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Chalice vs Serverless: What are the differences?


Chalice and Serverless are both frameworks that enable developers to build and deploy serverless applications easily. They have some key differences that make them distinct from each other. Below are six key differences between Chalice and Serverless:

  1. Main Programming Language Support: Chalice is primarily designed for Python developers, as it uses Python as its main programming language. On the other hand, Serverless supports multiple programming languages like JavaScript, Python, Ruby, Java, C#, and more.

  2. Deployment and Management: Chalice simplifies the deployment process by leveraging AWS CloudFormation. It automatically provisions and manages the necessary AWS resources for the application. Serverless, on the other hand, allows deployment to multiple cloud providers and also provides additional features like plugin architecture for easy integration with different services.

  3. Developer Experience: Chalice is focused on providing a minimalistic and easy-to-use experience for Python developers. It provides a built-in local development server, automatic IAM role creation, and seamless integration with AWS services. Serverless has a more extensive ecosystem and provides a rich set of plugins and integrations, making it suitable for more complex use cases.

  4. Architecture and Framework: Chalice is designed to be a lightweight framework, aimed at building simpler serverless applications with less configuration. It follows a straightforward AWS Lambda-based architecture and provides abstractions for common serverless patterns. Serverless is a comprehensive framework that enables developers to build complex applications by offering a higher level of abstraction. It supports various providers, not just AWS Lambda, and includes features like event handling, resource provisioning, and infrastructure management.

  5. Vendor Lock-In: Chalice is tightly integrated with AWS and is focused on building serverless applications specifically on AWS Lambda. This can lead to vendor lock-in, as it may be challenging to migrate to a different cloud provider. Serverless, on the other hand, offers multi-cloud support and allows developers to write applications that can be deployed on different cloud providers. It provides a more portable and vendor-agnostic solution.

  6. Community and Support: Chalice is an AWS-supported project and benefits from the extensive AWS developer community and resources. It has an active GitHub repository and regular updates. Serverless is an open-source project with a larger community and ecosystem, leading to a broader range of plugins, integrations, and community support.

In summary, Chalice is a lightweight and Python-focused framework tailored for simpler serverless applications, tightly integrated with AWS Lambda. Serverless, on the other hand, is a comprehensive framework supporting multiple programming languages, multiple cloud providers, and offering a higher level of abstraction for building complex serverless applications.

Decisions about Chalice and Serverless

When adding a new feature to Checkly rearchitecting some older piece, I tend to pick Heroku for rolling it out. But not always, because sometimes I pick AWS Lambda . The short story:

  • Developer Experience trumps everything.
  • AWS Lambda is cheap. Up to a limit though. This impact not only your wallet.
  • If you need geographic spread, AWS is lonely at the top.
The setup

Recently, I was doing a brainstorm at a startup here in Berlin on the future of their infrastructure. They were ready to move on from their initial, almost 100% Ec2 + Chef based setup. Everything was on the table. But we crossed out a lot quite quickly:

  • Pure, uncut, self hosted Kubernetes — way too much complexity
  • Managed Kubernetes in various flavors — still too much complexity
  • Zeit — Maybe, but no Docker support
  • Elastic Beanstalk — Maybe, bit old but does the job
  • Heroku
  • Lambda

It became clear a mix of PaaS and FaaS was the way to go. What a surprise! That is exactly what I use for Checkly! But when do you pick which model?

I chopped that question up into the following categories:

  • Developer Experience / DX 🤓
  • Ops Experience / OX 🐂 (?)
  • Cost 💵
  • Lock in 🔐

Read the full post linked below for all details

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Pros of Chalice
Pros of Serverless
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    • 14
      API integration
    • 7
      Supports cloud functions for Google, Azure, and IBM
    • 3
      Lower cost
    • 1
      Auto scale
    • 1

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    - No public GitHub repository available -

    What is Chalice?

    The python serverless microframework for AWS allows you to quickly create and deploy applications that use Amazon API Gateway and AWS Lambda.

    What is Serverless?

    Build applications comprised of microservices that run in response to events, auto-scale for you, and only charge you when they run. This lowers the total cost of maintaining your apps, enabling you to build more logic, faster. The Framework uses new event-driven compute services, like AWS Lambda, Google CloudFunctions, and more.

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    What companies use Chalice?
    What companies use Serverless?
    See which teams inside your own company are using Chalice or Serverless.
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    What tools integrate with Chalice?
    What tools integrate with Serverless?

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    What are some alternatives to Chalice and Serverless?
    Zappa makes it super easy to deploy all Python WSGI applications on AWS Lambda + API Gateway. Think of it as "serverless" web hosting for your Python web apps. That means infinite scaling, zero downtime, zero maintenance - and at a fraction of the cost of your current deployments!
    Flask is intended for getting started very quickly and was developed with best intentions in mind.
    JavaScript is most known as the scripting language for Web pages, but used in many non-browser environments as well such as node.js or Apache CouchDB. It is a prototype-based, multi-paradigm scripting language that is dynamic,and supports object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles.
    Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.
    GitHub is the best place to share code with friends, co-workers, classmates, and complete strangers. Over three million people use GitHub to build amazing things together.
    See all alternatives