tips and tricks

Limiting Cross-stack References in CDK

Several years ago I wrote CloudFormation Tips and Tricks, in which I gave the advice to “use outputs lavishly, exports sparingly.” The reason is that when you export a value from one stack and import it into another you bind those stacks tightly together, and can’t change that exported value. For example, you might create … Read More

Rightsizing Data for Athena

Amazon Athena is a service that lets you run SQL queries against structured data files stored in S3. It takes a “divide and conquer” approach, spinning up parallel query execution engines that each examine only a portion of your data. The performance of these queries, however, depends on how you consolidate and partition your data. In this post I compare query times for a moderately large dataset, looking for the “sweet spot” between number of files and individual file size.

Three Approaches to Deploying Lambdas

“Traditional” deployment patterns separate the application from its infrastructure. Lambda deployments turn this model on its head, binding the infrastructure tightly to the running code. This can be a challenge, especially when developing in a team: it is all too easy for one developer to accidentally overwrite another’s work. In this post I look at several deployment options, and how they impact a development team.

Android background processing – a decision guide

If you’ve ever done anything in Android that takes more than 16 milliseconds to process then you’ve probably heard of Android services and background processing in general. Why 16 milliseconds? At Android’s refresh rate of 60 frames per second, the main thread can not be delayed by more than 16 milliseconds to avoid frame skipping … Read More

Hunting the Wolf: App UX and Database Review

The Wolf Golf Scorecard app for Android, by Rod Biresch of Chariot Solutions, is a record-keeping application for a classic four-player golf game. Recently, Chariot had the opportunity to redesign and refresh the look-and-feel and usability of the application (first released in 2016) through a complete design deep-dive process.

Secrets Manager vs Parameter Store

AWS gives you two ways to store application configuration: Secrets Manager and Systems Manager Parameter Store. Both can store arbitrary configuration data. Both use IAM (Identity and Access Management) policies to control access. Both can encrypt the data. So which should you pick?