Customize a Cognito Access Token with Rust

Identity and Access Management is a critical part of any application. And having a solution that provides customization can also be super important. Take for instance the ability to customize a Cognito Access token to extend functionality.

So many times developers and architects try and roll their own solution and while they do their best to meet OAuth and OIDC specifications, they just tend to fall short. Not to mention they end up with more maintenance and scaling issues than they planned. By leveraging a Serverless Identity Platform like Cognito, developers and architects gain a piece that takes care of the heavy lifting of identity and access for a user base of 1 to essentially as many as needed.

However, until very recently a gap in functionality that honestly allowed some insecure usage existed. Developers were using ID tokens as Access tokens because only those tokens could be customized within a Cognito sign-in workflow. That is no longer the case, as Access tokens can now be customized. I want to take a look at how to customize a Cognito Access Token with Rust.

AWS’ Cognito allows you to implement frictionless customer identity and access management that scales


Web API with Rust and Fargate

I’ve been spending more and more time with Rust which is perfectly in line with my end-of-year planning. So far, my collection of articles is growing and so are my Rust skills. I can’t profess to be more than a novice at this point, but when has that stopped me from crafting something meaningful around a piece of technology? I hope you find this entry helpful and insightful as I dive into building a Web API with Rust and Fargate.


Becoming a Leader in Tech

I had several conversations at re:Invent that have got me thinking since I returned. No names or details will be given about those whom I spoke with, but I have been processing the how and why of one’s career arc. How does one go from individual contributor to say Director level or even one day become a CTO? Breaking down the trajectory I’ve come away with a couple of types of leaders. In this article how to become a leader in tech.


Gratitude. A look back at re:Invent

Gratitude. That’s the simple yet powerful word that comes to mind when I look back on re:Invent 2023. This article is an expression of my gratitude to those who made not only re:Invent something more for me this year, but have jolted my career in a way I didn’t know was possible.

This year started with a blast to my system. My father, who was my best friend in life passed away after a long bout with cancer. I was there for his last month and spent time with him while he was with us. I can’t say I enjoyed the time, but we took the time together talking, sharing and trying in general to do whatever I could to make things easier for him. Growing up watching my father run his own Geology Consulting Practice gives me a unique perspective now as a father. His schedule allowed plenty of flexibility to attend my golf matches, soccer games and occasional theatre productions which left a lasting impression on me. Those 20 or so days of my life have reshaped my trajectory forever.


API Gateway, Lambda, DynamoDB and Rust

It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote an article on using Rust with AWS. In the span of then and now, AWS officially released their Rust SDK for interacting with many of their services. If there was a barrier before this in my mind about using something in production that wasn’t generally available, that barrier is now gone. I also made a public commitment to building more examples in Rust in 2024 and while I’m a few weeks early, I just can’t contain my enthusiasm for learning this language that feels nothing like anything I’ve worked with before. Let’s take a look at building an API with API Gateway, Lambda, DynamoDB and Rust.


AWS re:Invent Day 4

Day 4 of AWS re:Invent 2023 has come to a close and it was just as epic as the other nights. The day itself was a little slower due to my Day 3 evening ending fairly late, but there’s still a good bit to share. If you are looking for a full recap, I’m going to do one soon to sort of close the loop on my 2023 AWS re:Invent experience.

Let’s dig into Day 4 of AWS re:Invent 2023.


AWS re:Invent Day 3

So this one is rough in the best of ways possible. It’s currently 2 AM Las Vegas time and I’ve been up since 7 AM the previous day. Back to what I said a few days ago, re:Invent is a marathon and not a sprint. At this point in the week, it feels like mile 18. I am tired but in the best of ways. The only thing I have to do is finish this race strong and to the best of my ability. Day 3 was better than day 2 and I’m excited to share with you how it went.

Let’s dig into Day 3 of AWS re:Invent 2023.


Amazon Q meets Taylor Swift

Amid everything going on, I stayed up after Day 2 of re:Invent to get my hands on the new Amazon S Q Digital Assistant. For more on the release here is the announcement. While sitting in the Adam Selipsky Keynote yesterday, a use case instantly popped into my head. The below example has no CDK or SAM but is purely a simple walkthrough of the functionality. Let me tell you about a time that Amazon Q met Taylor Swift.


AWS re:Invent Day 1

Day 1 of re:Invent has come and gone and it was an epic start to the week. I’ve often heard it said that re:Invent is a marathon and not a sprint and that’s a very true statement. If you are reading this and are at the conference, pace yourself. And if you are at home watching virtually, do the same, but perhaps more mental pacing than physical.

Let’s dig into Day 1 of AWS re:Invent 2023.