Can AWS Utility Composer aid you save time on designing serverless apps?

The AWS setting is as highly effective as it’s complicated. It means that you can run extremely environment friendly serverless functions with out a hitch and having to fret concerning the infrastructure – however you’ve obtained to configure it first. If solely the barrier-to-entry was decrease! If solely there was some sort of software that one might use to get by earlier than you actually wrap your head round all of it! Oh wait, there may be one – it’s the AWS Utility Composer! Or is it?

As large followers of cloud options, we at all times hold tabs on the most recent developments within the AWS ecosystem. One of many very newest is a software referred to as AWS Utility Composer.

So let’s take a better take a look at Amazon’s newest try at making the AWS setting simpler to navigate. On this article, you’ll discover out:

  • How AWS Utility Composer makes it simpler to design serverless apps, full with sensible workouts.
  • The place is its place within the wealthy ecosystem of AWS applied sciences.
  • Whether it is highly effective sufficient to make use of in business initiatives and has the potential to generate significant manufacturing time and value financial savings.

Let’s get began.

A masterclass from our VP of Know-how Adam Polak on the HQ in Gliwice. As of March 2023, The Software program Home has over 110 AWS professionals

AWS Utility composer overview – what’s it actually about?

However earlier than we get to that, we’d like to verify we’re all on the identical web page in terms of serverless functions.

The fundamentals – serverless apps and AWS

Serverless functions are software program constructed or run on cloud computing platforms, resembling AWS or GCP. The serverless time period refers to the truth that the cloud supplier manages the underlying infrastructure and servers required to run the appliance. It implies that builders can deal with writing the code for the appliance quite than determining the right way to run it.

AWS Utility Composer is a low-code web-based software that helps customers to compose and configure AWS serverless functions utilizing pre-built parts. The composer streamlines the infrastructure-building course of by offering an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface for connecting the varied AWS companies that make up a serverless utility.

Talking of companies, it could be helpful to outline the AWS utility composer’s place among the many many AWS serverless-related choices extra exactly.

The app composer and its place within the AWS setting

AWS affords varied AWS serverless companies resembling:

It’s a serverless computing service that permits you to run code with out provisioning or managing servers. You possibly can deploy the code as a .zip file or container picture. AWS Lambda Operate may be connected to particular occasions, resembling a cron scheduler or HTTP request, and can robotically reply to them.

AWS Step Features (or AWS SFN) is a service that means that you can construct automated processes, orchestrate microservices or create machine studying pipelines. It connects with different companies, together with the AWS Lambda Features. AWS SFN supplies a Workflow Studio – a easy drag-and-drop interface that helps to design workflows shortly.

Amazon DynamoDB is a serverless, key-value NoSQL database. It affords built-in safety, steady backups, and the instruments to import or export information.

AWS Utility Composer’s function is to assist builders overcome the difficulties of constructing serverless functions on AWS. It does it in two methods:

  • By simplifying the method of configuring and integrating totally different AWS companies, which may be complicated and time-consuming.

The immense variety of AWS companies resembling Lambda, Step Features, or DynamoDB implies that the configuration has a excessive entry threshold and it takes a very long time to study the way it works and integrates. Not solely is AWS Utility Composer a great way to make it simpler, nevertheless it may also function a stop-gap measure for much less skilled AWS customers.

Just about everybody who makes use of AWS is aware of that the CloudFormation template used to outline AWS companies or the relations between them isn’t the simplest software to make use of. The AWS Utility Composer makes utilizing it rather more user-friendly. You don’t must hassle your self with how the CloudFormation appears, whether or not you made a typo someplace, or added the right indents. All of this will probably be generated by the Composer.

  • By making it simpler to arrange the infrastructure that meets undertaking necessities.

Often, after we begin establishing a brand new undertaking infrastructure, we cut up the method into two steps. The primary one is to design infrastructure visually, which helps us to see how companies join. It’s additionally a lot simpler to debate the setup among the many teammates that approach.

