DevIQ is leveraging AWS Amplify to build and ship applications quickly and cost-effectively for some mid-size businesses, innovation teams, and startups. Here's a quick review of Amplify's benefits and limitations, along with observations and recommendations from our AWS Cloud Certified team.
While the AWS Amplify platform is complex and frequently updated, mid-size businesses, innovation teams, and rising startups have partnered with DevIQ + AWS to take advantage of product development speed now – and enjoy operational efficiencies later. Should you consider AWS Amplify for your next web or mobile app? Start with this introduction to AWS Amplify and how we’re using it, with a few tips about its limitations.
What is AWS Amplify?
AWS describes Amplify as "a complete solution that lets frontend web and mobile developers easily build, ship, and host full-stack applications on AWS, with the flexibility to leverage the breadth of AWS services as use cases evolve.”
AWS Amplify Benefits
Amplify has helped our cloud engineering experts significantly accelerate application development, fast-track GTM (go to market), and streamline infrastructure management – making it a strong choice for projects with compatible requirements.
Amplify handles the AppSync configuration behind the scenes. This leverages a fully managed WebSocket client integrated with AWS AppSync, streamlines development, and simplifies complexity. With this solution, AppSync empowers clients to subscribe to specific backend events effortlessly. It automates the management of connections between clients and the API endpoint, ensuring that any supported data source in AWS AppSync becomes real-time without the need for manual intervention. This setup enables a backend service to effortlessly distribute data to connected clients, or even allows clients to communicate with one another, depending on the specific use case. The orchestration of real-time data, connection management, scalability, fan-out, and broadcasting is seamlessly handled by intelligent client libraries and the AppSync platform itself. Consequently, developers can direct their focus towards crafting application business use cases and meeting requirements, without grappling with the intricate infrastructure required to manage WebSocket connections at scale.
Scalability & Performance
AWS Amplify provides scalability and performance capabilities to meet growing user demand – with some limitations (like multi-region support) that may not impact you or may be circumvented by a cloud solution partner. As our clients’ products gains traction in the market, we’ve found Amplify’s serverless architecture and cloud-based services to scale easily and on demand with optimal performance because we knew it could. While getting excited about Amplify’s inherent efficiencies for development and infrastructure management, consider what you’ll need to stay up and running during peak loads.
Versatile Platform Support
AWS Amplify can be especially helpful for maximizing a product’s market potential right out of the gate. We’ve found it to be versatile across a wide range of devices and operating systems: Amplify’s libraries provide support for popular web and mobile frameworks (including React, Angular, Vue, iOS, Android, and Flutter), and its UI components enable a consistent user experience across platforms.
Efficient & Repeatable Provisioning
AWS Amplify simplifies backend operations with a set of prebuilt tools and features that enable quick setup and management of backend services (including authentication, REST/ GraphQL APIs, storage, and more). Under the hood, it uses AWS CloudFormation, an infrastructure as code (IaC) service that enables us to store all backend configurations in a code repository, making it easy to rinse and repeat. It’s important to note that Amplify isn’t a complete replacement for traditional backend development, e.g., there may be times when you need to look directly into the services that Amplify leverages to understand behavior and manage more granular configuration .
Does AWS Amplify fit your application project?
When evaluating the suitability of AWS Amplify for your web or mobile application, consider the trade-offs. For example, we mentioned the Amplify’s ease of scalability as a benefit – but some projects will require a more complex solution now to meet user demand later.
1. Complexity & Control – Amplify may not be the ideal choice for highly complex projects or those requiring extensive control over the infrastructure. In our experience, it’s best for small- to mid-size projects with well-defined goals.
2. AWS Services Support – While some customization is possible with expertise, not all AWS services are supported by Amplify. If your project already relies on a specific AWS service that’s not supported, or if granular control is crucial, we recommend exploring other ways to achieve development & operations efficiencies with AWS.
3. Multi-region Limitation – If your application requires multi-region failover support, you will need to manually create AWS CDK configuration to configure your assets for multi-region, or manually configure the infrastructure after Amplify has created the resources. For example, your DynamoDB tables will need to enable global tables, and your Amplify backend will need to point to those tables instead of creating new tables in the alternate region. It’s also important to note that AWS Cognito authentication is also single region, so you will need to export that data into a DynamoDB global table, and import it into the Cognito instance in the alternate region. A recommended approach is to store all Amplify data in an alternate region with backups. In the event of a regional outage, if your business can tolerate an RTO of 24 hours, and an RPO of <1 hour, this might be a viable option for a multi-region disaster recovery backup. This will allow developers time to recreate the Amplify application in an alternate region, which can be reconfigured in AppSync to point to the existing tables.
Customized Development or Optimized AWS Amplify?
How to Decide.
Ultimately, every organization wants to achieve a competitive edge via strategy, quality, cost-effectiveness, and speed. Modern cloud solutions often require custom software application development for good reason. But DevIQ + AWS Amplify has been a right fit for some of our mid-size business customers and startup projects – especially with smart optimization strategies. When technology and business requirements line up with Amplify’s capabilities, we’ve found it to be a high-performing, fast, and economical solution for market-ready applications.
DevIQ, October 2023