A guest post authored by Jennine Townsend, sysadmin
extraordinaire, and perhaps the AWS Doc team’s biggest fan.

I’ve always believed in reading vendor documentation and now that AWS
is by far my largest vendor I’m focussed on their documentation. It’s
not enough to just read it, though, since AWS is constantly making
changes and releasing features, so even the documentation that I’ve
already read and think I know will be different tomorrow.

Putting together a list of my favorite or most-hated documentation
would just result in a list of what I worked on last week, so instead
I thought it would be more interesting to point out some “meta”
documentation – docs about the docs, and docs about what I think of
as the “meta” services, and a few pages that you’ve read – but
they’ve changed since you last read them!

AWS meta documentation:

  • The AWS Documentation index page

  • The Github repo – yep, the AWS docs’ source is on Github

  • The Feedback button at the bottom right of every AWS docs page!

  • The AWS blogs – there are several, not just the main blog,
    so see the Category pulldown

Documentation about AWS meta services:

IAM and STS:

  • Policy Variables – Know what they are, because they
    can save a bunch of work

  • Grammar of the IAM JSON Policy Language – A bit esoteric
    but useful, and the examples are real-world useful and
    thought-provoking – but note that if you use CloudFormation for IAM
    policies, you can write them in YAML!

  • Comparing the AWS STS APIs – this table is key if you
    want to write code that uses roles

  • Demystifying EC2 Resource-Level Permissions –
    Blog post that’s a bit old but still a good walkthrough of iterating
    on nontrivial permissions


Five of the seven links on the CloudFormation Template
Reference page were orange (visited recently) for me
just now, but these in particular are always open in a tab while I’m
writing CloudFormation:

  • Parameters

  • Intrinsic Functions

  • Resource Types Reference

Information from the AWS General Reference:

  • AWS Glossary

  • Regions and Endpoints
    – For extra credit, find the region that isn’t secret but AFAIK
    never got widely announced.

  • ARNs

  • AWS’s IP ranges
    – Plus get your own IP

  • Using Markdown in AWS – Did you know?

A few pages you’ve already read… but they’ve changed since then!:

  • EBS Volume Types – Did you know there are at least five
    different EBS volume types? Find out about sc1 and st1!

  • And did you know you can grow EBS volumes and change their type on
    the fly?

  • How many different ways can you trigger a Lambda function?

  • When you do trigger it, what does the event look like that it
    receives? Did you know you can save 10 test events per
    function for testing in the console (and that an event can
    be up to 6MB!)?

  • How many Kinesii are there now, and what do they all do again?

  • Just re-read the S3 docs – seriously, I guarantee you will
    discover something useful and money-saving.

Original article and comments: https://alestic.com/2018/03/aws-documentation-jennine/

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