Dissecting SQS FIFO Queues — Does Ordered and Exactly Once Messaging Really Exist?

At first glance, Amazon’s First-In-First-Out (FIFO) message queues provide an excellent feature set for business-critical scenarios. With FIFO, the order in which messages are sent and received is strictly preserved. With exactly-once processing, message duplicates are not introduced into the queue, and consumers control when a message is made available for redelivery. Reading past the marketing hype, how well do FIFO queues work in the real world? This article takes a deep dive into SQS FIFO queues to test the claims of message ordering and exactly-once processing, paying particular care to the conditions under which these claims hold. [Read More]

Learning a Language with Amazon Polly and a Serverless Chalice App

For the past year I’ve been making a concerted effort to learn French using the methods from the book Fluent Forever, which is an excellent resource for learning how to learn a language. For those not familiar with the method, it boils down to this: Learn Pronunciation: knowing how to correctly pronounce words in your target language makes everything else easier. Learn Frequently Used Words: not all words are created equal, learn the most frequently used words first. [Read More]

How to create a functional VPC using CloudFormation

This tutorial walks through how to create a fully functional Virtual Private Cloud in AWS using CloudFormation. At the end of the tutorial, you will have a reproducible way to create a virtual cloud with three subnets, a security group, and an internet gateway with SSH access for your IP address. I’ve found this template useful for creating an isolated environment to develop and test software. Full code for this tutorial is available on Github. [Read More]

SQS or Kinesis? Comparing Apples to Oranges

When designing Workiva’s durable messaging system we took a hard look at using Amazon’s Kinesis as the message storage and delivery mechanism. At first glance, Kinesis has a feature set that looks like it can solve any problem: it can store terabytes of data, it can replay old messages, and it can support multiple message consumers. But if you dig a little deeper you will find that Kinesis is well suited for a very particular use case, and if your application doesn’t fit this use case, Kinesis may be a lot more trouble than it’s worth. [Read More]

Yet Another S3 Static Site

Here it is. My version of the S3 static site. This one is publishable through CloudFormation and uses CodeCommit and CodeBuild to regenerate and publish the site with every push to the host Git repository. Any change to the CodeCommit Git repository automatically triggers a build through CodeCommit. This build runs the Hugo static site generator on your repo and syncs the results to an S3 bucket configured for serving a static site. [Read More]

Getting Started with Amazon Flow Framework

Amazon’s Flow Framework provides a high-level SDK for interacting with the Amazon Simple Workflow service (SWF). SWF is a managed service that helps developers build, run and monitor parallel or sequential asynchronous workloads. SWF reliably commits your workflow’s state to durable storage, allowing you to focus on your business logic rather than on the complex coordination of distributed services. Writing an application with the flow framework can be divided into the following steps: [Read More]