Colm Doyle A Software Engineering Manager in Dublin, Ireland.

Spotify gets into the Developer Experience business

Tyson Singer, writing for Spotify on the Spotify engineering blog:

First, the basics:

  • These new plugins are made to work with Backstage, the open source platform for developer portals that we donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.
  • Plugins are how you add functionality to Backstage, from security alerts to integrating with CI/CD.
  • Anyone can make their own bespoke plugins or get free ones from the Backstage open source Plugin Marketplace.

And, as of today, you can also buy plugins made by Spotify.

Backstage has always struck me as a strange endeavour. I get why Spotify would have bespoke internal tooling, and I get why they would open source it, but they always seemed to be a little too invested in making it successful. It appeared to have a handful of employees who sole focus was driving adoption. Which even for a major company’s internal tooling was a bit random.

But I guess now they’ve taken it a step further and are literally trying to create a revenue stream out of it. I can’t imagine it’s going to be in any way significant to their bottom line, so I wonder how long will it be before someone starts wondering if it’s worth the investment and the team working on it get moved over to a part of the core business.

In a way, it feels a bit like Workplace by Meta, which was a commercialization of how Facebook had been using the Groups product for internal use. Sure, it brought in some amount of revenue, and would probably have been a respectably profitable company by itself, but it was nothing compared to the firehose of cash that is the Ads business and I therefore always expected it to be shutdown as a distraction to the core business.