Amazon Web Services is just one on-demand cloud computing platform and Application Programming Interface (API) anyone can use.

I use Amazon Web Services (AWS) to send you the VideoUniversity newsletter. The mailing is fast, reliable and very inexpensive. I have to provide the software which is installed on an inexpensive server apart from my VideoUniversity server, but Amazon does the actual mailing. I also have to manage the process. Compared to the commercial email organizations like Constant Contact and Mailchimp, this approach costs literally a few dollars a month. But you do have to do more of the work yourself, especially in the early stages. I had help setting up and managing the mailing software.

Email is just one small part of Amazon Web Services.

Another AWS service I have used was to automatically back up my entire web site every night and keep the last 7 backups. This includes over 1000 web pages and millions of forum posts. That was back in the days when I had to run this very busy website on a dedicated server. Then the site had about 10 unique forums on various video businesses. The Wedding Video forum was the busiest wedding video forum in the world until Facebook blew it away. I was no coder, but I learned enough Linux and enough web site administration to keep it from blowing up. That was relatively simple. I used a number of highly skilled freelancers who did the heavy lifting. That was a thrilling time in my web business.

Today VideoUniversity is run on a hosted server so I don’t have to worry about the server attacks and other headaches of running a dedicated server. And sadly the forums are gone. The forum software could no longer fend off the constant web attacks.

Today you can do it all on a web server you build on AWS, but you’d still have to have someone to install and manage Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PhP (LAMP for short) which is the unseen basis for any web server and then you’d have to install something like WordPress and lots of add-ons. There are a many other things you can do on AWS and you don’t have to be a coder to do them. You can start with a free account at AWS .

If you’ve ever wanted to build a big company on a shoestring, AWS is one place to start. Some of the companies that use AWS include Netflix, Comcast, General Electric, Pfizer, and Capital One.

A Few Things You Can Do With AWS

  • Use Carrd for creating simple, one-page websites. Carrd is free to use. It features templates for your website, or you can create one from scratch. All Carrd sites are “responsive,” so they’ll look right on a phone, tablet, or other device. Carrd is an ideal solution for building landing pages, personal profiles, and other sites.
  • Jotform simplifies the process of creating forms and collecting the information you get when people fill them out.
  • With Jotform, you don’t need to do coding, thanks to the large libraries of form templates and table templates available to help you create custom forms and databases for your business. And Jotform’s drag-and-drop editor means there’s no need to code anything.

  • Conversational AI for Chatbots.
  • Create own Chatbot on AWS, although it may be easier to use one of the free existing chatbots and upload it to your one page website on AWS.

  • Host and Develop Your Own Gaming Platform.
  • Amazon Polly is a cloud based service that turns text into lifelike speech. You could install it on a tablet to have it read stories to students.
  • Video Recognition
  • Amazon Rekognition Video

    With a free AWS account you can use Amazon Rekognition to read videos. First there was Amazon Rekognition which can read images, but it was much harder to read video. Now there is Amazon Rekognition Video which does real-time and batch video analytics. It can detect objects, faces, and scenes such as a package being delivered. It can also detect inappropriate content such as violent videos others have posted on your web site. Amazon Rekognition Video can recognize any faces including celebrities.

    If you want to know more, see the Amazon’s page for AWS Rekognition Video.

The catch with most of Amazon’s Web Services is that you need an application to use it. Amazon has plenty of free ones you can use. Surprisingly AWS does not require coding skills to get started. Many basic tasks can be performed without coding. AWS is mainly interacted with either manually by clicking through the AWS User Interface (UI,) or by programming via which means defining instructions in text files.

It’s common that newcomers don’t create their own AWS infrastructure via code, but instead use the UI. And many tutorials usually show the UI approach, as that’s one of the most straight-forward ways to learn AWS. I don’t mean to say this is so simple a child can do it. Not unless you are a very bright child. 😉 It can get complicated quickly.

I have done some programming in the past usually for economic reasons and I actually enjoyed learning to code, up to a point. But I am much more skilled at hiring programmers and working with them on sharply defined project. If this cloud stuff interests you, I encourage you to start with a Google search such as – simple things to do on AWS. You can experiment and learn a lot for free. Then it is quite possible to hire some help on Craigslist, Fivver or Upwork.