Spotify Plugins for Backstage bundle
How can I purchase a subscription of the Spotify Plugins for Backstage bundle?
To start using the plugins, please contact us. We will guide you through the process and get you set up with the plugins.
Where can I find installation instructions and technical documentation for the plugins?
All of the installation instructions for the Spotify Plugins for Backstage are public via these npm packages
How much does the bundle subscription cost?
We are structuring pricing as an annual subscription with customers gaining access to all plugins offered in the bundle.
In our alpha and closed beta testing, we learned that pricing flexibility based on individual parameters like Backstage usage and capacity within an organization is what works best for our customers. In this open beta period, we're committed to building relationships with our customers and demonstrating our commitment to building value within the subscription. Please contact us if you are interested in learning more.
What if I don't want or need all five plugins in the bundle?
That's OK! There is no one way to improve developer effectiveness. Each of these plugins does its part. At Spotify, we use the internal versions of these plugins collectively in that effort. As such, we're packaging these plugins as a bundle, providing everything we think and hear you need to successfully improve the productivity and happiness of your developers.
Our aim is to provide comprehensive solutions that work effectively together and provide incremental value as your organization evolves. We believe that all these plugins can add value to your Backstage application and company over time. If you're not ready to use all of them at once, you can install whichever plugins best suit your needs and have access to the other plugins whenever you want.
Why is Spotify selling plugins?
Before we open-sourced it, our teams at Spotify knew what we had with Backstage was special. Our developers loved it and we'd proven that it was driving a better developer experience, and ultimately our business's success. The success of Backstage in open source showed us that there was more Spotify could share about what we've learned and ship more of our engineering culture beyond our teams.
These plugins are designed to complement the open source platform and plugins you already enjoy, bringing even more of Spotify's experience and maturity with Backstage to the overall platform. We hope that by adding paid plugins from Spotify to the other commercial services surrounding Backstage, the platform becomes more valuable to current adopters, we broaden Backstage's reach to new adopters, and we create a more diverse ecosystem for the community at large.
The bundle subscription is also how we see Spotify continuing to sustain its investment in Backstage. Revenue generated from the bundle can be reinvested into developing and releasing more plugins — including more of the 200+ plugins we use internally — and evolving Backstage further. We see this as a good thing for our community, our teams, and our customers.
What kind of support comes with these plugins?
Customers should expect Spotify-provided support for the plugins included in the bundle (e.g. onboarding, troubleshooting, etc.). Moving forward, we're evaluating enterprise support for Backstage, and any interested customers should let us know!
Will new plugins continue to be added to the bundle subscription?
Right now, we're focused on delivering value through the subscription with our initial set of open beta plugins. The overarching question we asked when developing these plugins was “will this make Backstage more useful and powerful for open source adopters?” And that's the question we'll continue to ask as we evolve the subscription.
Can I contribute code to Spotify's commercial plugins?
No, these plugins are closed source and the license is owned by Spotify. We are always open to feedback and feature requests, but in order to provide the quality of support, we believe they must remain this way. If you have a feature request, please let us know or contribute it to the open source community.
As a partner, can I sell this to the companies I am working with on Backstage?
Similar to how we work with mature open source integrators, we're excited to unlock the value of these plugins for everyone who uses Backstage. Please fill out this form and we'll be in touch to discuss how we can support you.
As a partner, can I sell my own plugins as a part of the bundle?
Not yet. We are still learning about how adopters can best integrate these capabilities and the degree of support they need to be successful.
What is a Soundcheck track and how is it created/modified?
A Soundcheck track is a logical grouping of a collection of checks. Tracks encourage alignment to architectural best practices and standards. Think of a track as a long-term health initiative that your organization wants to adopt. Soundcheck tracks define their check collections either via static configuration in a .yaml file (config.yaml), or via No-Code UI that allows users to perform CRUD operations on tracks.
What are Soundcheck facts?
