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Customize the look-and-feel of your App

Backstage ships with a default theme with a light and dark mode variant. The themes are provided as a part of the @backstage/theme package, which also includes utilities for customizing the default theme, or creating completely new themes.

Creating a Custom Theme

The easiest way to create a new theme is to use the createTheme function exported by the @backstage/theme package. You can use it to override some basic parameters of the default theme such as the color palette and font.

For example, you can create a new theme based on the default light theme like this:

import { createTheme, lightTheme } from '@backstage/theme';

const myTheme = createTheme({
palette: lightTheme.palette,
fontFamily: 'Comic Sans MS',
defaultPageTheme: 'home',
});

If you want more control over the theme, and for example customize font sizes and margins, you can use the lower-level createThemeOverrides function exported by @backstage/theme in combination with createTheme from @material-ui/core. See the "Overriding Backstage and Material UI css rules" section below.

You can also create a theme from scratch that matches the BackstageTheme type exported by @backstage/theme. See the Material UI docs on theming for more information about how that can be done.

Using your Custom Theme

To add a custom theme to your Backstage app, you pass it as configuration to createApp.

For example, adding the theme that we created in the previous section can be done like this:

import { createApp } from '@backstage/app-defaults';
import { ThemeProvider } from '@material-ui/core/styles';
import CssBaseline from '@material-ui/core/CssBaseline';
import LightIcon from '@material-ui/icons/WbSunny';

const app = createApp({
apis: ...,
plugins: ...,
themes: [{
id: 'my-theme',
title: 'My Custom Theme',
variant: 'light',
icon: <LightIcon />,
Provider: ({ children }) => (
<ThemeProvider theme={myTheme}>
<CssBaseline>{children}</CssBaseline>
</ThemeProvider>
),
}]
})

Note that your list of custom themes overrides the default themes. If you still want to use the default themes, they are exported as lightTheme and darkTheme from @backstage/theme.

Example of a custom theme

import {
createTheme,
genPageTheme,
lightTheme,
shapes,
} from '@backstage/theme';

const myTheme = createTheme({
palette: {
...lightTheme.palette,
primary: {
main: '#343b58',
},
secondary: {
main: '#565a6e',
},
error: {
main: '#8c4351',
},
warning: {
main: '#8f5e15',
},
info: {
main: '#34548a',
},
success: {
main: '#485e30',
},
background: {
default: '#d5d6db',
paper: '#d5d6db',
},
banner: {
info: '#34548a',
error: '#8c4351',
text: '#343b58',
link: '#565a6e',
},
errorBackground: '#8c4351',
warningBackground: '#8f5e15',
infoBackground: '#343b58',
navigation: {
background: '#343b58',
indicator: '#8f5e15',
color: '#d5d6db',
selectedColor: '#ffffff',
},
},
defaultPageTheme: 'home',
fontFamily: 'Comic Sans MS',
/* below drives the header colors */
pageTheme: {
home: genPageTheme({ colors: ['#8c4351', '#343b58'], shape: shapes.wave }),
documentation: genPageTheme({
colors: ['#8c4351', '#343b58'],
shape: shapes.wave2,
}),
tool: genPageTheme({ colors: ['#8c4351', '#343b58'], shape: shapes.round }),
service: genPageTheme({
colors: ['#8c4351', '#343b58'],
shape: shapes.wave,
}),
website: genPageTheme({
colors: ['#8c4351', '#343b58'],
shape: shapes.wave,
}),
library: genPageTheme({
colors: ['#8c4351', '#343b58'],
shape: shapes.wave,
}),
other: genPageTheme({ colors: ['#8c4351', '#343b58'], shape: shapes.wave }),
app: genPageTheme({ colors: ['#8c4351', '#343b58'], shape: shapes.wave }),
apis: genPageTheme({ colors: ['#8c4351', '#343b58'], shape: shapes.wave }),
},
});

For a more complete example of a custom theme including Backstage and Material UI component overrides, see the Aperture theme from the Backstage demo site.

Overriding Backstage and Material UI components styles

When creating a custom theme you would be applying different values to component's css rules that use the theme object. For example, a Backstage component's styles might look like this:

const useStyles = makeStyles<BackstageTheme>(
theme => ({
header: {
padding: theme.spacing(3),
boxShadow: '0 0 8px 3px rgba(20, 20, 20, 0.3)',
backgroundImage: theme.page.backgroundImage,
},
}),
{ name: 'BackstageHeader' },
);

Notice how the padding is getting its value from theme.spacing, that means that setting a value for spacing in your custom theme would affect this component padding property and the same goes for backgroundImage which uses theme.page.backgroundImage. However, the boxShadow property doesn't reference any value from the theme, that means that creating a custom theme wouldn't be enough to alter the box-shadow property or to add css rules that aren't already defined like a margin. For these cases you should also create an override.

import { createApp } from '@backstage/core-app-api';
import { BackstageTheme, lightTheme } from '@backstage/theme';
/**
* The `@backstage/core-components` package exposes this type that
* contains all Backstage and `material-ui` components that can be
* overridden along with the classes key those components use.
*/
import { BackstageOverrides } from '@backstage/core-components';

export const createCustomThemeOverrides = (
theme: BackstageTheme,
): BackstageOverrides => {
return {
BackstageHeader: {
header: {
width: 'auto',
margin: '20px',
boxShadow: 'none',
borderBottom: `4px solid ${theme.palette.primary.main}`,
},
},
};
};

const customTheme: BackstageTheme = {
...lightTheme,
overrides: {
// These are the overrides that Backstage applies to `material-ui` components
...lightTheme.overrides,
// These are your custom overrides, either to `material-ui` or Backstage components.
...createCustomThemeOverrides(lightTheme),
},
};

const app = createApp({
apis: ...,
plugins: ...,
themes: [{
id: 'my-theme',
title: 'My Custom Theme',
variant: 'light',
Provider: ({ children }) => (
<ThemeProvider theme={customTheme}>
<CssBaseline>{children}</CssBaseline>
</ThemeProvider>
),
}]
});

In addition to a custom theme, you can also customize the logo displayed at the far top left of the site.

