Learning from tutorials is great! You follow some steps, learn a smol lesson, and feel like you got this. Then you go into an interview, get a question from the boss, or encounter a new situation and o-oh.
Shit, how does this work again? 😅
That's the problem with tutorials. They're not how the world works. Real software is a mess. A best-effort pile of duct tape and chewing gum. You need deep understanding, not recipes.
I've been building web backends since ~2004 when they were just called websites. With these curated essays I want to share the hard lessons learned. Leave your email and get the Serverless and Modern Backend email series.
Curated Serverless & Backend Essays
Get a series of curated essays on Serverless and modern Backend. Lessons and insights from building software for production. No bullshit.
Latest Serverless and Backend articles from Swizec
Are you annoyed by the extra space after your name [name|]?
Behind the scenes of a tiny bug that survive 919 days
March 21st, 2023
Async React with NextJS 13
We look at React's native async support and how to use it in a NextJS 13 app. Learn how to use async components, parallel loading states, and caching with React.js and NextJS 13.
January 14th, 2023
Why PATCH endpoints matter
A painful lesson from production that brought several engineers almost to tears: *Please* add PATCH endpoints to your public APIs.
October 28th, 2022
Over-engineering tweet embeds with web components for fun and privacy
October 26th, 2022
You are allowed to invent HTTP status codes
A fun problem for RESTful APIs: Did you get 404 because your URL is wrong or because the resource wasn't found?
June 7th, 2022
What microservices are for
Microservices are a pain in the ass. They turn every system into a byzantine mess of complexity. But this week ... they saved my butt.
May 13th, 2022
Promise.allSettled, a wonderful tool for resilient code
The pros and cons of different approaches to writing resilient code that handles partial failures
April 4th, 2022
Wow API Gateway v2 is fast
A story of how my performance hunch was totally wrong and the answer that sped up an AWS Lambda 33%
January 17th, 2022
Using DynamoDB Streams with the Serverless Framework
DynamoDB Streams are a convenient way to react to changes in your database. And surprisingly easy to use 🥳
January 4th, 2022
pg-mem and jest for smooth integration testing
The cult of TDD leads you down a dark and stormy path towards brittle code with a false sense of security. But there is a better way. A sweet spot between unit and heavy integration.
December 21st, 2021
Better tooling won't fix your API
RESTful APIs are like Agile – everyone does it differently and if it isn't working, it's your fault for doing it wrong. 🤨
November 30th, 2021
How to configure Jest with TypeScript
Using plain Jest on a TypeScript codebase is kinda rough. No types in tests no thanks. Making Jest and TypeScript work together smoothly is something you do just rarely enough to forget the details. Hope this helps you and future me too ✌️
October 19th, 2021
Build simple backends with Gatsby Serverless Functions
Until recently adding a little backend to your Gatsby site meant 2 options:
1. Climbing the AWS learning curve 2. Rewrite with NextJS
Now there's an /api directory 😱
August 24th, 2021
Serverless file upload to S3 with NextJS and AWS Lambda – CodeWithSwiz 27
The Girl loves her daily cute photos, but she's bored of repeats. What if adding images was easier 🤔
April 20th, 2021
Your serverless questions, answered
When talk comes to serverless, engineers have lots of questions. Here are some answers 😊
March 29th, 2021
How do you know if serverless fits your project?
The hallmark of a true expert is understanding about the pros and cons of your technical decisions.
March 25th, 2021
Serverless Handbook coming Mar 31st
Serverless is the future. New book coming out Mar 31st and it's looking bomb
March 23rd, 2021
Different medium, different mindset
Ever wondered what it's like to make a physical book? It ain't as easy as shipping code lemme tell ya 😅
March 19th, 2021
Go full-stack in 5min with your first cloud function
March 18th, 2021
Can you automate love?
What's the laziest thing you've ever built? For me it's a bot that sends cute pictures every day
March 17th, 2021
When you think of a backend or server developer, who comes to mind? A wizard of arcane magics. The future belongs to full-stack frontend engineers.
March 16th, 2021
That time serverless melted my credit card
Serverless is pretty cheap. But you *can* get it wrong.
March 12th, 2021
Why serverless fits side-projects perfectly
How do you provision servers for no load most days THEN ALL THE LOAD THIS MINUTE? That's how side-projects work and it's hard
March 10th, 2021
How a $12 AWS bill powers a $50k business
my point is that running server code on the web has become ridiculously cheap *and* easy
March 9th, 2021
Reverse engineer a GraphQL API to automate love notes – CodeWithSwiz 24
We used a man-in-the-middle attack to snoop an app's API traffic, replayed it in a GraphQL client, and successfully put it inside an AWS Lambda 🤘
February 23rd, 2021
Many engineers think server-side code is the scary domain of True Engineers. Something newbies, juniors, and frontend engineers shouldn't touch. They're wrong. Modern backend is a joy. ❤️
September 22nd, 2020
In 2020's, what is "frontend"? 🤨
"He's a frontend guy, is this even a fair question to ask?" The head of engineering was worried about our systems design question …
August 7th, 2020
How you can start using GraphQL today without changing the backend
GraphQL for new projects looks great ... buuuut how do you use it with that old backend cobbled together in Rails over the last bazillion years?
March 12th, 2020
Is hot dog taco?
What if I told you modern tools let you build and launch a small webapp in 30 minutes? Complete with SSL, a .com domain, a database, a documented API, CDN hosting, fast static initial loads, and a hydrated SPA? That's the challenge I posed at Silicon Valley Code Camp this weekend. The audience didn't believe me, so it was time to perform some magic. 🧙
October 21st, 2019
REST API best practice in a GraphQL world
GraphQL is taking the world by storm and it is wonderful. But in the real world, you're still dealing with REST APIs aren't you?
September 30th, 2019
TypeScript for serverless lambda backends 👌
A few months ago I inherited a Kotlin project. It was an unfinished prototype and all I had to do was wrap it up and deploy. Every time I touched the project, it broke. Nothing worked. Wouldn't run on my machine, wouldn't read API requests, couldn't get tests working, if I changed some code I broke it all. That's when I realized learning a new field is super hard
May 27th, 2019
Using returns and callbacks in the same function. Sounds like crazy talk I know, but hear me out, I have good reason. I think.
June 26th, 2014