Intrinsic Motivation as a Guide

I find I am most successful when I am intrinsically motivated to complete a task or project. While external motivations certainly play a part, internal factors will always win out. Recently, I’ve been thinking about how to structure my business to include more projects that satisfy that intrinsic itch.

Serverless Low-Code Nirvana

Low-code and no-code solutions seem particularly poised to take advantage of serverless. Their structure matches what serverless excels at, especially functions as a service. The more business logic I have to do, the more I appreciate tools that don’t force me to write code.

Day Two Cloud 092: Rethinking Serverless

In episode 92 of Day Two Cloud, Ethan and I got a chance to chat with Julian Wood from AWS. We focused on serverless technology in general and Lambda in particular. While I’ve used Lambda in the AWS console for some simple demos, I’ve never moved beyond that. But Julian got me thinking about all the cool things I could be doing with it. There is one thing that holds me back though, and that is a complete lack of understanding when it comes to Javascript.

When I first tried working with Lambda, the preferred language was Javascript, and I was immediately lost. I guess for some people the nested and loopy nature of Javascript makes sense. It does not come naturally to me. The nested functions with multiple parentheses and curly braces, combined with seemingly random semi-colons and inscrutable alternative syntax give me agita. It’s like everything I dislike about JSON turned up to 11, and yes I realize that JSON is Javascript Object Notation.

The one programming language I know with any degree of certainty is PowerShell, followed by bash. Beyond that, I am quickly out of my depth. I keep meaning to dig into Python, but I don’t have a solid goal to work towards. Without a goal pushing me, I’ll never get past the getting started chapter of Python or any other language for that matter.

Back to the episode, the one thing that I walked away with is the sheer flexibility of the platform. While Julian did highlight the constraints like a 15 minute runtime and 10GB memory limit, neither of those things seem like limits given the scope of a single function. If you need more power, spin up more instances and parallelize your process. Or break your process into smaller pieces that sit below the threshold. Julian even made the point that a traditional PHP website could be serviced with Lambda by having different Lambda functions handle each routing call type. While I may not be a developer, it strikes me as odd that there hasn’t been more uptake on serverless. I know that some sites, like A Cloud Guru, famously run entirely serverless.

There is an aspect of cost, and we addressed that a bit in the episode. But my larger understanding is if you have steady state workloads with a predictable load curve, then Lambda might not be a great fit over EC2 or EKS pricing. But it could be supplementary for portions of your application that are spiky and unpredictable.

All in all, I thought is was a great episode and Julian’s energy was infectious. I came into the recording feeling a bit bogged down, and by the end I was ready to take on the world! Many thanks to Julian for being a guest, and thanks to you dear reader for being an exceptional human being.

Failure to Focus

I really struggle with focusing on a single area of technology or specialization. I want to do ALL THE THINGS. But that’s not a recipe for success, is it? I’ve been making some hard calls on what I want to focus on and I think I’ve got more work to do.