Another year in the community – Thank you, AWS community team #thankfulforest2024 #firevalleyrocks

The year 2023 is close to its end and we’re approaching “Holiday Season” – which is one more reason to take a few minutes to say THANKS to the ones that work every single day to empower the AWS Community.

We did this last year, too – so it was about time to try something else – and the community did it again: All the trees of the Community forest

Saying “thanks” with my speciality service

I’ve found a way to make a tree shine in CodeCatalyst using the Workflows – its not as colorful as that Jenn did and not as detailed as Brian’s approach … and it should definately not try to replicate the team structure or org chart, but it shows that all of the work that the AWS Community team does, all of the support, guidance and investments make the AWS Community a strong foundation of everyone that wants to be part of it!

The community is open for everyone, you can even start your own Meetup easily.

Thank you, AWS Community Team

I am really thankful to be part of the AWS Community and it’s energizing to see the ideas, the sessions, the discussions that we all have together. You, Ross & team, make this possible every single day. Thank you for empowering us, for guiding us and for enabling us to be successful.

Here’s the code for my CodeCatalyst workflow:

Name: firevalleyrocks
SchemaVersion: "1.0"
Triggers:
  - Type: Push
    Branches:
      - main
Actions:
  Ross:
    Identifier: aws/build@v1.0.0
    Inputs:
      Sources:
        - WorkflowSource
    Configuration:
      Steps:
        - Run: echo "Hello, Ross!"
        - Run: echo "Thanks for all of your support in 2023!"
  Taylor:
    Identifier: aws/build@v1.0.0
    Inputs:
      Sources:
        - WorkflowSource
    Configuration:
      Steps:
        - Run: echo "Hello, Taylor!"
        - Run: echo "Thank you for making the Heroes a true community!"
    Compute:
      Type: Lambda
    DependsOn:
      - Ross
  Jason:
    Identifier: aws/build@v1.0.0
    Inputs:
      Sources:
        - WorkflowSource
    Configuration:
      Steps:
        - Run: echo "Hello, Jason!"
        - Run: echo "Thank you for making me start my Community Journey and for making the Community Builders what they are!"
        - Run: echo "Sorry, but you're red!"
        - Run: xxx
    Compute:
      Type: Lambda
    DependsOn:
      - Ross
  Maria:
    Identifier: aws/build@v1.0.0
    Inputs:
      Sources:
        - WorkflowSource
    Configuration:
      Steps:
        - Run: echo "Hello, Maria!"
    Compute:
      Type: Lambda
    DependsOn:
      - Ross
  Ernesto:
    Identifier: aws/build@v1.0.0
    Inputs:
      Sources:
        - WorkflowSource
    Configuration:
      Steps:
        - Run: echo "Hello, Ernesto!"
    Compute:
      Type: Lambda
    DependsOn:
      - Taylor
  Farrah:
    Identifier: aws/build@v1.0.0
    Inputs:
      Sources:
        - WorkflowSource
    Configuration:
      Steps:
        - Run: echo "Hello, Farrah!"
    Compute:
      Type: Lambda
    DependsOn:
      - Taylor
  Lily:
    Identifier: aws/build@v1.0.0
    Inputs:
      Sources:
        - WorkflowSource
    Configuration:
      Steps:
        - Run: echo "Hello, Lily!"
    Compute:
      Type: Lambda
    DependsOn:
      - Jason
  Thembile:
    Identifier: aws/build@v1.0.0
    Inputs:
      Sources:
        - WorkflowSource
    Configuration:
      Steps:
        - Run: echo "Hello, Thembile!"
    Compute:
      Type: Lambda
    DependsOn:
      - Maria
  Susan:
    Identifier: aws/build@v1.0.0
    Inputs:
      Sources:
        - WorkflowSource
    Configuration:
      Steps:
        - Run: echo "Hello, Susan!"
    Compute:
      Type: Lambda
    DependsOn:
      - Maria
  Albert:
    Identifier: aws/build@v1.0.0
    Inputs:
      Sources:
        - WorkflowSource
    Configuration:
      Steps:
        - Run: echo "Hello, Albert!"
    Compute:
      Type: Lambda
    DependsOn:
      - Ernesto
  Shafraz:
    Identifier: aws/build@v1.0.0
    Inputs:
      Sources:
        - WorkflowSource
    Configuration:
      Steps:
        - Run: echo "Hello, Shafraz!"
    Compute:
      Type: Lambda
    DependsOn:
      - Ernesto
  Wesley:
    Identifier: aws/build@v1.0.0
    Inputs:
      Sources:
        - WorkflowSource
    Configuration:
      Steps:
        - Run: echo "Hello, Wesley!"
    Compute:
      Type: Lambda
    DependsOn:
      - Lily
  Ben:
    Identifier: aws/build@v1.0.0
    Inputs:
      Sources:
        - WorkflowSource
    Configuration:
      Steps:
        - Run: echo "Hello, Ben!"
    Compute:
      Type: Lambda
    DependsOn:
      - Lily
  Will:
    Identifier: aws/build@v1.0.0
    Inputs:
      Sources:
        - WorkflowSource
    Configuration:
      Steps:
        - Run: echo "Hello, Will!"
    Compute:
      Type: Lambda
    DependsOn:
      - Susan
  Nelly:
    Identifier: aws/build@v1.0.0
    Inputs:
      Sources:
        - WorkflowSource
    Configuration:
      Steps:
        - Run: echo "Hello, Nelly!"
    Compute:
      Type: Lambda
    DependsOn:
      - Susan
  Community:
    Identifier: aws/build@v1.0.0
    Inputs:
      Sources:
        - WorkflowSource
    Configuration:
      Steps:
        - Run: echo "Hello, Community!"
    Compute:
      Type: Lambda
    DependsOn:
      - Nelly
      - Will
      - Ben
      - Wesley
      - Shafraz
      - Albert
  COmmunity:
    Identifier: aws/build@v1.0.0
    Inputs:
      Sources:
        - WorkflowSource
    Configuration:
      Steps:
        - Run: echo "Hello, Community!"
    Compute:
      Type: Lambda
    DependsOn:
      - Community
  Commonity:
    Identifier: aws/build@v1.0.0
    Inputs:
      Sources:
        - WorkflowSource
    Configuration:
      Steps:
        - Run: echo "Hello, Community!"
    Compute:
      Type: Lambda
    DependsOn:
      - COmmunity

CodeCatalyst at re:Invent 2023, Youtube and a Speakers Directory

In 2023 I’ve become lucky. I’ve started my own YouTube channel, where I present all of the release highlights of re:invent 2023 for CodeCatalyst, I’ve become an AWS Hero but more important than that, I’ve made a lot of friends around the globe. I’ve empowered others to become part of the community and I’ve challenged others with questions, tasks and ideas like the Speakers Direcory.

Thank you for making my year 2023 unforgettable and for making me smile when I think about what we achieved together!

Views: 1122

re:Capping re:Invent 2023 – Not everything that happens in Vegas should stay there! Let’s go and build!

