6 Tips for developing with AWS Lambda Functions
Development 6 Tips for developing with AWS Lambda Functions

AWS Lambda functions are getting a lot of press right now, with “serverless” being the topic de jour. We’ve been using it extensively and it’s incredibly flexible and useful, although not suitable for every situation. It really does remove a lot of obstacles for the average developer. In saying that, there are a few tips that I’d like to share based on our experiences with Lambda. Many of these may be no-brainers, but it’s always worth sharing these things as you never know when they’ll be useful.

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SQS vs SNS for Lambda Dead Letter Queues
Development SQS vs SNS for Lambda Dead Letter Queues

Serverless computing and event-driven functions are what it’s all about at the moment. But what happens when the event trigger fires, and your process then encounters an error? How do you recover from this given the event has since passed and may never happen again? This is a common question in AWS when working with their serverless, event-driven Lambda Functions.

Fortunately, AWS lets you define Dead Letter Queues for this very scenario. This option allows you to designate either an SQS queue or SNS topic as a DLQ, meaning that when your Lambda function fails it will push the incoming event message (and some additional context) onto the specified resource. If it’s SNS you can send out alerts or trigger other services (maybe even a retry of the same function - although watch out for infinite loops), or any combination of the above, given its fanout nature. If it’s SQS you can persist the message and process it with another service.

So let’s look at both options in a little more detail.

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picnicerror.net is a personal blog for me to post various ideas, thoughts and discoveries through both my day to day work in marketing technology and general hobbies and interests.

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