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Amazon Web Services (AWS): Up and Running

Configure a simple web application with Amazon VPC, EC2, and RDS

Bill Boulden

Amazon Web Services is complex and wide ranging. If you’re a newcomer to cloud computing or only have basic development experience, it can be intimidating to get started, and it's difficult to even know where to begin.

Join Bill Boulden for a hands-on introduction to AWS. Bill takes you from a completely blank Amazon Web Services account to a properly secured virtual private cloud, an elastic computer server serving a web application in it, and an RDS database with properly configured backups helping provide the data, making sure along the way that you understand the significance of every step you are taking—not just unwittingly clicking buttons to follow along.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

  • How to create a properly secured, simple virtual private cloud
  • How to create an EC2 instance that can serve a web application
  • How to create a simple RDS database that can provide data to a web application

And you'll be able to: - Use AWS resources to create a simple web application

This training course is for you because...

  • You're a novice developer who has not created a web application before, and you want a complete end-to-end example that you can expand upon.
  • You're an intermediate developer with experience building web services but never on cloud services.


  • A basic understanding of Node.js and JavaScript (You must be able to read simple JavaScript.)
  • Familiarity with networking concepts (IP addresses, DNS, and HTTP)
  • A working knowledge of a terminal-based text editor (Vim, Emacs, or nano)

Materials or downloads needed in advance:

  • A machine with a terminal application such as PuTTY or Terminal configured and ready to use
  • A paid AWS account (Costs will be less than a dollar if resources are stopped at the conclusion of the course and would likely run $20–30 a month if continued after the course.)

About your instructor

  • Bill Boulden is a full-stack developer and microservices architect. Bill was the Chief Technology Officer for ClearView Social for four years, a social media startup, where he oversaw that company's transformation from serverful to serverless architecture. Now, he is Sr. Technical Visionary at KangarooTime, an early childhood education software startup, where he is overseeing their transformation from serverful to serverless architecture. In his spare time, Bill enjoys ambient music and EDM, where he is a house DJ and musician by the name Spruke.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Introduction (10 minutes)

Building the simplest-possible secure VPC (50 minutes) - Lecture and hands-on walkthrough: Key definitions (IP address, DNS, VPC, etc.); create a no-frills VPC; how the VPC is configured and why it is considered secure

Break (10 minutes)

Spinning up a basic EC2 instance (25 minutes) - Lecture and hands-on walkthrough: Create a new, no-frills EC2 instance in your newly created VPC

Configuring a simple web app (15 minutes)

  • Lecture and hands-on walkthrough: Use the popular Node.js library Express to create a "Hello, World!" web application on your server

Break (10 minutes)

Creating an RDS (20 minutes) - Lecture and hands-on walkthrough: Create an Amazon RDS MySQL instance; log on to the new EC2 instance and create the database, a sample table, and sample rows

Modifying the web app to use data (20 minutes) - Lecture and hands-on walkthrough: Give your web application a route to upload rows and a route to display rows

Wrap-up and Q&A (20 minutes) - Lecture: All the shortcuts and conveniences that were used to shorten the experience of building a web app from nothing into three hours; how a real production web app would be different; next steps and directions you could evolve such an app in the future