AWS has a vast catalog of services that you can use in your applications. But with over 200 products and services, that range from storage and database to networking, analytics and monitoring, how do you know which ones to use? If navigating through the AWS service list keeps you up at night, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I’ll show you the top 5 AWS services that you should know in 2021. All these services are available in the OutSystems open-source repository, the Forge, for you to easily add to your apps.

First Things First

Before we get started, make sure you have an AWS account so that you can configure access to this list of services. I’ll also show you how you can add them to your OutSystems apps, so if you’re not an OutSystems user yet and want to give these services a try, you can set up a free account here.

Start by creating, in AWS console, the needed users with the preferred level of access to generate access credentials. These credentials will be stored in Site Properties for each component that you’ll use. Given the sensitive information make sure that you have the right practices in place to secure this data.

1. Amazon S3

amazon s3 

Amazon S3, also known as Amazon Simple Storage Service, is a great service to—you guessed it— store files.

When to use it:

You can use Amazon S3 to store large objects or to provide some backup to your apps. It should also be your go-to service if you want to provide a lot of media files, like video, audio, or photos to your end-users. With Amazon S3, you can store those media files and then quickly present them to your users.

How to use it:

After downloading and installing the Amazon S3 connector, you’ll find two modules:

  • AmazonS3Connector: an extension that preps the .NET SDK from AWS;
  • AmazonS3: the module that presents the methods you can use in the applications you have in the environment you’re working on.

Create a new application and reference the public actions in the AmazonS3 module to manage buckets and objects. A simple example is to create a form with a few fields and that can receive files uploaded by the user. When saving the data in the form you can choose to use the Object_Put action to store the file in a AWS bucket, instead of the database entity created in OutSystems.

2. Amazon DynamoDB

amazon dynamob 

Amazon DynamoDB is a noSQL service, so the use cases are immense. Let’s take a look at some examples.

When to use it:

You can use DynamoDB to store your application logs, so if you have a lot of users and operations at the same time, this is a very useful service. You can also use it to store end-user activities, for example. So if you want to check your users’ journeys, you can use DynamoDB to get and store that data.

How to use it:

After downloading and installing the DynamoDB connector, you’ll, once again, find two modules:

  • AmazonDynamoDBConnector: the extension module that uses .NET SDK from AWS;
  • AmazonDynamoDB: the module that provides the methods publicly to the applications in your environment.

Then, imagine you want to keep a record of your end users’ navigation through your application. You can create that item in a DynamoDB table using the Item_Put, whenever a user clicks a button or performs an action that is important for your application’s success.

And please be mindful of your users privacy. :)

3. Amazon Lex Chatbot

amazon lex chatbot 

Amazon Lex Chatbot is one of the most trending services out there, and, as the name might reveal, it helps you introduce intelligent bots to your applications.

When to use it:

Amazon Lex Chatbot is a great service to use if you want to give your customers support 24/7. You can use a chatbot to answer the most frequently asked questions from your users and, by doing that, relieve the pressure on top of your first-line customer success or support teams.

How to use it:

After downloading and installing the AWS Lex Chatbot component, you’ll find only one module that wraps all of Lex’s REST API method into public actions to be used as you see fit in your apps.

With this REST API, you have access to several methods that you can use to handle audio and text using the AWS service. If you want to check a good example of how you can use AWS Lex check my colleagues walkthrough in this video.

4. Amazon Rekognition

amazon rekognition 

To continue with the trending topic of AI, we have Amazon Rekognition.

When to use it:

You can use Amazon Rekognition to analyze pictures or text or look for certain characteristics or patterns.

How to use it:

The Amazon Rekognition component is probably one of the simplest AWS components available in the Forge because we only have two methods available:

  • DetectFaces
  • DetectLabels

If you want to give this component a spin and are in the mood for some fun, try to upload a photo and check how many faces and how happy are the people in the photo.

5. Amazon API Gateway

amazon api gateway 

Last but not least, we have the Amazon API Gateway.

When to use it:

The Amazon API Gateway is a great service if you’re dealing and exposing lots of APIs. You can use it to manage those services and provide an extra layer of security and access to your APIs. It also provides you with an easier way to monitor and manage the lifetime of an API.

How to use it:

After downloading and installing the API Gateway component, you’ll find two modules:

  • AmazonAPIGatewayConnector: the extension module that uses the .NET SDK;
  • AmazonAPIGateway: where you’ll find a whole array of public methods that will help you handle and manage your APIs.

Amazon API Gateway can be of great use if you build a backoffice to act as the central place where you list and manage all the APIs you are exposing with OutSystems and AWS.

Closing Thoughts

I hope you find this article helpful on the type of AWS services you’ll find on the OutSystems Forge and why to use them. For more details and to clarify any questions you might have, make sure you watch (and subscribe) our Decoded Labs series on YouTube. Watch it, like it, comment, and let us know what you thought.

This article was co-written by André Cigarro Matos, Solution Architect at AWS.