A fact is an un-opinionated piece of information about an entity in the Software Catalog. Soundcheck can be configured to collect facts about entities using fact collectors or facts can be submitted to Soundcheck through its API.
What are Soundcheck checks and how are they created/modified?
A check is a comparison between a defined acceptable value and the actual value of a given fact for an entity. Checks can be defined by users either via static configuration in a .yaml file (config.yaml), or via No-Code UI that allows users to perform CRUD operations on checks. Checks of this type are executed by Soundcheck.
Alternatively, any arbitrary code that performs a logical check of some kind within your infrastructure can submit results to Soundcheck.
With either approach, results of checks are submitted to Soundcheck, recorded, and made visible to users.
What's Soundcheck No-Code UI?
No-Code UI is a powerful user interface built into the Soundcheck plugin that allows you to perform CRUD operations on checks and tracks without writing yaml code. It has the same capabilities as its yaml configuration analog, however it simplifies and visualizes the process of managing checks and tracks. Checks and tracks created via No-Code UI are stored in the central Backstage database, or a plugin-specific database if configured.
Can I continue using Soundcheck checks and tracks created in a .yaml file and add new configuration via No-Code UI?
Soundcheck allows using both yaml configuration and No-Code UI at the same time, so you don't need to recreate your existing configuration via No-Code UI. However, checks and tracks created in the yaml file are only available to be viewed on UI and any modifications or deletions must be done in the original yaml.
Can anyone delete or edit checks and tracks created via No-Code UI?
Permissions for Create, Read, Update, or Delete (CRUD) operations on checks and tracks can be managed via RBAC configuration. You can configure your own rules for each of the CRUD operations on checks and tracks based on their ownership. For more information on the RBAC rules configuration, see the RBAC Readme.
How do I integrate a check's status into my CI/CD?
Soundcheck currently allows CI/CD integration through custom check implementations. Should a check fail, the check can signal the CI/CD system to halt a build. Future releases will look to provide more seamless support for CI/CD integration, allowing a build to proceed, fail, or be ignored based on checks' pass/fail states more natively, without this responsibility falling to the checks themselves.
Where are Soundcheck's checks' results stored?
Check Results are stored in the central Backstage database, or a plugin-specific database if configured.
Does Soundcheck keep a history of check results?
By default, Soundcheck retains only the latest result for each check to limit the size of the check results database. Users can enable tracking of check result history in order to track the change in check results over time.
After I've enabled check result history, how can I view it?
At this time, Soundcheck does not have support for viewing check result history. However, external systems such as Tableau can be used to visualize this data.
Can we manually submit the results of a check to Soundcheck ?
Soundcheck provides a simple REST API which can accept the results of a batch of check invocations. Soundcheck then aggregates and displays these results.
Alternatively, you may leverage the Soundcheck fact framework, which provides a mechanism by which Soundcheck itself can collect facts about an entity in Backstage, and execute checks based on those facts.
Does Soundcheck provide any integrations with third-party tools?
Yes! Out-of-the-box, Soundcheck integrates with GitHub, GitLab, Gitea, Gerrit, BitBucketCloud, and BitBucketServer. Facts that can be collected from source control management providers include file existence and file content extraction via regular expressions or JSON/yaml paths. For GitHub, facts can also be extracted from repository details and branch protection information. For more information on these integrations, see the SCM Readme and GitHub Readme.
What happened to Soundcheck programs?
Soundcheck Programs are now called Tracks - we believe that the term “Track” provides a clearer and more intuitive understanding of the program's content. You may still see some references to “Programs” throughout Soundcheck (for example in .yaml configuration), future releases will cover the renaming of the remaining occurrences.
Does Spotify provide any of its tracks for Soundcheck?
No. Soundcheck allows you to create checks and tracks which reflect your organization's operational standards and best practices.
Our goal is to be as unopinionated as possible about the tracks you define and what constitutes passing a check.
Does Soundcheck integrate with the RBAC plugin?
