All posts by Stacey Upfalow

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The 4 Serverless Conferences You Don’t Want to Miss

Posted by on May 26, 2017

The concept of serverless architecture has been gaining steam over the last year or so and this has led to a handful of conferences either completely dedicated to the topic or with a heavy focus on it. There’s no better way to learn more about the advantages and developments related to the serverless trend than to hear it from experts. We’ve put together a list of can’t miss conferences that will bring together some of the top minds and companies leading the serverless evolution.

Serverlessconf.io: The Title Says It All

This event surely won’t disappoint the serverless-oriented developer. The first leg of Serverlessconf took place last month in Austin and the speaker lineup of 40+ people delivered some truly innovative sessions, not to mention the 5 hands-on workshops which received rave reviews. One of the most interesting things to note from Austin, however, was the range of definitions of ‘serverless’ and how they differed from presenter to presenter. This comes as no surprise as serverless is still in its infancy or as Charity Majors called it ‘the toddler years.” If you didn’t make it to Austin, don’t worry as the conference will also be held later in the year in London, New York, and Tokyo and the team at Serverlessconf said they would announce the dates for each upcoming location soon so stay tuned.

QCon: Learning from Expert Peers

QCon has been a fixture on the scene for the last 10 years, and every year the conference gets even better. In 2017, there will be 3 more QCons: New York (June 26-30), Shanghai (October 19-21) and San Francisco (November 13-17). Each event – a 3-day conference followed by 2 days of workshops – features 15+ tracks and 100+ speakers from leading companies including Google, Slack, Netflix, GitHub, and Twitter. All of the conferences are peppered with talks and workshops focusing on building and running serverless apps and the benefits of serverless infrastructures.

MuCon: All about Microservices

MuCon, brought to you by Skills Matter and scheduled for November 6-7 in London, focuses on microservices. When designing flexible systems that meet ever-changing business needs, microservices are an important part of any architectural approach. This conference keeps that in mind and focuses on discussing emerging technologies and innovative approaches. The keynote speaker for 2017 will be Russ Miles, an expert in software delivery processes.

AWS Re:Invent: Amazon, Enough Said

If you’ve never attended AWS Re:Invent, you’re certainly missing out on one of the best developer conferences of the year- hosted by Amazon, we’d expect nothing less. Although only the 2017 dates for the Las Vegas-based conference have been released (mark November 27-December 1 on your calendar now), if this year’s conference is anything like last year’s, you’ll be in for an educational treat. We’re sure that there will be a handful of sessions focusing on serverless architecture again this year, but the question remains as to who will be presenting. In any case, make sure you get your seat well in advance as these packed lectures filled up quickly in the past. And, of course, the most anticipated part of this conference comes from AWS’ new product announcements. We can’t wait to hear what the company will be unveiling.

Bonus: Can’t Travel, Find Something Local

We know that not every company or individual has the budget to hop on a plane and pay for tickets and the expenses that accompany these top-notch conferences. And, while conferences may bring together the cream of the crop, some of the speakers may be based in your local city and attending a Meetup near you. These more intimate gatherings are no less important, and the networking alone makes these small scale events well worth attending. Here are some of our favorites but if none of these cities is your hometown, you’ll find more than 90 Serverless Architecture Meetups hosted around the globe.

If you’re on the West Coast, check out the San Francisco-based Serverless Meetup which gets together once a month and is over 1100 strong or the younger LA-based Meetup.

Serverless London Meetup group is 1000+ members strong and gets together on the first Wednesday of every month to discuss everything and anything related to serverless. If you’re in the city and interested in building web, mobile and IoT apps using serverless architecture, this group is for you.

Serverless NYC has been going strong since 2015, now with over 400 members. They meet up every few months to discuss topics around the development, deployment, and maintenance of distributed systems in the cloud without provisioning servers.

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Are Progressive Web Apps the Future or Just a Fad?

Posted by on Jan 24, 2017

The industry has been talking about progressive web apps (PWAs) for some time now – Google introduced them in 2015, but they’ve taken some time to come mainstream. In case you’re a bit late to the game, PWAs tap into the modern capabilities of the web yet offers a native app-like experience for the user.

Native apps were previously seen by businesses as the golden child of the mobile world as they offered unique experiences that web apps just couldn’t compete with. Most importantly they worked offline and allowed for push notifications – both big selling points for brands but not necessarily deal breakers for the end user. However, as the technology of the web has advanced by leaps and bounds in the last few years, this selling points no longer hold water.

From a user perspective, why would one download an app which takes up precious space on their devices when they could get more or less the same experience on the web? Need to know what the dollar exchange rate is? The weather? Thanks for the quick answers Google! Want to browse an e-commerce site? No problem thanks to the development of responsive web design.

However, by tapping into the technological advances of the modern web which is exactly what progressive web apps do, it’s hard to see the value of developing a native app. The benefits of PWAs for both the company and users are undeniable.

The Advantages of PWAs

No Updates: For users, ensuring that apps are up to date is a pain whereas with PWAs, just like web pages, users get the most updated version every time they visit the site.

Low Friction: Users don’t need to go to app stores, search for the app, download it, wait for it to finish installing and then open it – each of these steps, although simple, will cost you 20% of your users.

High Engagement: PWAs can easily be added to a user’s home screen allowing for instant accessibility. Service Workers offer the ability to send push notifications and can handle caching and content fetching quite easily.

Reliable: Again, Service Workers handle the brunt of things, enabling PWAs to work quickly and smoothly even when the user is offline or has a low-quality network.

Shareable: A positive review from a friend is worth its weight in gold so the fact that PWAs can be shared just like websites (and unlike native apps) via a URL. Building on this, PWAs can easily be bookmarked on a device for quick access without taking up precious space on a device.

Discoverable: Search engines can easily find PWAs because they act as websites. Ever tried getting your native app into the top 50 apps on an app store?

The Disadvantages of PWAs

With all that’s good, comes some bad but is it enough to derail the sudden lunge towards PWAs?

Social Logins: Users have become so used to the simplicity of one-click social logins which aren’t possible with PWAs.

Hardware Technology: PWAs are browser based so if a browser can’t support a technology that your app needs (for example, fingerprint scans), then it’s basically useless.

Discoverability (the other side): App stores get tons of traffic, and while a website can direct traffic to the store for a download, the reverse direction doesn’t work.

The Bottom Line

The real question is, if you’re about to build an app, should you put your time and resources towards a native app or start with a PWA? Like with any decision, there are benefits and drawbacks to both options. But, with the rapid development of web technologies, it seems to us that PWAs are here to stay and they are only going to get better.