Begin is a platform built on top of AWS that focuses on serverless functions and API. It supports static websites using CloudFront as CDN. It's open-source and doesn't lock you in. You can export code and use raw AWS.
- Website: begin.com
- Founded: 2015
- Infrastructure: AWS
- Serverless: Node.js
Brian Leroux and Ryan Block founded Begin in 2015. At first, it was supposed to be a chat-based tasking product. That product failed. Begin pivoted to serverless tooling and eventually created a full cloud platform for serverless functions and static sites.
Staging and production environments
You can only deploy an app to production if it builds in a staging environment. This means it will automatically build the main git branch as you deploy changes. Unfortunately, Begin doesn't build other branches nor pull requests.
If you click the "Deploy to Production" button, you will see a popup with an optional field for release notes. It's cool, but if you already use Github releases or Pull Requests, that might be a bit odd and unnecessary step for you.
Tools like Netlify and Vercel got us used to each commit's unique preview URL on every branch and pull request. That removes the staging environment since everything that is not production is a test or staging environment.
Run the app on your own AWS account
Begin gives you an option to export your app and run it directly on the AWS platform. It uses the Architect framework to make deployment easier.
Begin is a straightforward serverless platform. It's not perfect and misses a few things that most other tools have out of the box. The main advantage for sure is the zero lock-ins. The ability you can eject and use Arc makes it a great choice for developers who eventually want to
- Automatic HTTPS
- Zero lock-ins, you can eject from Begin anytime
- Isolated staging and production environment
- Static web sites.
- Serverless API functions
- Backend for mobile apps
- Slack apps