January 2019 Meetup

It was a dark and stormy night when we kicked off our first meetup of 2019. Ok, maybe not dark, but there was a lot of heavy rain, and despite that many of you braved that to join us for a great night.

With the new year come some changes to the User Group as well. After the re:Invent recap in December our founder, Rob Linton, decided to take a step back from running the User Group and hosting the actual meetups. He is still involved but behind the scenes. The other organisers, Rob Amos and Chris Coombs, then recruited Arjen Schwarz to fill this gap.

But, that wasn’t the only change. This very website is new as well and will serve as the home for the user group going forward. Don’t worry, the Meetup page isn’t going away, but this gives us more possibilities for the future. One of which is that it makes it easier to find videos of the presentations by our speakers. We started with this last year as an experiment, and going forward we plan to live stream all meetups, and you can watch the recordings at a later date as well.

In addition, we would like to point to our code of conduct. While we trust that everyone will behave appropriately, we believe that having a code of conduct helps new members feel more at ease.

There are more ideas to come in the future as well, and if you wish to be involved in some way (big or small) you can find more information on the Get Involved page, or join the #volunteers channel in Slack. As always, feel free to reach out directly to any of the organisers as well.

So, that’s a lot of news about the User Group itself! Let’s now move back to our not so dark and stormy night itself. Which is where we moved on to a new format for our usual news segment. This has now become a discussion between Chris and Arjen where we talk about some of the most interesting new releases since the last Meetup. My personal favourite part of this is “Finally in Sydney” where we highlight what services are now finally available in Australia. For this month that consisted of the following:

After the news segment, it was time for the first of our fantastic talks. Sam Hallawell took us through the Well-Architected Framework, specifically with an eye on how to review this using a Well-Architected Review. He took us through the essential parts of why it’s important and what you get out of it. It’s important to note that while previously you had to go through AWS or a consulting partner, at re:Invent AWS released a tool to do a review yourself. If you wish to learn more, I recommend you watch the below video to hear it in Sam’s own words or have a look at his slides.


Following Sam’s talk, there was our usual marketplace segment. This is where we ask people who are looking to hire to give a short pitch so people can find them. If you’re either looking for work or hiring, this is an excellent reason to come to the meetup. That said, if you missed it or don’t want to wait until the next meetup, the #jobs channel in our Slack is a good place for this as well.

Then we ended with our final talk of the evening. Kate Lanyon explained how, why, and when to use AppSync in combination with GraphQL. As this talk is based on her own experience building a backend for her company’s mobile app, it is full of little hints that might save you time when you need to build something similar. Again, Kate explains it far better than I can, so the below video is the best way to learn from her, or you can download her slides.


Finally, we want to acknowledge that none of this is possible without our sponsors. This year we once again have sponsors for the entire year, with Innablr as our gold sponsor, and Bulletproof as our silver sponsor. Many thanks to them for ensuring we have food and drinks available for all of you.