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We’re building a Backstage.io plugin

author avatar
Ben Potter
 on December 19th, 2023

Note: We plan open sourcing our Backstage plugin in mid January. If you would like early access to shape the future of the plugin, contact us.

Today, organizations of all sizes are building their internal developer platforms on top of Backstage.io.

Why? Spotify, the original developers of Backstage.io explain the problem well:

Instead of building and testing code, teams were spending more time looking for the right information just to get started. “Where’s the API for that service we’re all supposed to be using?” “What version of that framework is everyone on?” “This service isn’t responding, who owns it?” “I can’t find documentation for anything!”

However, Backstage can do much more than centralize metadata across different services. Developer productivity teams are building different Backstage plugins, pages, and integrations to save developers time and increase the collective knowledge of their engineering teams. In fact, Expedia reported that 4000 developers spend 20+ minutes a day in Backstage.

Developer experience starts from the IDE

Our mission at Coder is to keep developers in flow. Because developers spend the majority of their time in their IDE, we started there. Instead of manually setting up a development environment (we learned this takes weeks at large enterprises), developers can use Coder to get a fully configured development environment with a single click.

Here’s how a developer can start contributing to a project with Coder, starting from Backstage:

Beyond the onboarding benefits, we believe it’s critical to automate developer environments, like the rest of the software delivery lifecycle. Developer environments with the best practices (IDE extensions, security scanning, fine-tuned compute) from the beginning will reduce “it works on my machine” issues that may occur during CI, testing, or across operating systems (Windows, MacOS Intel/m1/m2, Linux).

Like Backstage, Coder does not aim to replace or standardize workflows. After all, developers take a lot of pride in configuring and optimizing their IDEs. Coder relies on open standards to give developers the environments they need:

  • IDEs: Any editor with SSH support (VS Code, JetBrains, vim, emacs) or web access (Jupyter, RStudio) is supported

  • Infrastructure: Workspaces are defined with Infrastructure as Code (Terraform) and can be VMs or Kubernetes pods.

  • Dependencies: Define a project’s dependencies (Python 3.11, Java 3.8, Podman 2.1) with a devcontainer.json in the git repository

Along with the “Open in Coder” component, our Backstage plugin will list a user’s workspaces and give plugin developers the ability to build custom workflows on behalf of the user using Coder’s REST API.

Coder is open source (AGPL-3.0) and offers an enterprise version with governance, security, and compliance features. Want a demo? Contact us