I’ve set myself a challenge to attend at least 3 meetups a month, which includes 1 I’ve never attended before. Click here to read about the other meetups I’ve attended this year.

Here is my progress so far:
Meetups attended in 2020: 7/36
New meetups attended in 2020: 3/12
(Last updated 10th March 2020)

Event: Smart Devs User Group Feb Meetup
Date: 7:00pm Monday 11th February 2020
Hosts: Joe Collins and Ryan O’Neill
Location: Blue Boar in Ludlow, Shropshire
Talk: Serverless Architecture
Presenter: James Randall
Website: https://ryanoneill1970.github.io/smartdevs/

Here we are with meetup #4 for 2020, and the second which I’d never attended before.

When mentioning my meetup challenge to friends, some said I was mad – and I don’t think their wrong. Most meetups take place in cities, and it takes over an hour and a half with good traffic to get to Birmingham, the nearest city. I’ve been some in Coventry, which is even further away. Driving to these faraway locations has proven to be challenging, on one occasion I had to abandon my journey due to car trouble.

Some more supportive acquaintances have informed me of a nearby meetup that I might be interested in. This elusive meetup supposedly takes place in Hereford, however I’ve yet to discover it. Fortunately, my search did lead me to the Smart Devs User Group in Ludlow – a small market town, with a castle that I’ve been meaning to visit. Unlike many previous meetups I’ve attended, I didn’t have to worry about leaving work early to get to the meetup in time. Ludlow is only 20 minutes away from the office.

This meetup took place in a pub called the Blue Boar, who provided a delicious feast of pizza and chips – all paid for by Zengeti.

The Talk

The main talk was by James Randall, and was about Serverless Architecture – it also had a subtitle: “Writing more elegant Azure functions”. I have no experience with Azure, so some of the more practical aspects of this talk went over my head a bit.

James started out by talking about some of the advantages of serverless architecture. The key points being low cost and scalability, although there are some disadvantages like fault tolerance issues. He demonstrated these advantages well by giving a few real world examples of serverless applications he’s worked on:

  1. Bookmark Reading – a charity designed to help children learn to read by getting them in touch with volunteers who can teach them. This application was used by a small number of non-technical people. A serverless solution enabled the creation of a system that could easily scale – there was little use for the first 6 months, but usage has increased since then.
  2. Sporting Event Website – A system that shared real time geodata with users. Just like the bookmark reading application, the ability to scale up or scale down depending on demand was essential as the load had a tendency to spike suddenly.
  3. Mobile Payment process – A system that manages mobile payments. This had a high load requirement, with millions of message being processed a day. This one had a few issues with fault tolerance.

The talk ended with a demonstration of how to use Function Monkey – a framework that provides an alternative method to writing Azure Functions that is attribute free. I struggled to understand a lot of this section of the talk, however I did make several notes with key words which I’ve been researching. I’ve provided a few interesting links I’ve found that might help someone get started.

Further Reading

Click here to see more blog posts about meetups I’ve attended in 2020.