The subsequent step is to jot down that infrastructure because the code. The AWS Utility Composer combines these steps into one – we design infrastructure visually and it robotically generates the code.

Which means we wouldn’t have to know what precisely the IaaC (Infrastructure as a Code) appears like and write it ourselves. It quickens establishing infrastructure, making the entire course of simpler for the builders.

What does the AWS Utility Composer precisely have to supply?

AWS Utility Composer options

AWS App Composer permits for placing collectively your infrastructure utilizing predefined parts. It combines varied AWS companies, together with the aforementioned AWS Lambda, Amazon DynamoDB as a NoSQL Database service in addition to AWS S3 – a completely managed object storage service.

AWS Utility Composer permits for exporting infrastructure as a code (IaaC) as a CloudFormation template, which may be then consumed by different companies resembling AWS SAM.

App composer vs AWS SAM

AWS SAM (Serverless Utility Mannequin) is a framework for composing, constructing, and deploying serverless functions on AWS. Though AWS SAM and Utility Composer have some similarities, as they each intention to simplify the method of composing serverless functions on AWS, they’re designed for various use instances.

Basically, AWS Utility Composer streamlines the creation of serverless infrastructure by working with a broad choice of AWS companies. With a centralized platform for constructing and configuring serverless apps, AWS Utility Composer simplifies the administration of the whole growth lifecycle for such functions on AWS. This software can considerably cut back the complexity and energy required to construct and deploy serverless apps. AWS Utility Composer is thus a high-level software with the capability to generate IaaC that different instruments or companies can course of. AWS SAM is a kind of instruments – it lets us deploy IaaC with code on to AWS to construct an entire utility.

As you possibly can see, we will mix each companies. AWS Utility Composer generates a CloudFormation. We are able to then use AWS SAM to course of that to create an IaaC configuration. This enhances the event expertise and makes the deployment course of straightforward.

Will low-code options actually change the best way we develop software program, offering productiveness advantages with out compromising on high quality? Will they put some builders out of jobs? Discover out our viewpoint on low-code growth.

Who’s it for?

AWS Utility Composer is designed for builders, cloud architects, or individuals who want to begin their cloud journey and are about to deploy their first utility on AWS.


Relating to builders, let’s be trustworthy, nearly all of them aren’t very skilled with DevOps practices. And there’s a superb purpose for that – creating infrastructure is a troublesome and extremely specialised job, particularly if you wish to use the Infrastructure as a Code strategy. It’s important to study Terraform or CloudFormation. You may also want AWS Cloud Growth Package (CDK), which permits for writing infrastructure code in widespread languages resembling TypeScript. Nonetheless, it’s worthwhile to study particular varieties of infrastructure parts, sorts, choices, connections, and extra. That’s plenty of new stuff to study when all you need is to simply verify issues out.

Cloud architects

If you’re a cloud architect, you wish to create companies to check your concepts shortly. That’s what AWS Utility Composer can positively do. You possibly can deal with a problem-solution kind of design, omitting technical elements of connecting companies at an early stage of cloud growth. 

Budding cloud practitioners

Since this group additionally lacks DevOps information, they are going to use the software very like builders do. AWS Utility Composer will encourage them to dabble in cloud growth. It will probably considerably decrease the barrier-to-entry to the cloud. With AWS Utility Composer you possibly can create companies and join them collectively with out having to dive deep into technical particulars.

On this case, Utility Composer is the proper software for creating infrastructure. Simply drag and drop items of infrastructure, join, and voilà! You’ll obtain a ready-to-use CloudFormation template with configured companies.

Who’s it NOT for?

You shouldn’t for a second consider AWS Utility Composer as a golden hammer

On the time of writing, it’s nonetheless in public preview. It implies that it doesn’t have plenty of options. It solely supplies fundamental parts and a really simplified configuration. Moreover, you received’t be capable of use it to create production-ready configurations. At this level, it’s actually solely ample for some demos and spikes.

