The AWS Advent Calendar: Simplifying the AWS

February 20, 2019
There’s a fine line between the usefulness of a service and our ability to make sense of it. Amazon Web Services have changed the way we interact with the Internet as both a tool and an economic aid. However, because AWS is a cloud-based conglomeration of ever-advancing code, it requires a studious user base.

In response to this complexity, AWS users have formed community hubs aimed to make the use of this product simpler. Enter the AWS Advent Calendar – which we contributed to this past year. This advent calendar offers the AWS user base an opportunity to share their knowledge of individual services with one another in a different forum than just speaking. Being a forum that is driven by the community for the community the calendar dives deep into each of the AWS’s available features, making their functions comprehensible and building communal bridges between users through peer-relayed experience. The variety in topics shows the breadth of use and trends of what the community is using and getting value from.

As an AWS Advent contributor, you’ll:

  • Become a communicative part of a bustling, creative community
  • Explore different perspectives on and hidden gems within the AWS
  • Help other AWS users overcome technical obstacles
  • Expand a user-driven archive of information on an ever-evolving service

Demystifying AWS

One of these community hubs is AWS Advent. Founded by Brandon Burton and currently helmed and edited by Jennifer Davis, John Varghese, and Ed Anderson this ongoing project is a yearly breakdown of AWS’s many parts. Without enough contributions, the advent calendar risks becoming bi-yearly instead of yearly. Even so, the balance of information and archiving older posts allows the curious to read posts published as far back as 2012. This veritable library of information on AWS’s development serves as a center for curious and perturbed AWS users, who are trying to better integrate Amazon’s many online services into their businesses.

This calendar can be used in any number of ways. Brandon Burton, in his post announcing the initiation of the project, notes that the AWS Advent Calendar is meant to explore all manner of AWS features, including but not limited to RDS, strategies for bootstrapping, Puppet/Chef, and the automation of AWS usage. Though the project originally found a home on Yahoo’s Tumblr, it now provides its participants with updates on Twitter and through its stand-alone website.

The goal of the AWS Advent Calendar is to help newcomers to AWS understand the capabilities of themselves and their services through practical language while also driving those well-versed in the AWS to share their knowledge with others. Users more familiar with the operations of AWS also have the opportunity to come at AWS with fresh eyes and understand concepts that may have escaped them upon their initial entry into the service’s use.

Contributions to the AWS Advent Calendar

Davis and Varghese have invited users to contribute articles of their own the AWS Advent Calendar. This diversity of inclusion brings not only a wide range of perspectives on different elements of AWS, but it also provides readers and writers alike with a sense of community and the ability to pose questions without fear of professional judgment.

The posts we contributed to the AWS Advent Calendar include:

Each of these posts – and the others that have been archived – include an in-depth exploration of a specific element of AWS, as presented from the perspective of someone with experience in the topic at hand. That said, these articles are also exceptionally readable. While the jargon in each article may bog down someone who is unfamiliar with the language that coders use in their industry, seasoned IT department members will be able to breeze through them.

Lohika’s participation in the AWS Advent Calendar is an opportunity for us to share what we know about AWS with a broader community of users, thereby making interaction with AWS all the easier for more people in the future. We encourage you to take a look at some of the posts shared this past December, for an idea of the kind of questions you can ask about AWS and the various ways you can use it to your advantage. Share your own wealth of information, too! The process of writing for the AWS Advent Calendar is straightforward and community-oriented. Take a look at the calendar’s author sign up and contribute to the greater understanding and functionality of the AWS.