Serverless Handbook

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Monitoring serverless apps

When clients have a bug, you can tell. Go through the flow, click around, see what happens.

But code on the server is invisible. And always broken. A distributed system is never 100% error-free.

A good architecture lets you ignore many errors. The system recovers on its own.

What about the bad errors? And how do you debug code you can't see?


Observability is the art of understanding the internal state of a system based on its outputs. It's a continuous process.

A good system lets you:

  • understand what's going on
  • see trends
  • figure out what happened after an error
  • predict errors
  • know when there's an emergency
  • understand how to fix an emergency

Those are design goals. There is no right answer. Observability is an art and getting it right takes practice.

But there are guidelines you can follow. You'll need:

  • logs are immutable events that happened in your system. They follow a structured format and offer information about what happened where and when.
  • metrics are aggregate events over time. They tell you how much of what is happening, how long it takes, and help you understand trends.
  • traces are journeys through the system. A sequence of events that contributed to a bigger result.

Hello! 👋

Are you a frontend engineer diving into backend? Do you have just that one bit of code that can't run in the browser? Something that deals with secrets and APIs?

That's what cloud functions are for my friend. You take a JavaScript function, run it on serverless, get a URL, and voila.

But that's easy mode. Any tutorial can teach you that.

What happens when you wanna build a real backend? When you want to understand what's going on? Have opinions on REST vs GraphQL, NoSQL vs. SQL, databases, queues, talk about performance, cost, data processing, deployment strategies, developer experience?


Unlock your free chapter!

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Dive into modern backend. Understand any backend

Serverless Handbook shows you how with 360 pages for people like you getting into backend programming.

With digital + paperback content Serverless Handbook has been more than 1 year in development. Lessons learned from 14 years of building production grade websites and webapps.

With Serverless Handbook, Swiz teaches the truths of distributed systems – things will fail – but he also gives you insight on how to architect projects using reliability and resilience perspectives so you can monitor and recover.

~ Thai Wood, author of Resilience Roundup

If you want to understand backends, grok serverless, or just get a feel for modern backend development, this is the book for you.

Serverless Handbook full of color illustrations, code you can try, and insights you can learn. But it's not a cookbook and it's not a tutorial.

Serverless Handbook on your bookshelf
Serverless Handbook on your bookshelf

Yes, there's a couple tutorials to get you started, to show you how it fits together, but the focus is on high-level concepts.

Ideas, tactics, and mindsets that you need. Because every project is different.

The Serverless Handbook takes you from your very first cloud function to modern backend mastery. In the words of an early reader:

Serverless Handbook taught me high-leveled topics. I don't like recipe courses and these chapters helped me to feel like I'm not a total noob anymore.

The hand-drawn diagrams and high-leveled descriptions gave me the feeling that I don't have any critical "knowledge gaps" anymore.

~ Marek C, engineer

If you can JavaScript, you can backend.

Plus it looks great on your bookshelf 😉

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