Building a Better Web
June 11–12, 2018: Training
June 12–14, 2018: Tutorials & Conference
San Jose, CA

Full stack in a stackless world

Thomas Bouldin (Google), Sarah Allen (Google)
9:50am–10:30am Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Architecture and microservices
Location: 212 A/B
Secondary topics:  Developer Experience Track: Tools, Platforms, and Techniques, High-level, Technical
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 5 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Full stack developers and any other developers

Prerequisite knowledge

  • A basic understanding of backend architecture (useful but not required)

What you'll learn

  • Explore serverless concepts and development patterns
  • Learn strategies to improve development velocity and reliability by adopting modern backend design


Software applications today commonly integrate multiple backend services. Increasingly, consumers and business customers alike have high expectations for integrated data experiences. They expect to use a login they already have (SSO or social login) that pulls in relevant data from connected systems and displays it in a personally relevant way.

Behind the scenes, backend systems create data models that consume data which needs to be distilled into a form that humans can reason about or simply kept up to date when changes happen in other systems. Most modern apps integrate with many different third-party APIs and rely on them for core functionality.

Traditionally a full stack developer implements a three-tiered stack of frontend, compute, and storage. Thomas Bouldin and Sarah Allen demonstrate how to use server-side events to combine APIs and serverless compute in a way that makes scaling a bit easier and requires developers to think differently about architecture. On the frontend, it is similar; however, server-side events allow developers to put their compute logic after the API call, so the compute is no longer the middle tier—hence the idea this is “stackless.”

Photo of Thomas Bouldin

Thomas Bouldin


Thomas Bouldin is the tech lead for Google events. Previously, he led the cloud functions for Firebase team, where he contributed to the Firebase real-time database and Firebase SDKs. Thomas has been developing serverless platforms since before the term was popularized. He was an early employee at Parse, where he built the company’s client and server-side push notifications infrastructure. He also worked on Google Image Search infrastructure and Microsoft Windows. Thomas holds a bachelor’s degree in software engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a focus on computer graphics and operating systems and security.

Photo of Sarah Allen

Sarah Allen


Sarah Allen is a technical lead and manager working on serverless infrastructure at Google. Previously, Sarah created early web platforms with Shockwave and Flash Media Server and led the mobile development company Blazing Cloud, developing many native mobile and web apps. She believes that software should be seriously fun and that there is magic in making powerful tools that spark imagination and challenge us all to keep learning and inventing.