In this article I will try to re:Cap a few of the announcements at re:Invent 2023 but also share my personal experiences and learnings that covers what I think that should be shared with the world…!

What happens in Vegas…

…should not always stay in Las Vegas! This year’s re:Invent has been another great experience for me and it was amazing to meet AWS enthutiasts from all of the world. I’ve learned a tons of stuff, saw a bunch of cool sessions and also experienced to be part of a big family. All the friendships that have been build in the past few days, the shared knowledge and experiences that have been shared have a big influecnce on myself and shape me.

The technical aspects of re:Invent

This year the technical aspects of re:Invent existed but where not as important to me as they used to be in my previous attendances. Of course AWS hd a bunch of important announcements – some of them bigger, some smaller. Renato has them written up at InfoQ and the AWS Newsblog has them covered too. Luc, the winner of this years “Now, Go Build” award 2023 has created a web application that helps you to read all of them and not miss a single one.

For me, there are a few that stand out:

Of course, there where a bunch of other announcement, minor and smaller ones, but these are the ones that I have remembered and thus they are meaningful to me. Now let’s move over to the more important aspects of re:Invent!

The community aspects of re:Invent

re:Invent 2023 has been once more a gathering of the AWS Community in one place and it has brought a lot of us together to talk, laugh and align. Not everyone was able to join us due to different reasons – but I am sure that you have felt the power of the community throughtout the week by following us on the different social channels.

Being part of the AWS Heros

As I posted last year, going to re:Invent means meeting with friends and getting together. Being an AWS Hero, made it more intense than before: We feel community out of our heart and that’s what makes us strong. Wherever I was in Las Vegas, I saw a fellow Hero.

We all have super powers and our powers are different. One of my super-powers is connecting people – and I hope that I was able to show this in the last few days.

Others have other powers – a few of use were able to present one of their talks – Anahit with her spciality around MSK, Anurag around data patterns and Ran on Lambda Power Tools. Others are great listeners and others have the vision of how things need to or should look in a few years – it was great to see everyones powers in one place and I know that combining them we can incluence to make things better!

Thank you, Taylor and the rest of the team, for creating this group and bringing us together again!

Working with Builders, User Group leaders and others from the community

The AWS Community consists of so much more than the Heros. Thank you, dear Community Builders – lead my Jason and the team – for being an unbelievable source of power throughtout the week. Your entuthiasm, your great ideas and your dedication are what makes us stronger. I’ve been reading a lot of the posts from Builders around the globe that were not able to make it to Las Vegas and it is energizing to see that.

The User Group Leaders that we have world wide on the other side help to thrive the AWS Community across the whole yearand bring us together regularly — to learn, to play or to share knowledge. Thank you all, for helping us to shape where the community goes and for making the community successful. I was glad to be able to meet a lot of you and share my experiences as welll as listening to your experiences.

I had the great pleasure to get the whole team of core contributors of the Speakers Directory together and we were able to present our project as well as take a picture of all of use 🙂

We are going to continue our investment and will help user group leaders to find speakers through our tool!

Working with AWS employees

This year, I’ve joined the club of many other Heros that go to sessions where they can meet AWS service team members that they have worked with before 🙂

I attended a few CodeCatalyst sessions to meet the team that I’ve been working with for more than 12 months “live and in person” and loved to see the energy and innovation live on stage – but I also attended other sessions just to say HI to certain speakers.

Employees at AWS are smart and can often tell you the perspective of WHY something has been build and it’s great to know some more background of a new feature. Thank you all for spending time with me and sharing your thoughts and passion with me!

To those AWS employees in the community and DevRel team – another big THANKS for making the event unforgettable with all of your dedication and support – I love spending time with you and creating new ideas on how to make the AWS community stronger and more engaging than ever before!

A look ahead…

As I try to use my time on the flight to put my head around what I am taking away from the last few days and from re:Invent 2023, I’m still digesting, as many others, what we have all learned and heard.

A few key take-aways:

  • AWS doesn’t feel “secure” anymore to be a market leader
  • innovation at AWS is coming (Q), but it’s still early stages
  • AWS keeps listening to their customers (see the DB2 RDS announcement and the StepFunction HTTP Integration)
  • Community Sessions (COM or DEV track) are the ones to attend at re:invent, or sessions that are AWS + a customer (level 300/400)

What I’m considering to do in the next 3 months

First of all I’m planning to cover the CodeCatalyst announcements at my YouTube channel to explain the impact of the new features to interested enterprise customers.

I’m also looking at trying out a lot of the cool things that have been announced in our AWS Speakers Directory Project, besides hosting multiple User Group meetups of the AWS UserGroup Bergstrasse.

What I’m considering to do in 2024

Of course I will continue my engagement in the AWS Förderverein DACH – we are planning another AWS Community Day in Munich next year!

I also plan to continue my work with the the CodeCatalyst team to shape the product – please let me know if YOU have input on what thte next important steps are.

I would love to work with the AWS team to, for 2024 at re:Invent organize another pre:Invent Community Hike and to talk about the possibility of hosting a complete track at re:Invent where Community Members join forces with AWS employees. I listened to a session (Ran Isenberg and Heitor Lessa) and that was a very powerful message.

Last but not least, I would like to help community members to grow and shape their careers in Cloud – if you need help or have questions, do not hesitate to reach out for questions, I’m happy to help or to connect you with someone that can help!

Thank you for reading until this point, if you have any feedback, let me know!

Views: 165

Hey, I’m going to San Francisco and Vegas to meet friends at re:Invent 2023

In this post I’m writing about how getting to re:Invent 2023 was and about how the last year has made a big impact on my personality and my efforts in the AWS community.

Thinking it couldn’t get better last year, 2023 changed me once more and leveled me up

While going to re:Invent 2022 I wrote down my thoughts and went home from re:Invent expecting things could not get better for me. But this year has prooven my expectations wrong, as the last 10 months have been life-changing in a lot of different aspects.

Blogging & Starting a YouTube channel – winning 1.5 hackathons and starting a project

When I reached my home town after last years re:Invent I knew that this community is what makes me happy and gives me back so much that I also would like to give something back. And so, I formed a few ideas in my head and started a few initiatives that I would like to share with you today:

Blogging & Writing

I have been blogging both on dev.to and on my personal blog – writing about topics and things that I do or did on a regular basis, trying to share experiences of day-to-day things and building experiences.

The most important thing for me he is to always be transarent and authentic – speaking out on things that I liked and challenges that I’ve faced.

For you reading this – thank you, for being part of my journey, for giving me feedback and for being you! Please let me know if you have any feedback on what I should change or do better.

Kicking off a YouTube channel

The last three years of my career have been focused on building secure and reliable CI/CD pipelines! But hey, there is so much more to learn. As part of my travel back to my home town after re:Invent, I had the thought to share my experiences and the experiences of other builders on a “podcast-like” YouTube channel which is today known as @cicdonaws.