Along with the No-Code UI release, we have recently integrated Soundcheck with the RBAC plugin. Adopters can use the RBAC plugin to manage (allow and restrict) what individual users or groups can do within Soundcheck.
Soundcheck's No-Code UI integrates with Backstage's permission framework on the RBAC plugin. This integration enables restricting which users/groups can Create, Read, Update, or Delete (CRUD) Soundcheck checks and tracks.
Check out the RBAC integration documentation for steps to allow/restrict specific permissions for No-Code UI users.
How is this different from the open source permissions framework?
The biggest difference between the RBAC offering within the Spotify Plugins for Backstage subscription and the open source permissions framework is that the RBAC plugin is a no-code interface that easily allows anyone within your organization to configure permission policies. This plugin offers a guided policy authoring experience, so that you don't need to dig through code and docs to implement your policy. RBAC provides real-time validation as you build your policy, structured mapping between organization and roles, and a view of all the changes made.
How do I integrate RBAC with my other plugins?
RBAC utilizes Backstage's open source permission framework to allow or restrict access. In order to integrate RBAC with other plugins, plugins should instead integrate with the permission framework. More information on how to configure the permission framework for a plugin can be found here.
How is this different from other learning management systems?
Learning management systems are generally centrally managed and geared towards housing and delivering formal learning content. The Skill Exchange plugin is a marketplace created for R&D and engineering communities that offers a variety of engagement opportunities beyond formal learning coursework. With Skill Exchange, anyone can create a learning opportunity or offer their expertise. It empowers individuals and teams to connect with and learn from each other through practical, on-the-job learning opportunities that will be most impactful for them. All of this engagement drives meaningful growth and can identify other talent management initiatives internally.
Who can use Skill Exchange?
While Skill Exchange was designed for R&D and engineering teams, it is customizable enough to be used for any team at your company. As we continue to build out the functionality, we will make more intentional choices that enable folks outside of R&D organizations.
What aspects of Skill Exchange are customizable?
Skill Exchange user profiles are currently pre-loaded with a number of skill categories and skills. Administrators can add any custom skills to the existing categories.
What are best practices for getting traction with Skill Exchange internally?
There are a few ways that you can socialize this idea and get buy-in from stakeholders. We would be happy to talk through what worked for us and provide you with resources on how to drive adoption.
What integrations exist for Skill Exchange?
At this time, we offer a Slack integration. In the future, we will offer an integration with GitHub Enterprise. We are exploring options to enable generic ways to integrate with Skill Exchange features and data (API) integrations with other HR and LMS tools such as Workday and LinkedIn Learning.
What's the difference between Pulse and other HR survey tools?
While typical HR surveys are great at helping to understand the needs of employees in general, Pulse is designed to surface insights about key drivers of engineering culture, productivity, and satisfaction. We've carefully crafted Pulse questions with experts in these fields, which means response data can be used to inform all kinds of decision-making targeted at improving the engineering experience.
What does the survey consist of?
The survey consists of a core set of questions related to engineering culture, tasks, and ways of working. The question set is designed to surface key insights related to an organization's engineering productivity, satisfaction and culture.
Can I create my own survey questions?
Pulse's primary objective is to help organizations track a key set of metrics related to engineering productivity, satisfaction and culture. To do this, we rely on asking a consistent core set of questions that we've developed alongside experts in this field. At the moment, this set of questions cannot be changed, but our ambition is to allow users to extend this set of questions in the future.
Are responses anonymous?
The survey responses are aggregated before they are made available to view on Backstage and the individual responses are disassociated from whoever made them. Any insights are presented at an aggregate level, as our goal is to reveal organization-level trends which can be used to inform decision-making, rather than focusing on individual responses.
Can managers view which members of their team responded to the survey?
No, managers cannot view this information. We have thoroughly considered this decision to encourage survey participants to be as honest as possible without worrying about their privacy. We also hope that this level of anonymity will encourage a high survey response rate.
