While the spec for the catalog file format is well described in ADR002, guidance was not provided as to how one is expected to express references to other entities in the catalog. There was also some confusion on how to reference entities in URLs in the Backstage frontend.
Following discussion in Issue 1947, a decision was made.
Entity References in YAML files
The textual format, as written by humans, to reference entities by name is on the following form, where square brackets denote optionality:
That is, it is composed of between one and three parts in this specific order,
without any additional encoding, with those exact separator characters.
namespace are contextual, and they may or may not
have default contextual fallback values.
When that format is insufficient or when machine made interchange formats wish to express such relations in a more expressive form, a nested structure on the following form can be used:
Of these, only
name is always required. Optionality of
are contextual, and they may or may not have default contextual fallback values.
All other possible key values in this structure are reserved for future use.
A system or user wanting to express a full entity name that is always valid, shall supply the entire triplet whether using the string form or the compound form.
A full description of the format can be found in the documentation.
Entity References in URLs
Where entities are referenced by name in the Backstage frontend, the URL containing the reference shall take the following form:
All three parts are required under all circumstances. The default value for the
namespace in the catalog is the string
"default", if the entity does not
specify one explicitly in
This means that we do not encourage the string form of entity references to be used as a single URL segment, due to the use of URL-unsafe characters leading to possible risk, confusion, and uglier URLs.