Web Console vs IaC

Understand the advantages of using IaC and the pitfalls of relying on the AWS console for all development.

AWS web console

AWS provides a web console with a strong UI interface. As a result, developers usually begin their AWS journey with this web console. It’s perfect for learning concepts.

This console is suitable for an introduction, but this isn’t the way to go. When we create resources on the web console, we often lose track of what we’ve done. That leads to conflicts in the environments because we can’t replicate the test environment to the production environment.

We can’t record the infrastructure built using the web console. For example, what would happen if someone deletes a resource by error? If our infrastructure base is vast, it would be difficult to identify the missing resource, and we don’t have a defined process to get it back.

Infrastructure as code (IaC)

AWS provides the concept of infrastructure (IaC) as code to avoid such problems. With it, we can write a concise source code that AWS interprets into an infrastructure. Furthermore, such code can be tracked easily under version control.

Moreover, we can easily save and replicate it or fix any issues.

We have several different frameworks for such IaC. Cloudformation is widespread and commonly used in the industry. OpenAPI is another popular specification for defining APIs. We’ll use it in combination with the CloudFormation templates.

Don’t worry if you aren’t an expert in CloudFormation. The templates are intuitive to read, so you can follow them as you work on the examples. A crash course on CloudFormation is at the end of this course. You can use that to brush up on the concepts.

The web console is intuitive and easy to learn. However, IaC requires a little initial effort. Because of that, many developers procrastinate and stay hooked to the web console. That compulsion is something we need to overcome.

In this course, we’ll introduce topics through the web console, which is easy to understand. We’ll implement the APIs using IaC, though. There’s fully-commented source code for each lesson. You can use this to deploy into AWS with a click. You can also save the code for later reference.

The Educative Code Playground makes it easy to work. Follow the steps below to set up the user credentials and start working in the playground.

AWS region

AWS services are available in different geographical regions. There are minor differences between these regions regarding the availability of services and their costs.

The North Virginia region (us-east-1) is the best for learning because it has all the services for the lowest cost.

Note: The us-east-1 region may not be great for production workloads if you’re located far from it. That’s because hosting in a distant region adds network latency and data transfer costs to the application. It’ll serve for the purposes of this course, however.

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