Reference docs


What Begin does and doesn't do

Begin is the ridiculously quick platform for building modern web apps and APIs. It is super versatile, but has some considerations and limitations that should be acknowledged

What Begin does

  • Provide the basis for cloud function-based applications, and optional open source framework tooling
  • Provision and manage the cloud infrastructure (including compute, SSD-backed databases, and integrated CDNs) needed to stand up a nearly infinitely scalable web application or API
  • Provide fully isolated staging and production environments
  • Manage CI for multiple environments
  • Manage the distribution of static assets via CDN
  • Deploy builds to staging (automatically, if green) and production (on-demand)
  • Enable full offline and local development workflows
  • Provide collaboration and access control with other teammates
  • Send important updates or notifications to your configured services, such as GitHub, Slack, etc.

What can you build with Begin?

If you can build it with Node.js and a database, you can build it with Begin. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Fast, easily updated static web sites
  • Powerful database-backed web applications
  • APIs
  • Backends for mobile apps
  • Internal tooling
  • Microservices supporting other applications
  • Tools for data processing
  • Slack apps
  • Alexa Skills

What Begin doesn't do

  • Store (or cache) your code – your version control system is the source of truth for your code, which is passed to Begin only to build and deploy
  • Operate physical infrastructure – Begin apps, like much of the world's high performance, mission critical applications, run on AWS infrastructure
  • Long-running processes – Begin relies on fast-executing, highly scalable cloud functions; applications with extreme compute needs or long-running connections are probably still best suited to more old school infrastructure

What shouldn't you build with Begin?

  • Streaming video services – at some point in the future Begin might be able to accommodate this kind of use case, but for now processes and connections terminate at 5 minutes
  • MMOs – while the scale required to operate an MMO is entirely possible, again, Begin's compute model is not presently designed for long-lived connections
  • ML training, blockchain computation – if it can compute in 5 minutes or less on reasonably fast iron, Begin can do it – and cost effectively, too. But most ML and blockchain applications we've seen require more than a few minutes' worth of cycles to complete processes
  • Compiled mobile and desktop apps – if you need CI and build distribution for your compiled mobile or desktop app, we suggest services like BuddyBuild, CircleCI, and TestFlight. But if you need to build your backend and APIs for your mobile app, Begin is here for that!