Emily Shea


My blog on learning AWS cloud technology & building serverless apps 🌻

My re:Invent 2020 session on getting started with serverless

Media Feb 15 2021

It was such a privilege to be able to give a re:Invent talk this past year, especially one that is so important to me! This talk was a long time in the making. It packs in the past 2 years that I've spent building serverless apps in my free time with just a few months of programming experience prior.

The talk walks step-by-step through the architectural evolution of Haohaotiantian, the app that I started as a single Lambda function and grew into a website with over 100 active subscribers, daily emails, and on-demand vocab quizzes. I talk through the decision points as I was building the application, and explain the importance of setting up a deployment pipeline so that you can quickly and easily deploy new versions of your app, even for small projects.

It was amazing to hear from so many people in the session comments or on Twitter and LinkedIn that the talk was helpful to them! One follow up question that I got was how much does Haohaotiantian cost to run. I tweeted a full cost breakdown (below) - it's $1.41 per year to run the app itself, plus about $6.62/year for domain name hosting (plus tax). For several of the services I'm using, including Lambda, I'm still within the free tier.

The best thing to hear from people who watched the talk, especially those without a technical background like myself, was it inspired them to build something with serverless. That's one of my favorite things about serverless - it's used by enterprise companies to build applications at massive scale, but it's also so approachable for people learning to code or building their first web app. You can start to make really cool, useful applications with basic Python knowledge and a few Lambda functions, and go anywhere from there!

If you're looking for resources to get started yourself, I've written a few posts on this blog (this one is a great place to start). You can also find tutorials for all the services mentioned in my talk linked on the Serverless Land resources page. You can always find me on Twitter if you have any questions or want to chat about getting started in technology or with serverless.



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