Vercel; Serverless or Bust; Weekend Reading
Salesforce, the parent company of Heroku — for the quarter ending April 30, 2022 — realized $5.366B in gross profit. I guess that many bags of Benjamins just weren't enough to continue offering a free tier on Heroku. (Aside: Def read that Heroku blog; it's a masterclass in skeezy triple-speak executive comms.)
Heroku has a weird past. I never really liked the development/deployment idiom they somewhat pioneered; plus, it was slow, klunky, and — after the free tier — ridiculously expensive for what it is.
Since I have a lofty goal of Friday drops being "weekend project"-oriented, I've framed this episode in three acts:
First: one resource to get you off of Heroku — if you're still there — or inspire you to try out — if you were smart enough to not even give Heroku a glance before.
Second: a prompt to deploy a particular service on what's dropped in "First".
Third: some weekend reading unaffiliated with "First" and "Second"
Discalaimer: I have zero skin in the game when it comes to Vercel apart from playing with it over the past 418 days (according to my Vercel dahsboard), and leaving a Carbon deployment (that I kinda forgot about) running there.
Vercel is _"an end-to-end platform for developers, that allows you to create and deploy your [web] application". It provides numerous features to enable you to serve up content. You can experiment with serverless edge computing, deploy full stacks (like WordPress), use pretty much any framework you want — including "cutting edge" ones like Deno and Rust, control everything via git and move from hobby to "pro" without breaking the bank.
Their getting started was one of the more comprehensive walkthroughs I've followed (most seem to end up with an error at some step, these days, but not Vercel's). And, their guides cover a wicked amount of ground.
Serverless or Bust
Since most folks reading this newsletter know or can at least read Python, we'll start with a glimpse at how straightforward it is to build and run a Vercel serverless Python function.
With said tools in hand, here are some prompts that should be doable over the weekend:
Create a serverless JSON API that take in
lonparameters and has three endpoints:
daylight-hours, and return the values for each in whatever JSON structure you like. All of the above environments have "ephemerids" libraries, so you don't need to learn any new maths. Drop a link to your creation in the comments when you're done!
If you have any "smart things" in your home, you can use an app on your phone or (sigh) a voice-based automaton to control them, but what about using a serverless function to create your own "scenes"? Vercel is good at keeping seekrits (read: API keys) and letting you use them in our serverless apps. Build a serverless function to do something across all your smart devices, and DO NOT drop a link in the comments, since nobody else should be controlling devices in your home but you (you should probably set up a rudimentary API key for your app just in case the bug bounty hunters are bored and scour Vercel next week).
Return a basic website. You can have the return content type be anything you want, so why not build a dynamic HTML web site from a Vercel serverless function? Pull in CSS, JS, and other resources from CDNs (pro-tip: GitHub Pages have a generous CORS policy). This one should be safe to drop a link to as well.
If none of those are inspiring, you know there are other lists out there.
In no particular order:
"Just say 'No'"
Perhaps there is some hope after all?
Many awesome things (OK, this is more than one weekend)
The Sunday Longread (hit it up Sunday or browse through back issues).
Thanks for reading! Remember, if you're near the Seacoast this Saturday, drop in on GraniteSec! ☮