Taking a look at some popular Serverless frameworks

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Want to build advanced applications faster without worrying about the underlying server infrastructure? Yes, that is why app developers are now flocking to the new big thing, Serverless. This is no longer a buzzword. It’s happening out there. The global market for serverless architecture is set to increase from around $3 billion (in 2017) to nearly $22 billion by the year 2025.

Of course, you know that serverless does not mean eliminating backend servers from running applications. You also know all too well that serverless is a cloud computing model where all applications are deployed to an external cloud infrastructure that is configured and maintained by cloud providers.

But what are serverless frameworks – and which are the leading frameworks to look out for in 2021?

What is a Serverless framework?

Developed using the Node.js language, a serverless framework is a tool used to deploy serverless applications to a cloud service provider. As part of Amazon Web Services (AWS), the first serverless framework was AWS Lambda released in October 2015. This is a particular favorite of ours, as you would have gathered from the news of Forgeahead getting certified as a Service Delivery Partner for AWS Lambda. 

Since then, there have been many more frameworks released in the cloud market.

Some leading Serverless Frameworks

Here is a roundup of 9 serverless frameworks that makes it easy to create serverless applications for deployment on the cloud:

  1. AWS Lambda

Among the widely used frameworks, AWS Lambda from Amazon is supported on popular languages including Node.js, Python, Java, and Ruby. With this framework, users can now create self-contained applications and functions (written in any of its supported languages) and upload the application to the AWS Lambda cloud platform.

Major Pros:

  • Works well with other AWS-related services
  • Custom runtimes feature that allows users to run an AWS Lambda function in any language
  • Optimized for event-driven data processing
  • Automatic scaling feature for creating as many function instances as requested

Cons:

  • Relatively higher latency of 5-10 seconds between events and functions
  • Timing out of Lambda functions after 15 minutes
  1. Zappa

Zappa is a Python-based serverless framework that allows event-driven applications to be deployed to AWS Lambda. Zappa is rated to be highly reliable because of zero downtime and maintenance – along with infinite scaling capability at minimum costs.

Major Pros:

  • Easy to deploy all Python applications on AWS Lambda and API Gateway
  • Cost-effective cloud architecture
  • Allows the serverless deployment for Flask and Django
  • Automatic configuring of deployment settings

Cons:

  • Usually not recommended for building services from scratch
  1. Microsoft Azure Functions

Developed by Microsoft, Azure Functions is supported on both Windows and Linux runtime environments. Additionally, it is supported in development languages including C#, JavaScript, Java, Python, and PowerShell.

Major Pros:

  • Good choice for companies invested in the Microsoft and Windows stack
  • Reliable API management service
  • Stateful applications are supported with Durable Functions extension
  • Available built-in tools in MS Visual Studio for developing, testing, and publishing serverless applications

Cons:

  • Complex and relatively expensive pricing model
  • Limitations on scaling capability
  1. AWS Amplify

AWS Amplify is another serverless framework that allows the development and deployment of web and mobile apps to the cloud platform. With AWS Amplify, both mobile and web applications can be connected to AWS resources with just a few lines of code. Additionally, users can deploy a variety of web applications including single-page apps, server-side apps, and websites.

Major Pros:

  • Supported popular web frameworks including React, Angular, and Next.js
  • Supported on mobile platforms like Apple iOS, Android, and Flutter
  • Integration of multiple UI elements for faster app development
  • Support for third-party development tools including CLI, Analytics, and API tools (GraphQL, REST)

Cons:

  • Slow learning curve due to integration with AWS services
  • The high number of configuration settings
  1. AWS Chalice

AWS Chalice is another serverless framework used to build and deploy applications on AWS Lambda and API Gateway. This framework is also suited for deploying serverless applications created using Python.

Major Pros:

  • CLI tool for creating and deploying applications
  • API functionality for integrating with other AWS services
  • Support for Terraform and CloudFormation

Cons:

  • Less flexible than other frameworks
  • Limited options for deployment
  1. Architect

Architect utilizes Node.js and NPM to make and manage the AWS serverless architecture. Additionally, it provides a local development workflow for developers to write and test application code on the local machine.

Major Pros:

  • Infrastructure-as-Code” feature for compiling code into a preconfigured AWS infrastructure
  • Built-in security without any additional configuring

Cons:

  • Slow learning curve
  1. Claudia.js

Claudia.js is an open-source JavaScript-based serverless framework using which app developers can create and deploy Node.js projects to AWS Lambda and API Gateway. Among its strengths, Claudia can automate development-related tasks and configure a JavaScript environment automatically.

Major Pros:

  • A single command for deploying and managing application instances
  • Works seamlessly with NPM packages
  • Supports version management
  1. Serverless

Among the popular Node.js serverless framework, Serverless can help in building serverless applications and deploying them to AWS Lambda and Google CloudFunctions. With Serverless, developers can create apps that use microservices to respond to events.

Major Pros:

  • Event-driven compute services including AWS Lambda and Google CloudFunctions
  • Supported multiple languages including Node.js, Python, Java, and C#
  • Open-sourced framework with contributors on GitHub
  1. Project Flogo

Written using Golang programming language, Project Flogo is a lightweight microservice framework that allows easy deployment of serverless applications to AWS Lambda. 

Major Pros:

  • 20 to 50 times lighter than Java or Node.js applications
  • Allows app deployment as serverless functions or as static binaries on IoT devices
  • Event-driven programming model where apps are driven only by triggers and actions

Conclusion

As an application development company, you want to select the right serverless framework that can work for your application and business needs. If you already partnering with either Amazon or Microsoft, it may be best to stick to their serverless offering. 

Apart from that, here are some factors that should help you decide on the best cloud provider:

  • How are your app functions going to be triggered?
  • Is their pricing model suited to your cloud budget?
  • Which programming languages are supported?
  • Which are the Serverless APIs that you are planning to use?
  • What is the overall concurrency and execution time?

As a recognized partner for AWS and with rich experience across various environments, Forgeahead can help drive a smooth transition of your applications to serverless cloud architecture. We offer a range of benefits like cost-effectiveness, scalability, and faster go-to-market. Get a free consultation from our experts today.

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