We’re starting off 2023 strong with a double feature🥳 First, we’ll take a look at what The Frontside Software’s CEO Taras Mankovski learned from implementing Backstage for more than 100k developers. Then, we’re diving into the Platform Engineering community’s wishlist for 2023.
Let’s get bakin’
What we learned from Backstage implementations for 100k+ devs
Spotify’s Backstage is a powerful tool for building developer portals, but not everyone is on the same page about how to use it. One major reason is that many folks in the community (mistakenly) believe that Backstage is a platform when it is actually an internal developer portal. According to Gartner, “internal developer portals serve as the interface through which developers can discover and access internal developer platform capabilities.” Backstage is a framework to build your portal, not your platform.
Now that we have that common misconception out of the way, let’s dive into some practical tips for your Backstage implementation. 😉
Do your research.
You’ll want to ask your developers what they need and how you can make your portal a success. Here are a few suggestions – and potential solutions – based on our real-world experience.
How do you find info about an existing service?
Finding information is a common challenge for developers. You can use an entity provider to populate your catalog with info from external sources, eliminating the need for developers to add it manually.
How are the docs?
If your developers are struggling to find relevant docs in platforms like Confluence, you can use Backstage’s collator mechanism to connect the Search Plugin to the external Confluence service. This enables developers to query information and automatically add it to the index. If your docs are out of date, you can use the TechDocs Plugin to keep things
How do you start new projects?
Combat complicated manual workflows for service creation with plugins like the Scaffolder Plugin. It gives you lots of options to promote golden paths and ease cognitive load. This is a great example of Backstage's true potential. Template-driven workflows can save engineers lots of time and enable your organization to move faster.
Take advantage of annotations.
Catalog Entity Annotations are a feature worth taking advantage of. They make it possible to decide what developers see on each Entity page in the portal – super useful information!
This is just a quick summary of Taras’ 🔥🔥🔥 article for the Platform Engineering community. Check out the full blog post here.
Winter 2023 Wishlist
As the Platform Weekly family is growing, we’re looking for more practitioners to contribute their insights and knowledge to the community! Here’s what folks want to see this season:
- Book reviews 📚
- Conference and webinar recaps
- Opinion pieces
- Tooling and setup explanations (no vendors, please!)
- Platform fails 🤪
- Open source spotlights
- Tips on:
- Calculating the ROI of a platform initiative
- Making the business case for a platform
- Measuring the impact of your platform
- Building a platform team
- Product management for your platform
- And more!
- And, of course, memes
As a contributor, you’ll be featured in a 300-350 word article (like the one you just read!) in a future issue of Platform Weekly. Reach an audience of 4k+ platform enthusiasts, contribute to the community, and get all of the bragging rights. 😎 Start your submission here.
🥐 Is platform engineering a pathway for engineering organizations to increase developer productivity without increasing headcount? The folks at TechCrunch weigh in.
🥐 Platform engineering might be able to help with your Kubernetes woes, at least according to this article.
🥐 OAM vs. Score. Which YAML actually rules them all?
Have you joined the Platform Engineering Slack channel? If not, you're missing out. Here are this week's highlights:
- Does Platform Engineering help small R&D organizations cope with their inefficiencies?
- Backstage setup help!
- Is it bad to start as a DevOps engineer now? Is it already an irrelevant job title?
- What do you think of this new programming language for the cloud?
And that’s a wrap on our second Platform Weekly of the new year and our first-ever double feature. It’s gonna be a big year for platform engineering, and I can’t wait to see where this community goes next!
As always, this newsletter is a community project, so if you have anything awesome to share from the cloud-native world, send it our way.
Stay crunchy 🥐