Certainly, it might really feel very limiting for skilled DevOps engineers – those that wrote plenty of customized CloudFormation or terraform information. If you’re one, you would possibly get actually irate about how little you are able to do together with your configurations!

Let’s do some AWS app composer initiatives

If you’re nonetheless excited by what the Utility Composer can do, let’s do some easy workouts.

We’re going to supply the infrastructure for 2 separate initiatives.

Static web site deployment undertaking

Static web sites are the appropriate factor for people or companies who want a easy cost-effective on-line presence. These web sites are pre-built and served as-is to the consumer’s browser, in order that they don’t require a backend server to course of and generate content material on the fly as dynamic web sites do.

AWS can host static web sites, offering a dependable and scalable choice for deploying websites to the cloud. Through the use of companies resembling Amazon S3, customers can retailer and serve their static web site information.

Let’s create a brand new undertaking with AWS Utility Composer.

In step one, you possibly can select if you want to create a clean undertaking or load an current one. You even have the choice to synchronize a undertaking together with your native file.

Create a brand new AWS App Composer undertaking

You might be able to construct an infrastructure. To host the static web site on the S3, it’s worthwhile to configure that service – let’s drag it to the canvas.

Configuring S3

Clicking on the “Particulars” button on the chosen useful resource opens the right-side properties sidebar the place you possibly can handle service choices.

Handle service choices in AWS Utility Composer

Let’s activate static web site internet hosting. Should you’d like, you may also set the bucket logical id as effectively – it’ll be part of the bucket identify. Checking “Activate static web site internet hosting” will show a brand new property that you could handle – a reference to the index doc. Let’s hold the default one and save the adjustments. 

Verify Activate static web site internet hosting

Saving adjustments will regenerate the IaaC template, which you would evaluate within the “Template” tab or in your native template file (in case you’ve enabled the synchronization with native information). There’s not plenty of code – it’s solely an S3 bucket.

Now it’s time to deploy the infrastructure. Sadly, there’s no method to push it immediately from the AWS Utility Composer. That is one thing that hurts loads, particularly when it’s worthwhile to show one thing that doesn’t want any code with logic. Which means you’re reliant on utilizing different instruments to show it. On this case, it’s going to be AWS SAM.

When the deployment is completed, you possibly can verify the infrastructure on AWS. All the pieces appears promising. The S3 bucket is created. It’s marked as a static web site with public entry allowed. Sadly, the coverage statements are lacking. What’s extra, the consumer won’t be able to go to the positioning till you add it manually.

Discover lacking bucket coverage

To-do REST API undertaking

With that have out of the best way, you possibly can construct one thing extra complicated resembling REST API, which is one thing nearly each undertaking wants.

AWS affords a number of companies to host REST API, together with Amazon API Gateway and AWS Lambda. Let’s check out these two.

With Amazon API Gateway, you need to use RESTful structure to outline endpoints that can deal with HTTP requests and direct them to the suitable AWS Lambda features for processing. The results of the lambda perform is then returned to the shopper.

AWS Lambda lets builders deploy and execute code based mostly on particular triggers resembling scheduled duties or HTTP occasions. It helps a number of programming languages – JavaScript (Node.js) and Python amongst others. Since it’s a serverless service, there isn’t any want to fret about managing servers or infrastructure.

Apart from exposing REST API and processing information, you additionally want some sort of database. Amazon DynamoDB ought to do the job simply fantastic.

Right here is an instance infrastructure design for a to-do REST API in-built AWS Utility Composer:

Try this instance infrastructure design

Fairly easy, isn’t it? Certainly – till we wouldn’t have to verify the configuration! AWS Utility Composer isn’t eager on deleting something, so for those who join and reconnect the lambda perform with DynamoDB a number of occasions, a number of the information could find yourself duplicated. 

