Spotify previews Portal for Backstage as developer portal with easy setup, plus premium plugins for all users

Spotify previews Portal for Backstage as developer portal with easy setup, plus premium plugins for all users

Spotify has introduced Portal for Backstage as a limited beta, this being an easy setup version of its open source internal developer portal (IDP).

An IDP is a portal for internal use by developers. Backstage features include a catalog of software projects, templates for new projects, a library of technical documents, and hundreds plugins for adding features and integrating with other developer services.

Backstage became open source in 2020 and is now a CNCF (Cloud Native Computing Foundation) incubating project. It is a good fit for CNCF, home of Kubernetes, since managing microservices is one of its core strengths. According to Spotify, Backstage was “born out of necessity” as engineers spent increasing time searching for which API to use, who is responsible for it, and “what version of that framework is everyone on.”

The project has momentum. Pia Nilsson, senior director of Engineering, said in a webinar that Backstage is used by around 2 million developers at 3,000 companies, and is among the most active CNCF projects.

Backstage is under the Apache 2.0 license and can be self-hosted, but it is complex and properly described as a “framework for building developer portals” rather than an out of the box solution. That is set to change with the introduction of Portal for Backstage, designed to be opinionated and guided, and requiring no code to set up. Users can get a working portal in under 10 minutes, according to lead developer Jack Palmer, who demonstrated how wizards speed the setup process in a webinar this week.

The service is in limited beta, and currently only support GitHub for both authentication and source code integration. Beta applicants should be users of GitHub who do not yet use Backstage.

Integrations with Soundcheck in Backstage, one of several new premium plugins

New paid-for plugins are also coming to Backstage. Spotify Plugins for Backstage, now in beta, is a bundle including Soundcheck, designed to codify checks and guidance for software quality and best practice; Role-based Access Control, Skill Exchange which is an internal marketplace, and Insights which gives a visualization of usage metrics and trends.

Soundcheck is a significant feature in itself, and integrates with third-party services including Azure DevOps, DataDog, GitHub, Jira, New Relic, PageDuty and more. A Snyk integration is promised.

Also developer services are not Spotify’s core business, it does seem that the company is determined to commercialize its Backstage investment, with licensed plugins, enterprise support, and the forthcoming Portal. The company said in a press announcement that it has been providing support services and consulting for Backstage “since the middle 2023, but haven’t talked about them publicly until now.”