343: cpshots

We’ve been naming all our services cp____ lately. Get it? cp is short for CodePen. Clever, I know. We have many such services. The latest to join them is cpshots. We’ve been doing our own screenshotting for a long time now, but like all software we’re always working on it for various everchanging reasons.

Robert and I discuss this last round of changes to this service. Part of the purpose of this round is that we wanted to bring image resizing in-house to keep costs down. We need screenshots in various sizes because we literally show them in different circumstances at different sizes, but also because of the responsive images syntax. That resizing we do with sharp via a Lamda. But we only want to do it once! That is, whenever a Pen has changed and the screenshot needs to be regenerated. In order to do that, we send the requests to a Cloudflare Worker which, through the KV store, knows if we already have the screenshot or not. If yes, send it along. If no, head over 1) the screenshotting service to get the screenshot 2) the Lambda for resizing it 3) over to S3 to store the images 4) back to the Cloudflare Worker to serve it.

It’s a lot of moving parts! But they are all very smart, simple, tuned parts that are designed to do what they do well. The best parts, for us, is that this project was a great excuse to give Robert a trial-by-fire of a fairly complex tech stack, and that we made literally every part of it work on both development and staging. Making sure every service of CodePen runs locally means that there is no secret magic, we can all work on it and see it working.

Time Jumps

01:03 Rolling out large infastructure to an audience

04:18 Creating different size images ourselves

05:30 What were the moving parts?

06:54 Using AWS Lambda

09:31 4 sizes of screenshots at CodePen

12:29 Sponsor: Jetpack & WooCommerce Sales

13:24 How did we architect this?

16:06 Our local dev environment

19:45 Making other improvements besides the primary one

27:16 Lessons learned

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