Learning on how to produce a YouTube video to how to set up a good lightning and sound, preparing a script and creating better thumbnails – a lot of learnings, experiences and hours went into the videos that I have been producing.

This only kicked off because of all of the great builders that joined me on the show and shared their projects, learnings and experiences with me. Thank you all, every single one, for your time, dedication and experiences. Keep up sharing your knowledge, as this is how we can all grow!

Winning 1.5 hackathons and making a small project something big

Back in march Lily announced a, Community Builders-internal hackathon where it was possible to win some prices – and I thought I had a great idea on what to build that actually fit into the “rules” of the hackathon. And this is how the project started that has since then used up countless of hours of my after-work evenings and weekends. Millions of Slack messages have gone from Germany to US, from US and Germany to Africa and back – we kicked of a real project with our Speakers Directory that is finally ready for prime time! After becoming second in the first Hackathon, we also submitted the same project with a few tweaks for a 2nd hackathon powered by Hashnode and Amplify and this also brought us “honourable mentions” in the list of top 10.

We’re ready now to get more of you to add your talks and events! Please sign up and give us feedback, we are very proud of what we have produced so far and eager to get all of you on board!

Thanks to Danielle, Julian, Matt, Raphal, Baimam for actively working with me on this fun project – and thanks to everyone else that has supported us through 2023 to make this a bigger thing!

Organizing a community day – the EU (more technical) edition of re:Invent

Another piece last year has been organizing the AWS Community Day DACH that happened in Munich this year – it was fascinating to be part of the team that brought more than 500 AWS nerds together, including over 25 AWS Heroes and 30 Community Builers!

Thank you all for attending – and thanks for the sponsors for making this possible!

We’re up for doing this again next year – further details to be announced soon! Looking forward to see you there!

Hey, hiking before re:Invent is what you need!

And then, there is this “secret thing”: Ever since I went to re:Invent I used the sunday before re:Invent to go out “hiking” somewhere close to Las Vegas. The first two visits together with colleagues were three persons – a pretty cool small group.

Last year, they did not go with me to re:Invent, so I asked Community Builders to join me – at the end, we were nine persons from I think 8 different countries hiking together from 10 am till 5 pm – we had a lot of fun, so I decided: Let’s do this again!

Somehow, this became a bigger thing – for this years hike, we have over 50 Community Builders, Heros and UG Leaders signed up. The group became so big that the AWS Community team is helping us this year by sponsoring the transportation.

Thank you all, that you are supporting this thing – and thanks to everyone participating, I am sure this will be an amazing experience for everyone!

How and Why what I do for the community changed

Since June I can name myself an AWS Devtools Hero – which honors me a lot but also drove a bit on how and what I do for the AWS community. My work has become a little bit less “public” – a lot of my hours that I have “free” went into talking to AWS Service Teams, into mentoring other builders and helping them grow. This has lead to less new videos on YouTube and less blog posts – but instead, I’ve helped others to grow and to invest into the community – supporting the “re-start” of the AWS UG Frankfurt, the re-start of the User Groups Mainz, Karlsruhe and Heilbronn and overall making other builders “grow”. This makes me happy. Thank you all, that you are part of my journey.

Making new friends

This year has also shown to me how important relationships are and how much you can make friends by supporting each other. Friends, I’ve never met in person (Matt), friends I’ve finally met in September (Ran) and others like Markus, Thorsten, Philipp and Raphael that are part of most of my days and that I write 100s of Slack messages per week.

This is what community means! Making friends, learning, growing. Thank you, for being you!

What’s next for me?

Changing my role at work

I’ve recently moved to the global Platform Architecture team here at FICO and that gives me a lot of new possibility and learning opportunities.

The platform that FICO is building is an important one and helps organizations around the globe to take better decisions – I’m proud to be part of the team and looking forward to make this bigger than it is today.

Community Day DACH 2024

We’re already planning next year. Stay tuned for some announcements…soon!

Supporting and mentoring builders around the globe

I’m up for helping other builders grow – if you’re intersted to collaborate with me or to learn from me, reach out to me and we can talk!

If you have any CI/CD or CodeCatalyst specific topics that you would like to talk about on my channel – reach out to me!

If you need feedback, help or advice on anything (e.g. a blog post or anything else) – let me know and reach out!

Looking forward to an amazing re:Invent 2023 with a lot of friends in Las Vegas!

Have a great week – don’t be a stranger and say HI if you see me around!

Views: 264

Experiencing GenAI using PartyRock – the best applications I’ve seen until now

As a few of you might have seen, AWS has today launched PartyRock – an Amazon Bedrock Playground that can be used to generate and build applications using GenAI technologies.

PartyRock is an educational tool for providing any builder with low-friction access to learn through experimentation in a foundation model playground built on Amazon Bedrock. It is not a product or service in the traditional AWS definition and should never be referred to as such. The preferred descriptor is playground, though in most cases tool is also acceptable.

AWS

German engineering – Party from Berlin

I’ve been fortunate to be able to know people that are behind this launch and I’m excited for it, not only because a bunch of the engineering team members are part of the AWS Development Center in Germany but also because I’ve tried to not touch anything related to GenAI until this tool was made available.

After being able to look at the tool and playing around with it, I can see a lot of benefits of using Generative AI going forward and I see a lot of the value that this technology can bring us in addition to “simple ChatGPT like” Chatbots.

Build your first GenAI App with PartyRock

It’s too simple. Click on the “Generate app” button, add a prompt for Amazon Bedrock and within seconds you have a working application that uses GenAI under the hood!

Here’s an example of a prompt that I have used:

And the outcome of that: https://partyrock.aws/u/lockhead/rpZ8z9kG5/re%3AInvent-2023-DevTools-and-CICD-Attendees-Guide

Pretty cool, isn’t it? Even tho the underlying model does not have access to the session catalog (which is a pitty), I liked the outcome that you can look at in this snapshot.

Holding to it’s promises it allows you to experience with GenAI

As the introduction of the AWS team says, PartyRock really makes Bedrock accessible and gives everyone a great possibility to “try out” how the different models behave with different prompts.
I can only encourage you to try it out and make your own experiences with it. It’s worth your time!
Being part of the AWS Community (in this case, being a Hero or a Community Builder) gave us the advantage of a few hours to try this out before the official release…and this gives me the chance to already NOW present you a few cool use cases that other builders have created with this tool 🙂

PartyRock Apps & Use cases that have made me smile or bring value

It’s amazing to see how creative AWS Community Builders and Heroes are 🙂
Here a bunch of the apps that I’ve looked at and played around with and I think are worth sharing:

