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Catalog Configuration


The catalog has a concept of processors to perform catalog ingestion tasks, such as reading raw entity data from a remote source, parsing it, transforming it, and validating it. These processors are configured under the catalog.processors configuration key.

Static Location Configuration

The simplest configuration for the catalog, as shown in the default @backstage/create-app template, is to declaratively add locations pointing to YAML files with static configuration.

Locations are added to the catalog under the catalog.locations key:

- type: url

The url type locations are handled by a standard processor included with the catalog (UrlReaderProcessor), so no processor configuration is needed. This processor does however need an integration to understand how to retrieve a given URL. For the example above, you would need to configure the GitHub integration to read files from

The locations added through static configuration cannot be removed through the catalog locations API. To remove these locations, you must remove them from the configuration.

Syntax errors or other types of errors present in catalog-info.yaml files will be logged for investigation. Errors do not cause processing to abort.

When multiple catalog-info.yaml files with the same property are discovered, one will be processed and all others will be skipped. This action is logged for further investigation.

Local File (type: file) Configurations

In addition to url locations, you can use the file location type to bring in content from the local file system. You should only use this for local development, test setups, and example data, not for production data. You are also not able to use placeholders in them like $text. You can however reference other files relative to the current file. See the full catalog example data set here for an extensive example.

Here is an example pulling in the all.yaml file from the examples folder. Note the use of ../../ to go up two levels from the current execution path of the backend. This is typically packages/backend/.

- type: file
target: ../../examples/all.yaml

Integration Processors

Integrations may simply provide a mechanism to handle url location type for an external provider or they may also include additional processors out of the box, such as the GitHub discovery processor that scans a GitHub organization for entity descriptor files.

Check the integrations documentation to see what is offered by each integration.

Custom Processors

To ingest entities from an existing system already tracking software, you can also write a custom processor to convert between the existing system and Backstage's descriptor format. This is documented in External Integrations.

Catalog Rules

By default, the catalog will only allow the ingestion of entities with the kind Component, API, and Location. In order to allow entities of other kinds to be added, you need to add rules to the catalog. Rules are added either in a separate catalog.rules key or added to statically configured locations.

For example, given the following configuration:

- allow: [Component, API, Location, Template]

- type: url
- allow: [Group]

We are able to add entities of kind Component, API, Location, or Template from any location, and Group entities from the org-data.yaml, which will also be read as a statically configured location.

Note that if the catalog.rules key is present it will replace the default value, meaning that you need to add rules for the default kinds if you want those to still be allowed.

The following configuration will reject any kind of entities from being added to the catalog:

rules: []

Readonly mode

Processors provide a good way to automate the ingestion of entities when combined with Static Location Configuration or a discovery processor like GitHub Discovery. To enforce the usage of processors to locate entities we can configure the catalog into readonly mode. This configuration disables registering and deleting locations with the catalog APIs.

readonly: true

Note that any plugin relying on the catalog API for creating, updating, and deleting entities will not work in this mode.

Deleting an entity by UUID, DELETE /entities/by-uid/:uid, is allowed when using this mode. It may be rediscovered as noted in explicit deletion.

A common use case for this configuration is when organizations have a remote source that should be mirrored into Backstage. To make Backstage a mirror of this remote source, users cannot also register new entities with e.g. the catalog-import plugin.

Clean up orphaned entities

In short, entities can become orphaned through multiple means, such as when a catalog-info YAML file is moved from one place to another in the version control system without updating the registration in the catalog. For safety reasons, the default behavior is to just tag the orphaned entities, and keep them around. You can read more about orphaned entities here.

However, if you do wish to automatically remove the orphaned entities, you can use the following configuration, and everything with an orphaned entity tag will be eventually deleted.

orphanStrategy: delete

Processing Interval

The processing loop is responsible for running your registered processors on all entities, on a certain interval. That interval can be configured with the processingInterval app-config parameter.

processingInterval: { minutes: 45 }

The value is a duration object, that has one or more of the fields years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds, and milliseconds. You can combine them, for example as { hours: 1, minutes: 15 } which essentially means that you want the processing loop to visit entities roughly once every 75 minutes.

Note that this is only a suggested minimum, and the actual interval may be longer. Internally, the catalog will scale up this number by a small factor and choose random numbers in that range to spread out the load. If the catalog is overloaded and cannot process all entities during the interval, the time taken between processing runs of any given entity may also be longer than specified here.

Setting this value too low risks exhausting rate limits on external systems that are queried by processors, such as version control systems housing catalog-info files.