For the past few years, I’ve been on an analog kick and I’ve been loving printed magazines like the ones in the photo above. These aren’t traditional magazines like you find at the newsstand, instead, these are made out of high-quality materials, over 150 pages, and about a quarter inch thick.
I’ve been internally debating for months if something like this would work for the Laravel Community? Because I’d want it to stand the test of time it wouldn’t focus on the code or tutorials that can be obsolete in a very short time. This would focus more on soft skills, interviews, and the community.
I’m estimating it will not be cheap to produce with the overhead will be printing costs, shipping, and paying contributors. As such, this will need to be priced on the premium end, around $40 per issue and maybe more after I’ve researched and went through all the logistics.
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Met a DevOps guy on the last meetup and he was into Serverless setups for web and mobile applications as well as Vue.js . The meetup was about Laravel and Vue.Js, but as things go often we talked about more than that. Than my French partner came up with Serverless Architecture by Aerobatic. So what is serverless architecture and what are our options these days? And more importantly, should we move into this new field?
Serverless setups just means basically that you do not need to worry about your servers and that you can set them up automatically and that they work out of the box for you. It also often means that they are like functions and each server is a microservice doing a specific task for you. See AWS Lambda for example.
Here is a good quote from Twilio
Serverless architecture (also known as serverless computing or function as a service, FaaS) is a software design pattern where applications are hosted by a third-party service, eliminating the need for server software and hardware management by the developer.
Most developers prefer to go without DevOps or System Admin work and prefer things to just work. They need to keep track of a lot of programming languages, browser issues and prefer to stick to the app, not what it has been running on.
DevOps Streamline Options
Been dabbling in Laradock / Docker / Terraform and Ansible a lot over the last couple of years. Latter two allow versioning of VPS setups and complete source control of server setup. This is nice as you will be able to produce the same setup with ease and on the fly. The former is for working with container architecture.
Laravel, Docker and Terraform
Also read on a Docker, Terraform, Laravel stack written by Lionel. It works with Docker, Terraform and he explains how to automate a Laravel app deployment with this stack on Amazon. It uses Terraform instead of Ansible to provision the server and Docker for the server containers. FYI for many Docker setups are considered serverless setups as well, but here as you can see I put Docker in a separate box.
Forge we also use for Laravel server provisioning and basic management. It can also be used for WordPress. We love it for our Laravel apps, but for WordPress we have not felt the need.
Current Server Setup & Management Issues
Issue with all these tools is that they still make you dependant on DevOps Skills for when things go wrong or simply when you want to extend the package. That and the need for YAML or Ruby or Bash for the provisioning and server architecture packages.
So what are the serverless options out there? Here are a few I know
- AWS Lambda – Laravel Package here
- Google Serverless
- Aerobotic as mentioned by Philippe but unknown to me
- Serverless – using Node.js for helping orchestrating microservices mentioned above
User Case – Contentful, Lambda, Gatsby, S3, Serverless Setup
Read the story by Antonio who did his own serverless setup. He compares pricing to WP Engine at $999 a year. He seems to think if it is more than that or more than $2.7 USD a day with
- Contentful – Content Creation
- Serverless – Everything you need to operationalize serverless development
- Cloudfront – Amazon CloudFront is a fast content delivery network (CDN)
- Lambda – lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers.
- S3 – Amazon Storage Buckets
- GraphQL – provides an alternative to REST and ad-hoc web service architectures.
- Gatsby – site generator for React ,
- Styled Components
things are expensive though he calculates things should be cheaper than that. I prefer cheaper than WP Engine still, but I enjoyed the article and learn about this setup and fees involved.
To get to $2.7 USD a day with Lambda you would need 4.5M requests or 100K views a day. The sites I run often get let than that a day, so I could probably work with $1 or less a day for Lambda. Which is good as I prefer something like 0.5 USD a day to get to about $15 a month for Lambda fees.
Cloudfront is 0.68/m (still working out my own calculations) so that is peanuts for a CDN for the traffic Antonio was estimating. Costs for S3 are not mentioned which is at least $0.023 per GB for the first 50 TB / Month in the Ohio region. Dirt cheap indeed. Nor are the costs for Contentfull or Serverless mentioned yet. Contentful has free trials but is $39 a month for their basic package.
Let’s say we have Lambda 50K views or 2.25 M request sa day * $0.0000006 = $1.35 a day or $40 / month. That is too much for most of us. But then again we would probably get less still so let’s go for 5K views a day or $4/month
- Lambda 5K views $4
- S3 5GB data or $0.0.46
- Cloudfront $0.68
$4.7 a month with 5K views a day with 43 requests on one load.
The reason I do not like Amazon that much is that these calculations are always painful and really depend on your site, requests it needs, images it has stored and how much traffic it gets. I prefer Digital Ocean with a Droplet, Spaces (w/ built in CDN).
If it would be only $5 a month it is like the fees for running a Trellis Droplet and hopefully without much maintenance overhead. As I have not yet worked with Serverless, Lambda nor a setup like Gatsby I am not likely to get started with this any time soon.
Costs Excluding Contentful
Now this is excluding Contentful and unless I do a lot of sites content wise with it this is not worth it.
Serverless setups are quite early stage and as Digital Ocean mentioned not many developers know how to manage serverless stacks and debug issues using this new setup.