NameAuthorDescription
Content MarketingAWS DevTools Hero Thorsten HögerThis simple app allows you to use GenAI to create tailored Marketing Materials and post snippets for social media base on a Service Input.
Quiz GeneratorAWS Community Builder Dixit R JainGenerates questions for a specific topic that you can use in a quiz – the original idea is from Dixit, I’ve linked my version which is “remixed” and adds a language option
Event Countdown AppAWS DevTools Hero Johannes KochA simple event countdown calculator that shows you the time until a specific event starts.
Gameday Team Name GeneratorAWS Community Hero Markus OstertagGenerate your teamname for your next AWS Gameday – maybe at re:Invent in Las Vegas?
Generate Google Calendar and iCalAWS DevTools Hero Johannes KochGenerates an iCal and a Google Calendar link for your next event
Social Media AssistantAWS Community Builder Matteo DepascaleGenerates Tweets and LinkedIn posts to make your life easier
re:Invent Steps & Calory calculatorAWS DevTools Hero Johannes KochHelps you to calculate steps and calories burned when walking at re:Invent 2023 (hint: DON’T DO IT!) 🙂
TrumpifierAWS Community Builder Damien GallagherNo comments, but it was funny.
Conversation StarterAWS Community Hero Markus OstertagYou have challenges starting a conversation with your PeerTalk expert? This app will help you find the right entry words.
AWS Certification RecommenderAWS Community Builder Ganesh SwaminathanRecommends you a specific certification to do given your personal background
Bill & Ted Quote GeneratorAWS Community Builder Jenn BergstromGenerates quote from Bill & Ted based on your mood and situation
AirlineDestinationAdvisorAWS Community Hero Anders BjørnestadGet travel tips and tricks for a destination

Did you find an exciting app that I should include? Reach out to me and let me know 🙂

Where do we take it from here? How PartyRock helps and what I would love to get

PartyRock is a great starting point for experimenting with GenAI!

To take this to the next level there is a few things I’d love to get:

  1. Make your PartyRock app “yours”
    • Deploy to my AWS Account Button
    • Export to CDK / IaC Option
    • Export to CodeCatalyst Project
  2. Additional UI options
    • Radio Boxes, ComboBoxes
    • Make the applications “user aware”
    • Other generation options than text/image

Especially the first point would help developers to take action after creating the app – you could directly use the generated app and use this on your own AWS Account and this will help you understand how Bedrock fits into your existing AWS architecture.

What do you think of it? I’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts!

Time until re:Invent 2023:

Views: 423

Amazon Codecatalyst reaches “GA” status and becomes available for general use

The new service announced by Amazon in Las Vegas at re:Invent 2022 which is an integrated DevOps service to empower development teams to develop and deliver software faster finally reaches the “general availability” status. As I have previously outlined, this achievement is very important for Amazon and the CodeCatalyst team. Congratulations to the team for reaching this goal, which I can imagine is not an easy step for this product. The tool touches a lot of very sensitive parts of a software project and I can imagine the security standards being really high. 

A hugh achievement – thank you everyone in the team for investing into CodeCatalyst and for listening as closely to the customer feedback as you are!

What changes did get implemented for GA?

As part of the GA release we see a lot of minor improvements in the User Interface and color changes. In the last weeks, we have seen a few “bigger” changes – like the possibility to use Dev Environments for Github based projects. We also got “graviton based” execution environments for CI/CD workflows which, according to AWS, should reduce our costs.

It is still hard to track down all of the changes in CodeCatalyst, as there is – to my knowledge – no public or semi-public roadmap. This is one of the things that I’d love to see, as for an integrated service that is at the core of the Developer Experience for teams, any minor change can either improve or destroy the “usage experience”. If you as a team invest into adoption a new tool like CodeCatalyst, they will need to know how changes in workflow, features or user interface can influence their day-to-day activities. Let’s see, maybe the team can share “something” like a “changelog” with us (or even an RFC process like Amplify or AppSync)?

Reached “GA” – so who can start using it now?

As of today CodeCatalyst is only availble in US regions and this means that it can be adopted mainly by US enterprise customers. CodeCatalyst already gives you the possibility to set up different Spaces for your account and within a space you can manage multiple projects. So in theory, CodeCatalyst is “ready to be used” by everyone. 

Practically speaking, it is easier to adapt the service for new projects than for existing projects , as there is no real “import” functionality. Yes, you can integrate existing Github projects, but that only integrates the source code. Unfortunately that does not make all of the “cool” things available right from the start of integrating the source: existing workflows (CI/CD pipelines) are lost and need to be re-build, issues/tickets are not imported into CodeCatalyst (tho they can be made available through the JIRA integration). 

I have been regularly using CodeCatalyst (both for imported and “new” projects) – and I really think that the tool already works very well. 

The “killer feature” that I see for new projects are the “blue prints” which essentially get you started within minutes, e.g. to deploy a SPA application, or to have a “true” CI/CD pipeline for a full stack application following the DPRA

Right now I would recommend using CodeCatalyst for any new project that you start to start building out your workflows and best practices.

So what do I still need to recommend CodeCatalyst for existing projects?

There are a few things that I have already been writing about:

  • “Import” of existing CI/CD workflows (e.g. Github actions, CDK Pipelines or CodePipelines)
  • Fully import projects
    • existing issues from Github or JIRA
    • Git-based projects including the history
  • Tighter security settings and permissions
    • Fine granular roles to allow or forbid access to specific parts of a project
    • Options to allow or forbid execution of workflows (or to deployments)
  • Additional workflow options
    • Manual approvals are very high on my wish list
    • Integration of other AWS services natively

A question for the readers: What do YOU think that you need to adopt CodeCatalyst?

A big question for the CodeCatalyst team – HOW MANY AWS TEAMS ARE USING CODECATALYST FOR PRODUCTION DEPLOYMENTS TODAY?

Where do I see the potential for CodeCatalyst?

CodeCatalyst is a big bet by AWS. There is a big potential that can really improve the life of development teams and these are the main things that I believe that can out-grow other existing solutions:

  • Integration of AWS Services / deployments metrics
    • the true integration with AWS APIs
    • Integration into “post-deployment” verifications (e.g. auto roll-back after failed CloudWatch metrics)
  • “At-hand” developer support to improve efficiency
    • with CodeWhisperer (who recently reached GA) AWS already aims to support developers during the development phase, but with CodeCatalyst AWS can take this to the next level:
    • AI support during Pull Request Reviews (or automated approvals for PRs – e.g. by including CodeGuru, etc., automated merges, etc.)
    • AI support during workflow executions (when to approve, when to deloy, when to promote, etc.)
    • With improvement proposals for workflows if the “AI model” recognizes patterns (in issue workflows or CI/CD workflows)
  • With automated improvements for existing projects based on blue prints
    • Best practices change – and so blue prints change – and if the CodeCatalyst team can automatically apply them for existing projects, customers will benefit from it

And last but not least:

I trully believe that every software project should start with a CI/CD pipeline – and with the Blue Prints including the CI/CD workflow that follows DPRA and other AWS best practices, we can trully make this possible: Empower developers to deliver their software projects in minutes right after starting their project.

Do you see the potential in CodeCatalyst? If you do not see any potential in the tool – why not?

