Backstage: We guide you step by step on how to deploy the developer portal

By David Carmona (ERNI Spain)

Often, in IT companies developing their own products or those for third parties, the complexity of developing applications, solutions, and distributed systems increases exponentially when adding services or tools, both internal and external. This makes it really difficult to understand the overall structure of the project and, by extension, its maintenance.

The most basic structure of an application consists of a Frontend, a Backend, and a database, but this minimalist architecture is a utopia in complex systems, which involve authentication services, proxies, or fragmented databases, to name a few examples.

In this context, Backstage was created by Spotify in 2016.

Backstage is a platform that aims to integrate all our projects (or, as they are called in Backstage, Components) into a single interface, standardise the creation of new components between teams, and encourage best coding practices through templates. Additionally, it allows the sharing of internal tools between different teams via plugins or exposing project and process documentation, among other functionalities.

The potential of Backstage can be summarised in the following points:

  • Software creation in seconds: By using fully configurable Templates, applications of any type, such as web applications, backends, APIs, etc., can be created and added to our component catalogue. These templates can be configured not only to create code and host it in a repository but also to set up triggers that connect with our service providers like Azure or AWS, and deploy our application or service completely automatically. This method aligns with best practices as all services or applications created from a template will have the same structure and configuration.
  • Software catalogue: The catalogue allows us to view all our components in one place. From the interface, we can access the most relevant information about our projects, such as integration logs, relationships between projects, the teams managing them, documentation, analysis, or direct access to the repository where the code is hosted, among other functionalities. These functionalities can be extended through plugins that can be created by the community or by us, enhancing the potential of Backstage.
    The component catalogue does not aim to replace management applications; rather, its purpose is to be a hub where we can access the information we deem relevant or that we frequently consult, leaving the management of these data to the platforms that create them and making them accessible through direct links.
  • Plugins: Backstage allows us to install plugins that significantly extend the platform’s management capabilities. There are no limits on the use of plugins, and they can be easily installed by downloading them from the Backstage plugin catalogue, the community, or by creating them ourselves. A plugin is an independent application that is added to the Backstage interface and allows us to have management tools for our team or share them with other teams.
    There are many plugins created by Spotify or collaborators such as Amazon, Red Hat, or Zalando, and their functionalities range from AI assistants connected to ChatGPT, analytics modules with Google Analytics, to pipeline managers in Azure or AWS, among many others.

Undoubtedly, Backstage is attracting the attention of numerous companies that understand the difficulty of managing independent teams that create applications with different requirements and technologies and, at the same time, work autonomously despite having strong dependencies. Managing all those dependencies in one place or having access to the documentation of all projects and teams with just a click is a brilliant solution that fills a necessary space where there is currently no competition.

Backstage has definitely arrived, and it’s here to stay.

For this reason, our team of experts has prepared two tutorial videos below that will help you deploy the tool step by step. The tutorials are in Spanish, but you can activate subtitles and automatic translation to another language.



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