Developer Portals cover image

Developer Portals: Prepare to Perform with Red Hat Developer Hub

Joshua Wood, Hans-Peter Grahsl, Ryan Jarvinen


Note: This preview edition of Developer Portals, Chapters 1–5, is a work in progress. The final book is estimated to be released in May 2024. Last update: March 19, 2024.

Modern development can be fraught with disparate development systems and distributed teams, and organizations with multiple development teams often struggle with competing priorities, diverse tools and technologies, and establishing best practices. A unified platform that can consolidate these elements of the development process and foster internal collaboration helps development teams focus on what really matters—writing high-quality code and accelerating application delivery.

Red Hat Developer Hub is an enterprise-grade, supported version of Backstage, an open source framework created by Spotify for building developer portals. Engineering teams can use Red Hat Developer Hub to reduce friction and frustration and boost their productivity, giving their organization a competitive advantage.

This developer’s guide to developer portals offers insights in terms of Backstage and Red Hat Developer Hub, which together represent the pioneering implementation of developer portal concepts.

  • Learn what an internal developer portal (IDP) is and the problems it addresses.
  • Get an in-depth view of Red Hat Developer Hub (RHDH), built around the open source Backstage core to implement an enterprise distribution of a platform for creating developer portals.
  • Dive into the tools found in an RHDH instance and learn how to work with those tools to build an application.
  • Understand the basics of Backstage Software Templates and the architecture of the example application. 


Hello [cruel] World

Writing “Hello World” hasn’t gotten any harder. But running it has. Hello World today means a running container, built by an automated pipeline (triggered by a source code commit) into a container image, stored in some registry, with an attendant manifest declaring how it should be brought to life by a container orchestrator.

There is a lot of stuff to write that is not your application.

So much YAML

Build configuration, CI/CD, container, repository, deployment (Deployment), StatefulSet, Ingress, Route…

You want this stuff—or you should. And your company definitely wants it. It has a lot of benefits. But complexity in doing simple things will threaten to impose diminishing returns. In computing, the answer to complexity is always abstraction.

You’re supposed to be an expert in Java, not an expert on the details of your new team’s AWS and OpenShift environments, configurations, and prerequisites.

Trade it all for just a little more

Internal developer platforms (IDPs) aim to provide abstraction of development processes, offering a surface for capturing effective tools, libraries, source boilerplate, and configuration and centralizing access to them. Ironically, in the IDP ecosystem examined here, simplifying all that YAML involves… more YAML.

Internal developer platforms

An Internal Developer Platform is a set of tools, services, and practices intended to improve the productivity and collaboration of software development teams by abstracting and automating the surrounding complexity of the development and deployment process. An IDP provides developers with a unified environment for managing application components, services, and the development lifecycle, including code, infrastructure, and deployment.

IDPs address several key challenges in the software development process, including:

  • Complexity: Modern software development involves many tools, services, and processes. IDPs centralize access to these resources.
  • Collaboration: IDPs promote collaboration by offering shared resources, standardized workflows, and a consistent experience in a development team.
  • Visibility: Developers can’t always see what other teams are working on. IDPs make large deployment environments more transparent.
  • Productivity: By automating repetitive tasks and providing self-service capabilities, IDPs allow developers to focus on writing code and delivering value.