Views: 1677

Connecting to AWS AppSync using Amplify for Flutter for our Football Match Center

In the last weeks – or already months – I’ve been working together with Christian, also an AWS Community Builder, on our project named “Football Match Center”. Christian has already been writing a lot about our project on LinkedIn:

  1. Project announcement
  2. Polling 
  3. Choosing our API

Today, I want to put the attention on our chosen framework for the UI and the way that we are connecting from the UI to the backend. Our backend in this project is a GraphQL API endpoint hosted on AWS AppSync.

Building our UI in Flutter

Since last year Amplify Flutter includes support for Web and Desktop. As we are looking to reach users both on mobile as also on the desktop, choosing a cross-platform development tool like Flutter seemed to be an obvious choice. Christian and I are a small team, and we want to focus on building a simple UI quickly without the need to implement for multiple platforms and Flutter allows exactly that.

Flutter provides easily extendable widgets that can be used on all major platforms.

Connecting to our GraphQL backend

Our project is not based on an Amplify backend, but on AWS infrastructure written in AWS CDK. This made it rather difficult to use the Amplify Flutter SDK as most of the documentations and blog posts expect you to connect the Amplify SDK with an Amplify backend (which can then include a GraphQL API).

But that’s not only what made it difficult – I also had very little experience with Amplify or the Amplify SDK when starting to work on the connection.

Using the Flutter SDK for Amplify we will be connecting to our Cognito instance for Authentication and to our existing GraphQL endpoint. In this post I am going to look at the GraphQL connection and not on the integration of Cognito as an authentication endpoint.

Setting up Amplify SDK for Flutter can be done through the amplify cli if you are starting a new project.

This will then also create the required amplifyconfiguration.dart and some example code through amplify init.

You can then set up the Amplify SDK for Flutter from within your main widget using this code:

import 'package:amplify_flutter/amplify_flutter.dart';
import 'package:amplify_api/amplify_api.dart';
import 'amplifyconfiguration.dart';
import 'models/ModelProvider.dart';

….

 Future<void> _configureAmplify() async {
    final api = AmplifyAPI(modelProvider: ModelProvider.instance);
    await Amplify.addPlugin(api);
    await Amplify.configure(amplifyconfig);
    try {
      await Amplify.configure(amplifyconfig);
    } on AmplifyAlreadyConfiguredException {
      safePrint(
          'Tried to reconfigure Amplify; this can occur when your app restarts on Android.');
    }
  }

While this looks easy when reading the documentation (and a lot of very good blog posts), this was rather difficult for me as I was not able to use the amplify init command. Finding out the structure of the “amplifyconfiguration.dart” and the implementation for the “ModelProvider” were my main challenges.

Lately, the related documentation has been updated and it is now easier to work with existing resources.

The Amplify Configuration file

The Amplify Configuration (amplifyconfiguration.dart) configures all of the required Amplify Plugins. In our implementation we started with the GraphQL backend:

const amplifyconfig = """{
"UserAgent": "aws-amplify-cli/2.0",
    "Version": "1.0",
    "api": {
        "plugins": {
            "awsAPIPlugin": {
                "matchcenter": {
                    "endpointType": "GraphQL",
                    "endpoint": "https://xxxx.appsync-api.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/graphql",
                    "region": "eu-central-1",
                    "authorizationType": "API_KEY",
                    "apiKey": "xx0-3425ddregsGDE42dfw"
                }
            }
        }
    }
}""";

This tells  the Amplify SDK to talk to a specific API endpoint when the “Amplify.API” is invoked. As far as I understand this Github issue, right now only one API can be queried from a specific Amplify instance. 

When using the apiKey to do the authentication with the API, we will need to regularly update the Flutter application as the default API expires after 7 days.

This documentation was not available when we started to work on the project and I have the suspicion that Salih made this happen 🙂 (if not, still THANKS for the help you gave me! 🙂)

The ModelProvider

The ModelProvider should be a generated file, which you can generate from an existing GraphQL API. If you are using a schema that is not managed by Amplify, you will need to use “amplify codegen” based on an existing schema file. 

The command expects a schema.graphql to be available in the “root” folder of the Amplify Flutter project. If you execute “amplify codegen models”, required Dart files will be generated in the “lib/models” directory.

The result should be a file similar to this one:

import 'package:amplify_core/amplify_core.dart';
import 'Match.dart';
import 'PaginatedMatches.dart';
import 'PaginatedTeams.dart';
import 'Team.dart';
export 'Match.dart';
export 'PaginatedMatches.dart';
export 'PaginatedTeams.dart';
export 'Team.dart';

class ModelProvider implements ModelProviderInterface {
  @override
  String version = "4ba35f5f4a47ee16223f0e1f4adace8d";
  @override
  List<ModelSchema> modelSchemas = [Match.schema, PaginatedMatches.schema, PaginatedTeams.schema, Team.schema];
  static final ModelProvider _instance = ModelProvider();
  @override
  List<ModelSchema> customTypeSchemas = [];
  static ModelProvider get instance => _instance;
  ModelType getModelTypeByModelName(String modelName) {
    switch(modelName) {
      case "Match":
        return Match.classType;
      case "PaginatedMatches":
        return PaginatedMatches.classType;
      case "PaginatedTeams":
        return PaginatedTeams.classType;
      case "Team":
        return Team.classType;
      default:
        throw Exception("Failed to find model in model provider for model name: " + modelName);
    }
  }
}

Querying our GraphQL API

Now that we have been able to connect to our GraphQL AWS AppSync endpoint, we can start querying data.

Luckily, the preparations we made and the Amplify for Flutter SDK provides convenience methods that returned typed data structures that we can directly interact or work with.

You only need to write the GraphQL query that you are interested in and you can directly read data from the endpoint. In my example below I’m creating a Flutter Widget out of the returned elements and then I am adding them to a list of Widgets that I can display in a Column Widget:

Future<List<TeamWidget>> _getMatchesByCountry(String country) async {
    List<TeamWidget> teamsWidgetList = [];
    try {
      String graphQLDocument = '''query ListTeams {
        getTeamsByCountry(country: "${country}") {
            nextToken
            teams {
              PK
              PrimaryColor
              SK
              SecondaryColor
              TeamName
            }
          }
        }''';
      var operation = Amplify.API
          .query(request: GraphQLRequest<String>(document: graphQLDocument));
      var response = await operation.response;
      var data = response.data;
      if (data != null) {
        Map<String, dynamic> userMap = jsonDecode(data);
        List<dynamic> matches = userMap["getTeamsByCountry"]["teams"];
        matches.forEach((element) {
          if (element != null) {
            if (element["id"] == null) {
              element["id"] = "rnd-id";
            }
            var match = Team.fromJson(element);
            teamsWidgetList.add(TeamWidget(match));
          }
        });
      }
    } on ApiException catch (e) {
      print('Query failed: $e');
    }
    return teamsWidgetList;
  }

It is of course also possible to create, update or delete data.