Try the display beneath:

Keep away from duplicating in AWS Utility Composer

What’s extra, plainly the deploy button is lacking. You continue to want to jot down the logic in lambdas, however the APP Composer did save plenty of time – for those who take a look at the IaC template, you will notice that there are a whole lot of ready-made definition traces there:

For data-heavy AWS-based initiatives, try our information lake case research, which concerned AWS companies resembling Athena, Lake Formation in addition to Lambda, bringing simpler information exploration and new BI dashboards to the enterprise.

Can we just like the Utility Composer?

The newest AWS software affords a really promising strategy to creating infrastructure. It will probably simplify the entire course of and permit much less skilled builders to give you secure and well-optimized infrastructure. It additionally simplifies the method of studying and testing new options. In brief – sure, we do prefer it.

Nevertheless, it shouldn’t counsel that the software doesn’t have some issues. There are additionally plenty of options that it might use, however they’re merely not there at this second. Let’s go over these points.

The issues

As we talked about, Utility Composer isn’t appropriate for constructing a manufacturing setting. However there are extra particular points that we discovered:

Typically if you replace the part within the editor, it creates extra, pointless information. We additionally encountered issues with duplicated env variables and IAM roles.

We discovered this one to be significantly troublesome. Should you join companies in an improper method, you’ll obtain data that this connection isn’t supported. The identical factor occurs if you join two companies that ought to usually work collectively, however the Utility Composer doesn’t help it but. In consequence, inexperienced customers could draw unsuitable conclusions about most of these connections. The software urgently wants correct documentation that states what’s supported and why.

Relating to some parts, we came upon that the Utility Composer-backed configuration isn’t enough. Take the S3 part talked about above for example. It means that you can create config for static web sites, however because the bucket coverage is lacking, you need to add it manually.

It is a downside if you wish to construct one thing extra complicated. However this can be a preview, so we’re positive there will probably be extra parts and companies out there sooner or later.

Lacking options

There are some things that we wish to see sooner or later. The AWS Utility Composer would positively present a extra full expertise if it included the next options:

  • Working SAM deploys immediately

It might be good to deploy infrastructure immediately from the Composer. Now we have now to obtain or sync the undertaking after which deploy it manually. For some use instances, it could be simpler to run it immediately from the AWS Console.

It has to do with the earlier grievance. If we had the choice to run SAM immediately from AWS, we might then have a listing with templates. The consumer might use it to arrange an setting in a number of seconds.

AWS Utility Composer – that’s the place issues stand proper now

And that’s about it! We are able to’t look ahead to AWS Utility Composer to develop to the purpose that it could warrant a extra thorough tutorial! For now, plainly a fast look or two will greater than suffice to determine the important thing takeaways:

  • AWS Utility Composer is a software that helps us to design easy infrastructure shortly.
  • It’s not production-ready but, as a result of it lacks some vital configurations and different extra superior options we identified earlier.
  • The thought itself may be very promising – having the ability to automate the writing of a bulk of serverless infrastructure code positively has a future. It’s what builders and cloud engineers need – each the rookies and the professionals. In its present state, nevertheless, AWS Utility Composer is usually helpful to the previous.

We hold our fingers crossed for the following updates and extremely advocate checking the software out by yourself!

Develop scalable and business-ready serverless apps with our groups

Use essentially the most optimum instruments in your use case to attain the perfect efficiency and worth effectivity.

Aleksander Patschek

Aleksander Patschek

Frontend Developer

JavaScript developer with seven years of expertise. An AWS Neighborhood Builder. Large fan of strongly typed languages – that is why he makes use of Typescript every time he can. He likes studying new options resembling AI and no-code and utilizing them in on a regular basis duties. In his free time, he enjoys enjoying video games on PlayStation and sharing information on his weblog.

Rafał Golubowicz

Senior Node.js Developer with a deep ardour for cloud companies, particularly the Serverless structure. One other of his pursuits, sharing information and talking about totally different IT issues, led him to grow to be a convention speaker. Privately – an fanatic of robotics, travels, and the ukulele.


Leave a Reply

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop