Getty Images/iStockphoto

Spotify Plugins for Backstage aimed at developer productivity

Spotify Plugins for Backstage improves the development environment, but it can also help users tackle the developer shortage, according to one industry expert.

Spotify Backstage expanded its plugins catalog today with the addition of the Spotify Plugins for Backstage bundle, which helps development teams monitor software health and manage skillsets.

The new five-plugin bundle for the developer platform focuses on developer effectiveness, according to Austin Lamon, director and general manager of Backstage at Spotify. The bundle includes Pulse, a productivity and satisfaction survey tool; role-based access control, a no-code plugin to manage access; and Insights to monitor an enterprise's Backstage usage. Skill Exchange also connects talent within an organization, and Soundcheck codifies engineering best practices.

Spotify, known more broadly as a music streaming platform, created its Backstage developer platform in 2016. Open sourced in 2020, Backstage is now a Cloud Native Computing Foundation incubator project with more than 500 adopters, including Expedia Group, Telus and Bank of the West. Development teams can use Backstage to build self-service portals to manage assets and unify applications, documents, services and tools into a single UI. It includes a catalog for managing software, including microservices and libraries, templates to spin up new projects, and a catalog of open source plugins.

This is the first time Spotify has offered a subscription model for Backstage plugins. Out of those premium plugins, Skill Exchange and Soundcheck are the bundle's keys to developer success, said Holger Mueller, vice president and analyst at Constellation Research. The former reflects the gig working opportunity, while the latter aims to create a productive developer environment.

"Gone are the days when IDEs competed on core features like code creation speed, usability, build automation and more," Mueller said. "The competition has moved to adjacent areas -- ultimately to foster higher developer velocity. Spotify Backstage shows this with its latest innovations."

Screenshot of the new Soundcheck Plugin for Backstage
The Soundcheck plugin visualizes standards checks.

Soundcheck, Skill Exchange lessen the load

The Skill Exchange plugin is an internal marketplace that connects an enterprise's best talent to its highest impact work through an opportunity marketplace. Developers can find mentors, join a hack, or start an embed. They can also see profiles, skills and opportunities that support workflows. For engineering leads, visualizations help them understand the skill makeup of their team, Lamon said.

Soundcheck monitors the health of an enterprise's software ecosystem. The plugin visualizes checks for development and operational standards. Instead of yet another ticket to file and respond to, developers can improve software quality through clear scorecards and actionable feedback. This saves developers time and improves the overall quality of DevOps practices, according to Lamon.

Both Soundcheck and Skill Exchange can help enterprises tackle the ongoing developer shortage, said Larry Carvalho, principal consultant at Robust Cloud LLC.

"Soundcheck allows organizations to make more informed decisions on retaining good talent, while Skill Exchange will enable developers to enhance their skills," he said.

The data points from Soundcheck can also classify developer capability and help enterprises take retention actions for individual developers, Carvalho said.

The Spotify Plugins for Backstage bundle subscription is available in open beta for all Backstage users. Pricing is structured as an annual subscription and varies according to usage.

Dig Deeper on Software design and development

Cloud Computing
App Architecture