Just today, we have merged a feature that adds a “subscription” to our AppSync endpoint – as as next step we plan to integrate this within the Amplify Flutter Application which will then allow us to implement notifications to the end users. Unfortunately, the Amplify SDK for Flutter does not yet support in-app messaging as it does for Javascript.

What YOU learned – and what I learned

Through this blog post you have learned how to connect an Flutter application with Amplify using the Flutter SDK for Amplify. You have also got to know our project, the “Football Match Center” – and you’ve seen some code to make your start easier when talking to a GraphQL (AppSync) backend.

I have learned to work with the Amplify for Flutter SDK and also how code generators can help you to speed up your implementation.  I’ve also gained experiences in accessing data from AppSync and on working with the returned data in Flutter.

Unfortunately, I have also found out that using the Flutter SDK for Amplify I can right now not implement the planned in-app notifications that Christian and I wanted to build for our Football Match Center to notify users about upcoming or recently completed games. 

We will need to find a workaround to that and not rely on the Flutter SDK for amplify – rather implement notifications using the flutter_local_notifications plugin or by using the Firebase possibility for notification.

Looking forward to hear your feedback if you have any ideas on how to make this happen!

In the next post about this project I will look at how we have set up our CI/CD pipeline in Amazon CodeCatalyst for this project!

Views: 487

A few personal stories from re:Invent 2022

As we are now in the post:Invent phase of 2022 and over 10 days have passed since re:Invent 2022 in Las Vegas was concluded, it’s time for a lot of re:Cap Blog posts and events.
I’ve read so many of those “major announcments” articles that I’ve decided to write a different type of re:Cap for myself this year:
Sharing a few stories from my 10+ days in Las Vegas, as they are as equally important as the technical announcements made by AWS.

Indeed, it was a great conference with a lot of learnings and a lot of very interesting sessions. I focused on Chalk Talks, Builder’s sessions and events (like Gameday) as these are not recorded.

Making new friends before re:Invent kicks off

My flight this year got moved from Saturday to Friday, so I had one more day to get over Jet-Lag. On Friday, I spend a good time shopping and besides that met with Oliver vor dinner. On saturday morning (early morning!), I looked at the AWS Community Builders Slack and found out that Traian set up a “spontanous breakfast” for the Jet-lagged folks – and I ended up sitting over two hours with different parties, having fun, chatting and getting to know people. It was exciting to meet Rafael, who had been our Solutions Architect for a while, for the first time in person – without planning it 🙂
It was also great to meet Heitor in person – the person that owns the Lambda Power Tools at AWS. His talk is now on Youtube and I would encourage you to listen to it if you are interested in Open Source.

The rest of the saturday I spend with Markus, who shared so much Las Vegas knowledge with me that I think my brain is still burning – and I would not dare to claim remembering more than half of what we discussed – but it was a great saturday which ended with meeting Philipp for dinner at “The Cheasecake factory”.

I kicked off the sunday with a lot of excitement about my very first talk at re:Invent – final technical check in the “Speaker Ready Room” for my slide deck! That needed to be early morning, because afterwards I had planned to go out hiking with fellow AWS Community Builders.

Hiking across time zones and cultures

Definately one of my highlights this year: The ever first AWS Community Builders pre:Invent Hiking Trip!

Thanks to everyone that joined – Oliver, Richard, Jenn, Ganesh, Traian, Pubudu, Niklas. It was great to see how we supported each other, had great conversations and all managed to get across different challenges we had to fight!


Thank you Oliver (and kreuzwerker) for the amazing video.
Traian, you’re my hero. Congratulations on finishing off the hike with us with. Thats an achievement noone can take away.

It was fascinating to meet you all for the first time and notice that we get a long well, without ever meeting before. That’s the power of the AWS community!

We got back at 6pm, after a over 5 hours hike, just in time to get our AWS re:Invent badges and to meet other AWS Community Builders from around the globe for a great dinner. Lilly & Jason – thanks for joining us, that really made me happy!

Welcome to re:Invent

Kicking off re:Invent with a GameDay with a great team an Jeff Barr

I decided to kick off my re:Invent on Monday with a GameDay – which is a fascinating opportunity for gamified learning. On sunday, during our hike, I had aligned with Niklas to form a team together – and the other two team members, JaeJun and Martin, we met in the morning. We had great fun, ended up 4th even tho Jeff Barr distracted us for some time as we won him on our table with a quizz. It was great meeting him in person – and I can tell you: He is a human as we are, even if his Newsblog is legendary 🙂

Meeting people from the AWS Community

I had so much great hours in Las Vegas – thanks for the time spend together, everyone that I’ve met – Stefanie, Oliver, Manuel, Mike, Stefan, Philipp, Markus, Thorsten – and others – from the german community.


Finally met Danielle and Matt in person. Another of my highlights.



The Community Builders Mixer and the User Group Leader Mixer where both great events to get to know each other better and network with great people from everywhere in the world. I met so many people that I had been interacting with in written (Slack, Twitter, LinkedIn) – it was a blast for myself.

Famous Jenga-game with AWS Heros – so much fun!

Famous Jenga-game with AWS Heros – so much fun!

Speaking at re:Invent 2022 – my DevChat

As I’ve already shared before this year I had the opportunity to speak at re:Invent – COM307 – Using CDK pipelines (in Java) to build a multi-platform Flutter application

Thanks for everyone that made this possible: Ernesto, Shantavia, Lilly, Jason, Maria! It was my biggest honor to share my experiences and my open source initiative. Looking forward to keep sharing knowledge!

Announcing Amazon CodeCatalyst

With the announcement of Amazon CodeCatalyst the conference brought for me a new service that I am eager to use and try out as I am very much interested in CI/CD on AWS.
This was for me definately the most exciting anouncement of re:Invent 2022 and I had a lot of interest to talk to the service team, product managers and others after the service had been announced. I’m looking forward to share more about that as I get to play around with it more.

Flying out

On saturday my trip to re:Invent was over and it ended as my re:Invent trip began: meeting AWS interested persons at the airport (Thanks Maria for the introduction!) and with great conversations with Oliver on the way back to Frankfurt.


Thanks to everyone that I met and talked to at re:Invent 2022 – you really made this conference be a different one for me than it was before.

I’m looking forward to hopefully meet all of you again in 2023!

Views: 348

How the AWS Community Builders program made re:Invent 2022 feel like “coming home” even tho I went there on my own

re:Invent 2022 is about to start in Las Vegas and I am really looking forward to all of the sessions, the gamified learning possibilities and all of the other things that make the conference great. But more than that, AWS re:Invent this year feels for me like “coming home” instead of “going to a conference”.

Let me explain you why:

In march 2022 I received my acceptance to the AWS Community Builders program.

 After that a lot of things changed for me and I would like to share some of them with you!

