless Picks of the Week
Issue #31: A Serverless Halloween

Serverless Superhero

This week’s serverless superhero is Yan Cui or theburningmonk as many people know him. Yan has been in the serverless game for years and is one of the original advocates for it. He has taught so many of us all about serverless through his blog posts, conference talks, workshops, and book. He even has a new video course coming soon on how to test serverless architectures that you don’t want to miss. Yan has been directly involved in paving the way for the serverless community. Thank you Yan for everything you have done to make serverless what it is today!


I am always intrigued when I see someone who thinks outside the box to solve a nagging little problem. That is exactly what Markus Toivakka did with his post on building a timezone aware Lambda cron schedule. He talks about how EventBridge only uses the UTC +0 time zone for scheduled tasks and it can cause confusion when setting the clocks back. So he came up with a clever solution to address it. No spoilers! Check out the article to see his design.

In our last issue it was announced that AWS released a new Lambda extension to retrieve SSM parameters and Secrets Manager secrets. Arpad Toth gives us the details on exactly how to implement it in his post from last week. In his post he offers a code sample, walks through required fields and their values, and talks about how the extension actually works. Knowledge is power when talking about secrets and security.

Lars Jacobsson walks us through his design on a serverless url shortener without Lambda functions. It’s a clever approach using Step Functions and the recently released intrinsic functions to generate and store a unique url. It’s a great little project with tremendous value that will cost almost nothing to run. Very creative!

Interesting Reads

AWS recently released SAM serverless connectors, which is a resource you can add in a SAM template to grant permissions between resources. While this might sound like a great feature, Jeremy Daly talks a bit about why it might not be as good as you think. He talks about what makes abstractions good or bad and how the SAM team might have missed the mark a bit on this one. If you’re considering using SAM connectors, give Jeremy’s post a once over before diving in.

Speaking of SAM, developers often think there is a black and white choice when it comes to SAM or CDK. But Lee Gilmore shows us how we can use both of them together. He talks a bit about the slow speed of CloudFormation and how we can use the CDK to bypass it completely. He also shares the benefits of using SAM to tail logs and watch your updates give you feedback in record time. As usual, Lee gives us a full code example to pick at and use as a reference.

Listen to the Open Source Startup Podcast by Twitter Principal Engineer, Yao Yue, and Momento cofounder Daniela Miao, about how Twitter’s open source caching framework empowers Momento Serverless Cache. They discuss what it’s been like for Momento to launch on top of an open source project owned by the Twitter team, and the importance of a vibrant developer community! Sponsored

New Releases

Serverless apps by nature need to be robust error-handling machines. Last week AWS released an update to the Fault Injection Simulator to support network connectivity disruption. This will disable network connectivity to specific services, enabling you to run disaster scenarios in your application. While not a serverless announcement, this one does enable us to build higher quality serverless software.

AWS released Amazon Neptune Serverless last week in a few regions, offering “pay for what you use” pricing. I have a few reservations on calling this one truly serverless, but it is absolutely a step in the right direction!


Last week Matt Martz gave us a real gift. He showed us how to use the CDK to deploy EventCatalog. EventCatalog is an open source project that documents your events, services, and domains. It is an invaluable tool for those of us building event driven architectures (which I assume is most of you reading this). His post is a 3 part series that goes through every detail of getting it deployed and fed with data from your application. Thank you Matt for this incredible work!

Tip of the Week

Andres Moreno poses a thought-provoking question on one of the often forgotten limitations of Step Functions. Step Functions is a fantastic service, but you can find yourself in a bind if you don’t manage the size of the data context you’re passing from state to state.

Last Words

AWS re:invent is coming up, are you going? If so, drop me a line if you want to meet up!

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 Momento, a completely serverless cache system. Follow Momento on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay up to date.

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