Who has access to run Pulse surveys and view the results?
Your organization will assign Pulse administrators based on their Backstage login identity. Administrators can set up, open, and close surveys, as well as review the results before publishing them to the entire organization.
How do participants access the survey and view results?
Pulse is entirely embedded into Backstage. Users can create a survey, take a survey, and view survey results all within Backstage on the Pulse tab.
How can I run the survey at my organization?
We recommend running the survey once every three months. As an administrator, you can set the dates and duration of the survey. When the survey is open, all users with Backstage access can see it. When the survey is completed, the administrator can review and publish the results in Backstage.
What metrics does Insights track?
Total searches: Shows the total number of searches for a given period
Daily number of searches: Shows trending daily searches for a selected period
Top search queries: Shows top searches and how many times a query has been searched
Template activity: Shows general activity for a given template over a given period (similar to what is shown on Github for repository activity)
Total number of runs: Shows the number of completed runs for a Software Template and ranks Templates based on completed runs
Total active users: Shows the total percentage of users that have accessed Backstage during a selected period. Note for all the pages within Backstage, the selected period can be between any two to 90 days into the past.
Daily active users over time: Shows the total number of daily active users (DAU) trend for a given period
Daily active users segmented: Shows the grouped total number of DAU trends for a given period
Total visited entities: The total percentage of entities that have been accessed in a given period
Top visited entities: A visualization showing the top visited entities in the catalog
How is Insights different from other analytics services?
The Insights plugin for Backstage is hosted by Spotify, so that you don't need to worry about scaling out an analytics database or data collection services. We take care of that for you, which saves you time. Simply install it, configure it, wait for data collection to start, and you're on your way to understanding how backstage is going at your organization.
Does Insights only work with Spotify Plugins for Backstage?
Insights is able to surface trends across every part of your Backstage application, whether it's in an open source plugin, one of the other plugins included in the Spotify Plugins bundle, or in a custom plugin developed in-house at your organization.
Is Insights installed and deployed on prem?
Insights is a hosted service offered by Spotify. While installing Insights is no different than installing other plugins in Backstage, Spotify takes care of availability and scaling on your behalf. Dashboards are available through your Backstage instance like any other Spotify plugin.
Who can access our data?
Data and dashboards are only accessible by authorized users of your choosing. Access within Spotify is restricted to only those operating and improving the product. More information on this can be found under the Compliance, Privacy, and Data Security page.
What data is captured for users and entities by default to support segmentation?
By default Insights captures the following data for entities: kind, metadata.namespace, spec.type, spec.lifecycle, spec.owner. And for users: kind, metadata.namespace, spec.memberOf.
Can we supply our own custom dimensions to segment data on?
Yes! Follow the guidance in the documentation to specify what dimensions you want to capture in the app.config.yaml. This is useful to customize segmentation to fit your organizational needs.
How do I migrate from the Insights experience on backstage.spotify.com to the Backstage plugin?
If you are already using Insights in backstage.spotify.com, you may need to update the backend Insights plugin as you normally would by following these instructions and then all you need to do is download the frontend plugin from here. You will see data immediately.
If you purchased the bundle but have not yet installed Insights, what are you waiting for?! Download the backend and frontend. Please be aware that it may take a couple of days for the data to populate and show in the Insights plugin.
How long will the (old) Insights be available for?
It will be available under your account for 2-3 weeks, please contact us if you'd like it to be longer.
Why did the Insights experience change to become a Backstage plugin?
We wanted to reduce friction and centralize all of the plugins in Backstage so that you don't need yet another place to go to manage your Backstage adoption.
What else changed about Insights with the new experience?
We have introduced filtering out of the box for plugin, user groups and namespaces and entity kinds, lifecycle, namespace, owner and type. These dimensions can be extended through configuration to meet your needs. We have also extended data retention for 90 days with the ability to select any time period that works for you. We have also introduced new graphs and user experience improvements that make it easier to get the answers to your adoption questions.