I got added to the Community Builders program and with that I gained access to great networking opportunities, sessions, talks and events and also some information that are not publicly available. Next, I introduced myself to a bunch of folks and people and quickly interacted and connected with other Builders around the globe. I saw the Call for Papers (CfP) for CDK day and we had a great panel discussion with a few builders – Danielle, Saima, Christian and Matt – about “The local cloud” at CDK Day 2022. Afterwards I attended the AWS Summit in Berlin and got to know a lot of great people of the AWS Community DACH in person (just to mention a few: Linda, Markus, Thorsten,  Aaron, Stefan, Nora, Henning…). This summit made me understand how important community work is for me and how much I gain from talking and networking – re:Meet, as Christian recently said.

I kept enjoying conversations with a lot of builders, getting to know a lot of them better. Later in the year, I kicked off the “AWS UserGroup Bergstraße” and we started having regular meetups. I also joined the “AWS Community Day DACH” organizational group and helped to found the “AWS Community Support Organization” for the AWS DACH community…and was able to give a presentation at the AWS Community Day 2022 in Dresden. I met more great members of the AWS community, got to know them in person and spend time with them.

As part of the Community Builders program there also was a CfP for talks & sessions at re:Invent 2022 – I submitted four talks and as I already mentioned I was fortunate and one of them has been selected as a DevChat for this year’s re:Invent.

At that time I decided that I would be attending re:Invent in person, to get the chance to give the talk and share my experiences. I did not know that no one from my company or close friends would be joining me in Las Vegas. I was expecting to take along a few of my close friends and colleagues. Instead, I’m on my way to re:Invent alone.

And still, I’m coming home and I have  the feeling its going to be the best re:Invent I have ever attended.

I’ll be meeting a lot of Community Builders I have never seen before – even on the flight today there were a few people I knew “from the community” and from my other investments into AWS (Tobias, Oliver, Henning, …). On Sunday, we’re going to be doing the ever-first pre:Invent Community Builders Hiking event with more than 10 builders I’ve never met before. Afterwards, we will be meeting up with more than 20 builders for a self-organized dinner event.

And then, on Monday, the conference will start where, I will feel like being part of the “big AWS builders family” that Werner was talking about at his keynote a few years ago.

The whole week is filled with meetings, 1on1, sessions – and dinners, parties,…

These things make me feel at home in Las Vegas!

Looking forward to meet all of you in person and talk, learn and have fun. Reach out if you want to meet me “live”. 😊

I can’t be more thankful to be part of this great community.

Views: 249

How to pre:Invent – how Builders, Heros and UG Leader prepare for re:Invent – attending remotely and in person

re:Invent 2022 is approaching FAST, faster than you can actually take screenshots from the official homepage with the counter on it 🙂 We just crossed the “less than 20 days to go” and a lot of AWS community members are as excited as I am for the conference to begin.

In this post your are going to learn some tips & tricks from a few AWS Community Builders, AWS User Group Leaders and Heros (and of course from myself) about how to “pre:Invent” – “prepare for re:Invent” in order to best use the conference. I have attended re:Invent remotely as well as in person – and this year I am going to be back there in person.

Some of the heros, user group leaders & builders have attended re:Invent more than 10 times (and it only happened 11 times!) – so this postis a “source of experiences” – just as Corey Quinns post 🙂

The information that are included here were collected in less than a day – and this shows how #AWSome the AWS community is – thanks for your contributions (in no particular order):

Thorsten Höger, Markus Ostertag, Niklas Westerstråhle, Ganesh Swaminathan, David Bounds, Edmund Craske, Brian Tarbox, Mike Graff, Antonio Lagrotteria, Laurens van Gunst, Jennifer Bergstrom, Andrea Cavagna, Carlos Segundo del Castillo, Brian Pfeil

What’s the most exciting Keynote that we are expecting to see?

As all of the Keynotes are live-streamed in the attendees portal (and later made available on Youtube), this applies both to in-person and to remote attendees.

Personally I know that all of the Keynotes presented at AWS will be great and will have a lot of interesting content, as I’ve been fortunate to meet Nick Walsh at the AWS Summit Berlin. Now that I know one of the persons behind the Keynotes, I do understand how they are crafted, scripted and prepared with a high degree of customer input.

Still, the “most loved” Keynote with by my interview partners is the Keynote that Werner Vogels delivery on Thursday morning – and this is in line with my personal experiences. Werner always has the more “developer” and “builders” oriented keynote with more technical details, while at the same time putting his insights (and announcements) in context to the “broader” industry experiences and best practices.

The Adam Selipsky is second on the leaderboard, especially for the announcements that he, as the current CEO of Amazon Web Services (AWS) usually makes.

Last on our top 3 we have Peter DeSantis keynote – he delivers his Keynote on Monday evening (strange time for a Keynote) but its usually great fun to watch!

Most important information for builders attending re:Invent virtually / remotely

In general I need to admit that I’ve talked to a “biased” community – most of the persons I talked with are actually attending in person. But the pandemic and the “all-virtual” re:Invent in 2020 have proven that AWS is able to deliver a “great” virtual experience aswell. In 2021 I attended the “hybrid” re:Invent (where it happened in person in Vegas again) and was able to gain a lot of value out of it for myself.

Of course, not being in person reduces the “networking” possibilities that you have with other AWS enthutiasts and community members. But you can still learn a lot and invest into your professional career – and there are great reasons, like the aim to reduce your carbon footprint (@Brian) or maybe just the long travel time. Don’t feel left our – most of the sessions are going to be available online later.

The available sessions in the session catalog are always with a very high quality and share important insights into best practices as well as implementation details.

Register an account in the AWS Events portal. For your E-Mail adress, use an address that you can later identify (e.g. lockhead+reinvent2022@lockhead.info). That will help you to later identify and delete…messages that you get from sponsors 😉

What are your most important tips for preparing for the best re:Invent experience?

Plan your week – in the right time zone!
All of the “live” sessions (last week it was only the “keynotes” and a few “leadership sessions”) are going to be taking place in the Pacific Time Zone (PST). This means, 8 am PST translates to 5 pm CET – and thats a great possibility to meet “in person” within other members of your User Group and watch the Keynotes with a few pizzas & drinks.

If you are planning to attend recorded sessions, they are usually available the day after they have been given “live” – so the monday will be “quiet” for you.

Pick a focus topic, project or product that you are interested in – and find the topics in the session catalog that match your “skill level”, this is the session “classification” table:

Level 100Level 200Level 300Level 400
IntroductoryIntermediateAdvancedExpert
Sessions are focused on
providing an overview of AWS
services and features, with the
assumption that attendees are
new to the topic.
Sessions are focused on
providing best practices, details
of service features and demos
with the assumption that
attendees have introductory
knowledge of the topics.
Sessions dive deeper into the selected
topic. Presenters assume that the
audience has some familiarity with
the topic, but may or may not have
direct experience implementing a
similar solution.
Sessions are for attendees who are
deeply familiar with the topic, have
implemented a solution on their own
already, and are comfortable with how
the technology works across multiple
services, architectures, and
implementations.

What are our most important tips for the best re:Invent experience?

Meet in person for the Keynotes live stream if you can. That is really more fun than watching them alone remotely.

