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ZEIT / Now

Thoughts on why Now 2.0 is kinda disappointing

Thoughts on why Now 2.0 is kinda disappointing

ZEIT/Now · November 11, 2018 at 9:14pm

Thoughts on why Now 2.0 is kinda disappointing

ZEIT / Now · November 11, 2018 at 9:14pm
Hi, everyone!
First of all, I’m not hating on anything or anyone. Now 2.0 is an incredible product, but I have some thoughts I think many people will agree with
I’ve been a Now user for over a year. I came across it as a “Realtime Node.js deployments” platform, and I absolutely loved it when I first tried it
Then when the Docker support came and I couldn’t be more excited

The thing that attracted me about Now was the ability to quickly throw together a simple Express app or whatnot, type `now` and have it live in a few seconds. That simplicity is what got me (and I think many others) to fall in love with Now.

Then a few months ago comes the Serverless Docker beta announcement labeled “Cloud v2” with tons of awesome features. And then few months later Now 2.0 releases and it’s Lambdas.

I love the idea of serverless and lambdas, don’t get me wrong. But this model loses everything that made Now great in the first place. I can no longer just throw together a quick express app and deploy it, I need to re-think the way I build my entire application to fit serverless paradigm, while doing what I need in express would take me 2 minutes.

Which makes total sense as a “Global Serverless Platform”, but makes no sense as “Realtime Global Deployments” platform.
Essentially, Now 2.0 stops being a *deployment platform* and becomes an *application platform* along the likes of Firebase. Which is great, but not quite what we all signed up for

@matheus mentioned in another thread that apparently Zeit learned that serverless docker is bad during the beta, but there was nothing announced in that regard. There was no “beta summary” blog post, no thoughts on it vs. lambdas nothing at all.
All we got was “Hey, docker sucks, here’s the new thing”

Also I can’t help but feel that you guys rushed it out. Most of the examples don’t even work, there are errors all around, docs are unclear. It seems
majority of effort went into marketing pages…

Zeit people mentioned the tremendous scaling capabilities of lambdas and how it makes teams work better, all of which I understand, but I’m not a team, and I don’t build massive applications, so those benefits don’t really mean anything. I guess solo developers are not the target audience of Now 2.0

That said, I think as a serverless application platform I think Now 2.0 will be really great once all the kinks like cryptic errors and unclear docs are worked out.

But I (and I think a lot of Now users) don’t need an application platform. I need a deployment platform. I just want to deploy my docker 😔

November 11, 2018 at 9:17pm

I would agree. I'm still on Now v1. Now has enabled me to deploy a bunch of apps and test things out faster than ever, and I'm even getting to the point of what could be a profitable indie app. But if I have to rewrite my apps to fit how Now v2 works, then I'll probably not use Now v2. And if they depreciate Now v1, without addressing what I consider a good outcome (outlined below) then I'll be forced to find another hosting service.

The holy grail would be if Now v2 took care of all that serverless lambda stuff under the hood, completely abstracting away instance management as an implementation detail, BUT we could continue to write our apps exactly as we want to like traditional Node apps. But as of now I don't have time to rewrite apps to fit new paradigms. I think Now has some sort of middle-ware plug-in for this, but not sure.

But I also need to be able to run some apps as micro-services that do scheduled tasks on the server / database instead of responding to HTTP. You can't do that on Now v2. And still, again, it's important that if Now v2 gains this functionality, that we don't have to rewrite our server-only microservices / daemons to fit new paradigms just to run them.

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I couldn't agree more with your post

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I agree 100%.

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I just posted my last thoughts on the other big thread, 100% agree with you.

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Agreed here as well! I'm very excited for Now 2 but would prefer it be labelled a different product alongside Now 1.

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@dannyben (possibly jokingly) stated earlier that Now 2.0 is move to get the attention of Amazon's acquisition team; and after looking things over, it feels like that's becoming more and more true. It seems like the Zeit team rushed out this new product, and there wasn't even a beta. Wouldn't be surprised if they already had some contacts pressuring them to do this.

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@dannyben (possibly jokingly) stated earlier that Now 2.0 is move to get the attention of Amazon's acquisition team; and after looking things over, it feels like that's becoming more and more true. It seems like the Zeit team rushed out this new product, and there wasn't even a beta. Wouldn't be surprised if they already had some contacts pressuring them to do this.

Well, it was half jokingly, and half not. When they said "we are 100% confident that this is the right move" - to me, it meant one of two things: 1) "We know better than you (users) what is good for you", or 2) "We know what is best for our company". And they may be right, maybe it is a 100% sure move for them to get Amazon's attention, since the latter are eager to push lambdas, and building a company around that is not necessarily a bad idea. It just means that if we are looking for Docker deployments, we need to go someplace else, and not look back.

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having to refactor your app to fit a new model is never fun, but putting that aside, what use cases are you unable to acheive in Now 2.0? lamda functions fit like 99% of what people are trying to do with their backend services @codyjunior

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using languages that aren't officially "supported"

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using anything exceeding 5MB

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installing custom software inside a container

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(for example, chromium dependencies, php extensions)

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also, it takes away dev/prod parity

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and the ability to switch providers easily

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those arent use cases though, those are implimentation details. I think going to this model will result in some pain for sure, which is why they should keep v1 around and commit to supporting it for awhile, but big picture, lambdas make a lot of sense

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it still requires people to rewrite their app

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to support the new platform

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and it creates vendor lock-in

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dev/prod parity, serverless changes that whole discussion, do u do anything locally anymore? do u have a dev target for deploying? what about their plans for 'now dev'? theres still a lot up in the air for sure

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it would be nice if they let u choose deployment target in terms of AWS, Google Cloud, and so on. They can still add that

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do u do anything locally anymore?
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yes, many people still do...

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of course i do things locally

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not everyone uses a cloud ide, cloud hosting, and cloud development

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we're also still waiting on an example of a fairly common use case - a rest api using nodejs that isn't express based

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