Serverless Picks of the Week
Issue #53: Generating Architecture Diagrams?!

Serverless Superhero

Our serverless superhero this week is Marcin Sodkiewicz, principal software engineer at Ryanair and AWS Community Builder. Marcin writes in-depth technical content describing some of the harder-to-grasp concepts like partial failures in batch processing and CORS configuration on his blog. He’s even helped me out a few times with some issues I’ve had troubleshooting some serverless problems. Thank you Marcin, for all you contribute to the community!


I’m a big fan of diagrams, I feel like they help illustrate concepts and architectures better than any other medium. Gernot Glawe came up with an awesome way to generate simple diagrams from CDK stacks, which is possibly one of the best implementations I’ve seen for this. He talks about some of the other options out there, like cfn-dia and the CloudFormation drawing tool, but goes to explain that they don’t make meaningful diagrams - and he’s right. They are complete and exhaustive, but don’t help convey an idea. I will definitely be trying this one myself.

Benjamen Pyle is back, and this time talking about CORS whitelisting with API Gateway. CORS can be tricky and incredibly frustrating to work with, especially when doing initial development of an application. But Benjamen does a great job explaining how to set everything up using the CDK and maintain your allowed origins from a single location.

Interesting Reads

Hopefully you aren’t storing your secrets in environment variables in your Lambda functions. While it’s easy to shove an API key directly in an environment variable, it’s not secure. Many of us use Secrets Manager to store secrets. But Yan Cui published an article last week talking about why he uses SSM Parameter Store instead. He makes some great points in the article and goes to describe when is the best time to use one over the other.

The serverless community is passionate, to say the least. Because of this passion, serverless has begun to take on an air of “I can only use serverless services in a completely serverless app”. This is far from the truth! You can use a serverless service anywhere. On-prem, K8s, you name it, you can use it. I (Allen Helton) wrote an article on some of the myths out there with serverless and point out some key things to consider when beginning your journey to implementing serverless services in your stateful applications for the first time. Serverless is for everyone!

New Releases

Momento released a new product offering last week - Topics! This new product is a serverless event messaging system that feels like a cool combination of WebSockets and SNS. We’re on the ground floor with this release and there are some revolutionary enhancements coming that will make event-driven architectures simpler than ever.

There’s a new stomping ground for SaaS startups to collaborate together. Filip Pýrek created the Awengers Discord community for small startups to work together to bounce ideas, get feedback, and work together.

AWS released an extended SNS client library for Python that allows consumers to send message payloads up to 2GB. The library transfers large payloads to S3 and passes the reference over in the message automatically. Great productivity update.


I’ve mentioned the Lambda cold start page by Maxime David a couple times. It’s a great page that benchmarks the cold start times of all the available Lambda runtimes every day and displays them on a webpage. Davo Galavotti took that to the next level. He ran some analytics using ChatGPT 4 to make sense of the data and visualize it a little easier for consumption. There are some cool summaries and lessons to be learned from the breakdown of the cold start times.

Tip of the Week

Lars Jacobsson never stops impressing me with his creativity. Last week he updated the sam-patterns-cli with ChatGPT support. Give it a prompt for what to build and it will create the SAM template and permissions for you. WOW!

Last Words

Do you live in or around London? I’ll be in town in a couple weeks giving talks at Serverless London on the 20th, the Serverless Architectures conference on the 25th, and the London Node User Group on the 27th. I look forward to meeting up with many of you!

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!


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