Don’t sweat it (thanks Edward!)- most of the content will be available on demand, you just need to find time to watch it – so talk to your team at work and to your manager to block some time thoughout the week for the talks you are really interested in.

Write Blog posts or Social postings with questions or remarks – and talk to Builders, Heros and other AWS Community members that are attending in person if you want specific questions to be answered by a service team!

Most important information for builders attending re:Invent in person in Las Vegas

What are our most imporant tips for preparing for the best re:Invent experience?

Bring good and comfortable shoes.

Know the campus. You are going to walk “A LOT” if you switch between venues in the campus.
The shoes that you were need to make you feel good!

Be “venue aware” when choosing the sessions – in 2018, I had a day where I needed to walk from the Venetian to the Aria and back three times on the same day – thats about 14 km on a single day!

Time is precious and limited.

Plan every day wisely:
– make time for the “hallway track” (Thanks Jennifer for explaining that saying to me!) -which means being spontanous and talking to other attendees.
– plan to be staying in one or maximum two venues per day
– plan your breaks, hydrating and meeting folks you would like to meet
– a few of us are prioritizing Chat-Talks and Workshops over sessions, others do not attend much sessions at all

Besides re:Play, there are tons of other receptions or parties accross the week. Plan to go there to network.

Pack light. Expect a lot of (cool) SWAG like this one or bigger things. You might need a lot of room in your suitcase 😉

What are our tips for the best re:Invent experience?

Prioritize networking possibilities over sessions. re:Invent is once in a year the best networking opportunity that you will get.
Don’t expect too much from youself every day – if we you meet someone to talk to, don’t feel forced to rush to the next session you had planned!

Attend the Keynotes. At least Werner’s (thursday morning) and Andys (tuesday morning).

Type down “things to look at later” on your phone – or you will actually forget the “most important thing” that you have learned during re:Invent 🙂

Regularly re-view the session catalog as new sessions are added on a daily or even hourly basis. Otherwise you might miss out on the most important one for your future career 😉

Which session are you most interested in/looking forward to?

This question was the most interesting one for me – as there is no “consens” across the group of Builders, Heros and UG Leaders that I talked to.
Everyone is different and has different interests – a few of us are going to not attend a lot of sessions and rather meet other builders and talk to them, a few are signed up for >10 sessions and can hardly choose their favorites – and others are focused on AI/ML sessions.

This is one of the things I really like about re:Invent – everyone attending will find “something” to learn, experience and take away – regardless of your skill level or role.

I was a little bit sad that none of my interview partners actually mentioned my own session, a DevChat, as her or his favorite session they are most interested in 🙂

COM307– Using CDK pipelines (in Java) to build a multi-platform Flutter app, Wednesday 12/30 at 1:30 pm PST at the EXPO

I hope to see a few of you there!

Let’s meet up in person!

For all of you that you are attending re:Invent in person – let me know in the comments or by mail – or by LinkedIn if you want to meet up.

I’m looking forward meet in person and have great conversations!

Views: 694

How to start your own AWS User Group aka Meetup?

In this article, you are going to learn about “HOW” to start and create your own, personal AWS User Group. You are going to learn about resources that will help you to get started and a few tips and tricks to get through the first few meetups.
The best thing:
These are all “real world” information that I’ve encountered myself in the last months when starting the “AWS User Group Bergstrasse“.

What is an AWS User Group / Meetup?

An AWS User Group – also known as “AWS Meetup” is a losely-coupled group of individuals that are intersted to connect, network, have fun together and…maybe…also talk a little bit about AWS, Amazon Web Services, Cloud Computing, Serverless, re:Invent and millions of other topics!
Usually, one to two “talks” (20 – 30 min, technical sessions) are presented in an event with AWS specific topics or experiences.

Most of the User Groups meet regularly in a 4-8 weeks cadence. Pre-COVID19, the User Groups where mostly “in-person” events. With COVID19, a lot of the User Groups moved to “virtual” events and not all of the User Groups have re-started “in-person” events.

Why should you start an AWS User Group / Meetup?

AWS User Groups are a great possibility to build up your professional network, to talk to other people that have the same interest or passion that you have – for AWS, AWS Services or any other topic you are interested in.
In the User Group meetings, you will be able to learn from other builders or engineers in your area (or maybe also from further away) – and you will be able to share experiences and improve your day-to-day work.

Wait..there is more…

Usually meetups are accompanied with drinks & food!

…and if you, as an User Group Leader, do things right, they might be “for free” because you have found a sponsor or host for your User Group 🙂

So how do you get started?

Just DO it!

Don’t wait or ask for permission.
Talk to your co-workers or maybe friends or other people in your network and the “Kick-Off” your User Group on a platform that you want to use to host your event.
I personally use Meetup.com and a lot of other User Group Leader do the same.
When you created you “public” group, start sharing and promoting it in your network on Twitter, LinkedIn or other channels.

Now, the users should start “registering” or “signing up” for your User Group.

Ideally, you would have a few people registered to get informed about new events by this stage.

After promoting your group, the next thing is to start planning your FIRST EVENT!

Your first event

Before inviting your User Group members to your first event, it might make sense to use a questionnaire with the “best day” to meet. I did that and got interesting results – so now, our User Group has chosen “Monday” as our “normal” day to meet.
Ask your User Group members about “interests” and “cloud usage” experience – that will help you to choose topics for the first sessions.

For your first event, the most important thing that you need is a location. Ask your employeer, a co-working space in your area or other locations that you can use to “host” your event. The AWS Community page has an FAQ that covers a bunch of additional ideas.

Don’t over-prepare -you can just get started “as easy as possible”:
– get “one topic” that will be discussed at the first event
– think about a “cool” way of bringing your members together – we did an “agile game” in our first event and that brought a lot of fun for all of us.

Cover some introductions in the first event, name tags, so everyone feels comfortable talking and approaching others.
But the most important thing is, as I already mentioned:

Just DO it!

Tips & Tricks for the first few meetups

Use the first event to find out the best cadence for your group and additional topics that the group members want to talk about.
We were able to find speakers within the group to talk about “starting” things and topics: AWS CDK, Terraform, Projen – the most important thing of these talks is to “start discussions” and get attendees to talk about their experiences as part of the “networking” session 🙂

Our second event was in a “Biergarten” and 100% focused on a good networking experience and building relations – that was a great evening! 🙂

Don’t over – plan, if you are able to secure the location for the next two to three events and have at least one speaker, you should be good to go.

Resources to help you

Me 🙂 – feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn or through E-Mail.

AWS Community Landing Page
AWS User Groups Overview
AWSCommunity Support E-Mail

…and tons of other very helpful User Group leaders on LinkedIn, Twitter or other channels.

What do you do next?

After you started your User Group succesfully, please LET ME KNOW – I want to hear about your success story and how I can improve this article.

I will also help you to get connected to the AWS Community Management team which will then onboard you to the AWS User Group Leaders Slack, will be able to support you with potential speakers, AWS credits and SWAG! 🙂

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