Serverless Picks of the Week
Issue #7: Let’s Build

Serverless Superhero

This week our serverless superhero is Paul Swail. A man who needs no introduction, Paul is a legend in the serverless community. He is an independent serverless consultant and author of the ServerlessFirst blog. There are two types of serverless developers, those who know they’ve read Paul’s content and those that don’t realize it. This past week, he helped us out by consolidating a list of where serverless devs hang out. Thank you Paul, for sharing your expertise with the community and for all your work advancing this tech.


Pubudu Jayawardana created an example application that illustrates beautifully a perfect use case for Lambda function urls. It is a “request time off” app that sends an email to your supervisor and allows approval or rejection by calling the function url. This app uses DynamoDB, DynamoDB streams, Lambda, Step Functions, and SES. It is a great example of how to tie serverless services together in a practical way.

Security should always be on the forefront of our minds. Arpad Toth helps us out in a new series where he sets up Cognito to lock down service to service communication. We will be following along as he adds more posts to the series.

Troubleshooting event-driven architectures can be difficult. Marcia Villalba helps us out with her video on creating an EventBridge event log. She also includes routing failures to a dead letter queue, so none of your events drop out of sight leaving you scratching your head trying to figure out what happened.

New Releases

If you’re a NodeJS developer, great news! Node 16 is now available as a runtime for Lambda. This is available in the AWS CLI, SAM, and CloudFormation for deployment options. A word of caution - there have been rumblings that Node 16 might not be as performant as Node 14, we’ll follow up soon with some initial benchmark results.

Step Functions has released a brand new experience in the AWS console, providing greater workflow observability. One of the bigger complaints I hear when talking about Step Functions are that they are notoriously hard to debug when issues arise. This update should help address some of those concerns. There’s even a video where Dan Ronald walks us through how to use it.

Food For Thought

Ran Isenberg has released part 6 of his Lambda Cookbook series where he talks about using AppConfig for feature flags. He goes into detail about the different types of feature flags and why AppConfig is the best choice. If you wish to use mechanism Ran describes in his post, you can consume it through the Lambda Powertools for python.

If you’ve been starting to explore Step Functions, be sure to check out my post on 3 pitfalls of Step Functions and how to avoid them. Based on your comfort level with Step Functions I offer a beginner, intermediate, and advanced option to work around some of the service quotas.


If you’re subscribed to this newsletter, chances are you try to consume as much serverless content as you possibly can. I do the same thing. Daniele Frasca helps us out this week by compiling a list of resources where you can find high quality content. He goes into people to follow, programs to watch, podcasts to subscribe to, and blogs to read. Thank you Daniele for this great list to help us stay informed!

Last Words

Whether you’re just getting started in serverless or are a long time veteran, there is so much to learn. New features get released regularly and blog posts and tutorials are published every day.

I will be giving a talk at Serverless Boston/NYC about Step Functions, so be sure to register for a fun learning opportunity.

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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