Serverless Picks of the Week
Issue #90: GenAI Santa Chatbots?!

Serverless Superhero

Our serverless superhero this week is Ryan Cormack, principal engineer at Motorway and AWS Community Builder. Ryan is an active member of the community, publishing blogs on .NET serverless and engaging with his fellow community builders when they have issues. Thank you for everything, Ryan!


I’ve been itching to try out the new direct HTTP API integration with Step Functions. Pubudu Jayawardana has beaten me to it and even published a blog post on how to call external APIs that validate with OAuth. He covers how to set it up in a state machine and also what error you need to catch to automatically refresh your auth token. Super useful stuff!

Hexagonal architectures are difficult for a lot of people to understand. But Lee Gilmore always does such a great job breaking it down and explaining why they are useful and how to use them. His last article, lightweight clean code - containers to lambda functions and back again does a great job explaining how they can be used to effectively swap from Lambda to AppRunner with minimal effort. It’s a great idea and extremely pragmatic as your app grows.

Interesting Reads

What would you do if someone told you to run a session on “AWS Best Practices”? Probably have a mini panic attack because that’s a HUGE topic. Well, that’s exactly what Matthew Wilson did last week (the session, not the panic attack) in both video and blog form. He distills down the most important things to know and explains them meaningfully with pictures, quotes, and amazing references. Great job!

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Daniele Frasca continued his series on serverless latency with his findings on whether or not scaling is achievable with Momento as a read-aside cache. Working for Momento myself, it’s always so fascinating to see the results of tests from people outside of the company. The tests, results, and story he weaves are really cool to see. If you only read one article this week, make it this one!

I published my annual blog post on what I did for Christmas this year to torment my brother. Every year I build a fun software project that creatively and frustratingly tells my brother when he can open his presents and in what order. This year, I made a Santa chatbot with OpenAI to blast him with personal questions and ask him to explain a bunch of times he’s been exceptionally nice this year. This was by far my favorite project of 2023.


I make it no secret that Step Functions is my favorite AWS service. When I see Arpad Toth creating content on how he refactored a serverless app to use HTTP integrations in Step Functions, I immediately know I’m in for a great lesson. Arpad walks us through the process of how he greatly simplified his weather app to remove all code and rely solely on a Step Function state machine. This is extremely cool and a lesson I’m going to start applying to all of my projects.

Tip of the Week

If you don’t follow Ben Pyle, please do. Every time I talk with him, he drops some serious wisdom that makes me rethink everything. He wrote a blog post last week about his thoughts on leadership in tech that has some incredible insights. Give it a read and follow him everywhere you can.

New Releases

Before I get into the releases, I want to give a shoutout to Luc van Donkersgoed for his outstanding work on a free AWS news site. I highly recommend checking it out for the latest announcements and releases.

Amazon CloudWatch Logs now allows you to stream live tail logs via API. You can now easily build an integration to get at your logs as they roll in.

There’s new CloudFormation template generation for EventBridge pipes. Remove some of your boilerplate with templates to move you along quicker.

Python 3.12 is now an officially supported Lambda runtime.

Last Words

The holidays are in full swing as we start building our goals for next year. Before you do, take a good look at 2023 and reflect on what you’ve learned, built, and discovered. It was a great year for many of us and we should share what we’re proud of.

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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