EventBridge Scheduler is a new feature within the EventBridge suite of tools, designed to
specifically handle those cases where a scheduled EventBridge Rule used to be used. If you would
normally reach for the
cron(...) expressions with an EventBridge Rule, you should
be taking a look at EventBridge Scheduler. It has a much wider feature set and some real quality of
A closer look
There are 4 key sections within EventBridge Scheduler that I want to take a look at today. These are: timezone support; flexible time windows; SDK integration; point-in-time events.
Let's get started with timezone support. It's fair to say I was pretty excited when this got announced. Any developer who says they've never faced issues with managing timezones, especially when daylight savings time gets into the mix - is probably being less than truthful.
EventBridge Scheduler supports the ability to choose what timezone you would like your schedules to
run on. This could be something like
Europe/London, or you can still use
UTC if that's what your
application is designed for. We do love backwards compatibility!
This addition means that when a schedule is defined for 8am every day via a Cron expression, if you
set the timezone to something other than
UTC then it'll automatically be adjusted when the clocks
change in the Autumn and Spring. Useful indeed.
Flexible time windows
Flexible time windows are an easy way to add variance to the time that a scheduled action takes place. This is especially useful if you have lots of actions scheduled for the same time that all rely on the same downstream resource.
For example, imagine an application where a users are subscribed to a newsletter after they've signed up for an account. An EventBridge Schedule is set up to send this email. The service that's being used to send the emails is rate limited. Using flexible time windows, we can add 15 mins, 30 mins, 1 hour, 2 hours or 4 hours variance to the scheduled action time to spread out the execution of events and avoid exceeding rate limits.
This is another really nice addition to EventBridge's features. AWS call this "Universal targets".
Ultimately, this means that the vast majority of actions supported by the AWS API are now able to be
directly invoked by an EventBridge Schedule. For example,
could be set as a target for a schedule.
I'm all for any efforts to reduce the amount of 'glue code' that needs to be written in order to join up multiple AWS services.
The final part of EventBridge Scheduler that I wanted to highlight was the ability to create one-off point in time schedules.
Previously, there was no way with EventBridge to trigger actions at a given point in time, just on a recurring basis. There was a common pattern which involved using DynamoDB's item TTL functionality in combination with DynamoDB streams - however there were drawbacks with this around the precision of TTL as well as the increased burden on maintaining another system in your overall architecture.
One-off schedules are implemented via the
at(...) expression, joining
rate. This type
of event lends itself naturally to per-user events which raises the question of whether it's
scalable enough to support this use-case. Good news on that front! By default, there's a quota of
1 million schedules per account, but this is adjustable.
One point to take note of is that after a one-off event has run, it doesn't automatically delete.
This means that some manual tidying up will be required over time. The ListSchedules
API does return a
State property that can be either
DISABLED - I'm curious to see
whether this can indicate an already actioned one-off event to help automation of tidying up.
In summary, EventBridge Scheduler is a great improvement on the standard EventBridge scheduled rules and adds some much needed features.