The issue for me is that Docker is still relatively new and offers many options already and there is still so many things to learn in the container space. That is besides improving upon my Virtual Private Server skills and skills working with tools such as deployer and Ansible as well as Terraform. Makes me feel like I do not want to move on serverless architecture just yet.
Even the Docker, Terraform Laravel setup by Lionel I have been postponing though it looks cool. I feel like I want my Laradock setup to work first well locally where I am having HTTP response 201 issues and have it secure on production before I move onto something else.
So, should you go for it?
Today my friend Mohamed Said wrote on his blog about putting fear aside and reaching out to people, and he included the following video from Steve Jobs:
As I watched this what really stuck out to me is how Steve asked. In his example, he called Bill Hewlett and asked for a very specific thing, frequency counters, which made it easy for Bill to say yes and got him a foot in the door for a summer job.
I know many people that are crazy busy but if you reach out and asked something specific they would love to help you. Even if it’s a programming problem, as long as it’s not something vague like, “I get a white screen can you help?”. Or something generic like can we schedule a phone call or grab a coffee. I archive those emails immediately, but if you said want to meet up and go…
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In answer to Ameen’s question “Do you endorse automation at work? Or are you’re all against it? Let me know what you think.” and blog post A Feud to Settle: Automation against Jobs .
I think at the end of the day it depends on WHO will manage these useful machines/AI and profits from it. And so quickly this debate will be turned political / philosophical and cannot remain just geeky or technical. Here is my take.
Post Automation / AI World
Let’s say you are no longer needed as a driver or cabbie because of Uber and Elon Musk (automated Trucks), no longer needed because Amazon manages to get rid of the need for human beings in their distribution center (imagine Bezos dancing happily in an empty building filled with machines and PCs), lose your postal service job because mostly is done online what will you with low/basic education do?
Get more indebted to get a college degree or vocational papers that may or not may help? This could or could not work and depends on you managing to do this (money and capabilities wise).
Find another non related low level job that may hopefully still exist for you such as cleaning streets, house renovation..? Cleaning Jobs will probably be out soon enough too. Others will follow suit sooner rather than later.
And you with a degree in economics might not want to go for a cleaners job just because an algorithm has taken your career. Wasn’t AI supposed to work for us instead of against us forcing us to do jobs we do not want to do? Conservatives will say a job is a job but a newly graduated your man or woman may beg to differ.
Education / Re-Training
Who will re-train people losing jobs because of it and what income will be given to them until they are re-trained? Education is becoming more and more expensive, not cheaper despite all the world’s progress. I do not recall any famous Toyota/Ford/Chevrolet programs that re-trained people for free when they replaced a lot of them by mechanical arms, but do let me know.
Education globally is getting pricier and more and more for people who can afford it. Fox News was ridiculing Denmark as one of the last bastions of 5-6 years of free education the other day. Which is mind gobbling as this is sadly one of the last places where anyone can get a nice education for free. One to arm you against the more and automated and or unequal world.
Crisis Time AI
If you are in a crisis period – 2008 global crisis as an example here – and besides general layoffs more layoffs are being made because of new inventions things can be very tough. Even when you work for half pay they often won’t hire you. If the employer can avoid hiring you at all because of AI he will be able to get rid of you period. And again doubtful he will foot the education bill for you to get another job.
During the last crisis caused by banks and the stock exchange, run by mainly rich individuals and businesses using AI and or algorithms it was mainly the poor that paid the price. Most banks except for in Iceland were bailed out with taxpayer money.
Can I talk to a human please?
Automation at the work place like at a bank ING in Holland has caused many layoffs and has forced people staying to work at more and more flexible hours. It has made it more and more difficult for customers to get service by real people who care about your needs. For blabla please dial 1, for credit card related questions please press 2, for reporting a stolen card dial 3,..,.., . Did you know our website has excellent information on.. All thanks to AI and automated systems. Were the people laid off happy? Are the ones staying working late afternoons or weekends happier? Is the customer for whom it is increasingly harder to get his problems solved by a human happier?
Benevolent AI or Matrix
Will AI work for all for free and will wealth be shared equally for all to enjoy? There is a fine line between Star Trek and The Matrix or Elysium. With all the progress in the last 70+ post WWII years we have been forced to pay more for education, work longer and see purchase power shrink every year. The top 1% has become extremely wealthy and they certainly have benefited from automation and or AI. The others not so much.
Will AI turn all this around? Or will AI work only for a chosen few as in Elysium or even worse take over the food chain in The Matrix, I would prefer a Star Trek scenario, but I worry more and more about something at least like Elysium. Let’s all not just automate, but also make sure it is for the people and for all equally to enjoy.
I’ve always heard, “never build your business on something you don’t control” and those words have never been more accurate for 3rd party Twitter apps. Of course, this is nothing new as Twitter has crapped on developers a few times in the past and now they are continuing that trend by removing API that my Twitter client of choice, Tweetbot, relied upon.
Rob Johnson, head of product at Twitter, shared some of the reasoning in a thread and then ended asking this:
We’ve heard feedback (
#breakingmytwitter) from our customers about the pain this causes. We’re committed to understanding why people hire 3rd party clients over our own apps, and we’re going to do better with communicating changes
I want my feed in chronological order, I want to use a desktop app (not the browser), I want my likes to be my likes, I want to utilize lists…
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