Bite-Sized Serverless

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Welcome to Bite-Sized Serverless

General - Foundational (100)
Bite-Sized Serverless is a collection of educational articles focused on the world of AWS Serverless. The goal of each article is to provide concise, easy-to-consume information about one specific topic, such as DynamoDB Streams or S3 Object Lambda Functions.
Bite-Sized Serverless is run by me, Luc van Donkersgoed, an AWS Hero and 12-times certified AWS engineer/architect with a passion for sharing knowledge. I have read and watched many online articles and videos, including the official AWS documentation, AWS product pages, AWS re:Invent and AWS Summit videos, and online learning platforms. Through all this I felt three things were missing:
  1. Content that covered real-world usage and benefits of AWS services
  2. A content model focused around topics instead of certifications
  3. A pay-once model instead of subscriptions for online courses
I designed Bite-Sized Serverless to address these issues. My articles cover the gap between marketing and technical documentation: I will give you the technical insight you need to apply a service or technology, without trying to sell it to you. I will give you the technical details of common use cases, instead of documenting every single option and API call. And I will do all of this from the perspective of an architect and a builder.
The goal of Bite-Sized Serverless is not to help you pass an exam. It is focused on real-life usage, helping you choose and apply the right services for your tech challenges. If you're working with DynamoDB you can get insights on DynamoDB. If you're working with Lambda, choose the Lambda topics. At Bite-Sized Serverless you won't pay for more than you need.
And speaking of payment: at Bite-Sized Serverless you won't find any subscriptions. If you want access to a specific article, you pay for it once and it will be yours to access forever.
Every article on Bite-Sized Serverless contains the article itself and a CDK project with an example implementation. This combination of resources is called a Bite. Many Bites are available for free, others are available for a one-time fee of €1.00 or €2.00.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are you?

I'm Luc van Donkersgoed, born in 1985, living in The Netherlands with my girlfriend, two kids and two cats. I've got a bachelor's degree in technical computer sciences. During my studies I founded a company focused on mobile app development for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. We had notable success with apps for live sports tracking (Olympic Summer Games, Winter Games, Cycling and Field Hockey). These apps hosted hundreds of thousands of simultaneous users and needed a powerful backend, which is how I got into hosting. After the company got acquired I stayed for a few more years, then left for Sentia, a public cloud managed services company. At Sentia I learned much of what I now know about AWS. It is also where I got into blogging and public speaking. Currently I'm a lead engineer and solutions architect at PostNL, the Dutch national postal service.

Why did you start Bite-Sized Serverless?

I felt there is a gap in online courses and documentation for people who want to learn the details of one specific topic. This can be Cognito Identity Pools, CloudWatch Metric Filters, Lambda Layers, or any other narrowly-focused subject. The AWS product pages are too sales-y, the AWS documentation is all-encompassing and hard to parse. Online learning platforms focus on certifications, which means they cover a broad array of topics without ever diving deep. Plus, most online courses only offer subscription models, which might not be what you're looking for if you only want to learn about a single topic or service.

What differentiates Bite-Sized Serverless from other online AWS courses?

Bite-Sized Serverless is centered around topics and services, not certifications. It is aimed at professionals who actually use (or intend to use) these services in their daily work, instead of people looking to achieve a certification. Finally, Bite-Sized Serverless has a pay-once-access-forever model, instead of a subscription model.

What is a Bite?

A Bite is an article and CDK project covering a single, narrowly-focused topic. It is meant to be easy to consume and quick to digest.

Why does a Bite include a CDK project?

I believe the best way to get familiar with a topic is to get hands-on: by building and experimenting, and by dissecting existing implementations. With the CDK projects I hope to provide an easy way to reproduce the Bite's topic. It should also give you a solid foundation to continue experimenting on, without needing to go through the entire scaffolding process yourself.
I have considered using plain CloudFormation instead of CDK, but manual CloudFormation is more work to write and maintain. Native CloudFormation also doesn't have a straightforward way to handle larger Lambda functions, while this is available out-of-the-box with CDK. Lastly, CDK offers an easy way to annotate projects and code.

Why is the CDK project written in Python?

Mainly because Python is the language I'm most familiar with. This makes me feel comfortable explaining complex topics without worrying if I'm using the language right. Additionally, I believe Python is easy to read and digest, even for people less familiar with the language.

What do the levels (100, 200, 300, 400) mean?

These are the same levels applied by AWS to their talks and sessions:
  • Level 100, Foundational: Sessions are focused on providing an overview of AWS services and features, with the assumption that attendees are new to the topic.
  • Level 200, Intermediate: Sessions are focused on providing best practices, details of service features and demos with the assumption that attendees have foundational knowledge of the topics.
  • Level 300, Advanced: Sessions dive deeper into the selected topic. Presenters assume that the audience has some familiarity with the topic, but may or may not have direct experience implementing a similar solution.
  • Level 400, Expert: Sessions are for attendees who are deeply familiar with the topic, have implemented a solution on their own already, and are comfortable with how the technology works across multiple services, architectures, and implementations.

Will the prices of Bites change?

They might. Bite-Sized Serverless is still very young so I do not know if the current price points at €1.00 and €2.00 are sustainable. Regardless, rest assured that the goal is to maintain very accessible pricing. Prices for Bites might fall, or they might rise, but they will never be increased to more than a few euros. And since it's a pay-once-access-forever model, purchased content will always remain accessible without additional costs.

How often are new Bites released?

The content of Bite-Sized Serverless is written, recorded and edited by me, in evenings and weekends. I try to release a new Bite every few weeks, but can't guarantee I will always succeed.