In your frontend app, locate src/components/Root/ folder. You'll find two components:

  • LogoFull.tsx - A larger logo used when the Sidebar navigation is opened.
  • LogoIcon.tsx - A smaller logo used when the sidebar navigation is closed.

To replace the images, you can simply replace the relevant code in those components with raw SVG definitions.

You can also use another web image format such as PNG by importing it. To do this, place your new image into a new subdirectory such as src/components/Root/logo/my-company-logo.png, and then add this code:

import MyCustomLogoFull from './logo/my-company-logo.png';

const LogoFull = () => {
return <img src={MyCustomLogoFull} />;
};

Icons

So far you've seen how to create your own theme and add your own logo, in the following sections you'll be shown how to override the existing icons and how to add more icons

Custom Icons

You can also customize the Project's default icons.

You can change the following icons.

Requirements

  • Files in .svg format
  • React components created for the icons

Create React Component

In your front-end application, locate the src folder. We suggest creating the assets/icons directory and CustomIcons.tsx file.

Another example here, if you want to ensure proper behavior in light and dark themes.

customIcons.tsx
import { SvgIcon, SvgIconProps } from '@material-ui/core';

import React from 'react';

export const ExampleIcon = (props: SvgIconProps) => (
<SvgIcon {...props} viewBox="0 0 24 24">
<path
fill="currentColor"
width="1em"
height="1em"
display="inline-block"
d="M11.6335 10.8398C11.6335 11.6563 12.065 12.9922 13.0863 12.9922C14.1075 12.9922 14.539 11.6563 14.539 10.8398C14.539 10.0234 14.1075 8.6875 13.0863 8.6875C12.065 8.6875 11.6335 10.0234 11.6335 10.8398V10.8398ZM2.38419e-07 8.86719C2.38419e-07 10.1133 0.126667 11.4336 0.692709 12.5781C2.19292 15.5703 6.3175 15.5 9.27042 15.5C12.2708 15.5 16.6408 15.6055 18.2004 12.5781C18.7783 11.4453 19 10.1133 19 8.86719C19 7.23047 18.4498 5.68359 17.3573 4.42969C17.5631 3.8125 17.6621 3.16406 17.6621 2.52344C17.6621 1.68359 17.4681 1.26172 17.0842 0.5C15.291 0.5 14.1431 0.851562 12.7775 1.90625C11.6296 1.63672 10.45 1.51562 9.26646 1.51562C8.19771 1.51562 7.12104 1.62891 6.08396 1.875C4.73813 0.832031 3.59021 0.5 1.81687 0.5C1.42896 1.26172 1.23896 1.68359 1.23896 2.52344C1.23896 3.16406 1.34188 3.80078 1.54375 4.40625C0.455209 5.67188 2.38419e-07 7.23047 2.38419e-07 8.86719V8.86719ZM2.54521 10.8398C2.54521 9.125 3.60208 7.61328 5.45458 7.61328C6.20271 7.61328 6.91917 7.74609 7.67125 7.84766C8.26104 7.9375 8.85083 7.97266 9.45646 7.97266C10.0581 7.97266 10.6479 7.9375 11.2417 7.84766C11.9819 7.74609 12.7063 7.61328 13.4583 7.61328C15.3108 7.61328 16.3677 9.125 16.3677 10.8398C16.3677 14.2695 13.1852 14.7969 10.4144 14.7969H8.50646C5.72375 14.7969 2.54521 14.2734 2.54521 10.8398V10.8398ZM5.81479 8.6875C6.83604 8.6875 7.2675 10.0234 7.2675 10.8398C7.2675 11.6563 6.83604 12.9922 5.81479 12.9922C4.79354 12.9922 4.36208 11.6563 4.36208 10.8398C4.36208 10.0234 4.79354 8.6875 5.81479 8.6875Z"
/>
</SvgIcon>
);

Using the custom icon

Supply your custom icon in packages/app/src/App.tsx

packages/app/src/App.tsx
import { ExampleIcon } from './assets/customIcons'


const app = createApp({
apis,
components: {
{/* ... */}
},
themes: [
{/* ... */}
],
icons: {
github: ExampleIcon,
},
bindRoutes({ bind }) {
{/* ... */}
}
})

Adding Icons

You can add more icons, if the default icons do not fit your needs, so that they can be used in other places like for Links in your entities. For this example we'll be using icons fromMaterial UI and specifically the AlarmIcon. Here's how to do that:

  1. First you will want to open your App.tsx in /packages/app/src

  2. Then you want to import your icon, add this to the rest of your imports: import AlarmIcon from '@material-ui/icons/Alarm';

  3. Next you want to add the icon like this to your createApp:

    packages/app/src/App.tsx
    const app = createApp({
    apis: ...,
    plugins: ...,
    icons: {
    alert: AlarmIcon,
    },
    themes: ...,
    components: ...,
    });
  4. Now we can reference alert for our icon in our entity links like this:

    apiVersion: backstage.io/v1alpha1
    kind: Component
    metadata:
    name: artist-lookup
    description: Artist Lookup
    links:
    - url: https://example.com/alert
    title: Alerts
    icon: alert

    And this is the result:

    Example Link with Alert icon

    Another way you can use these icons is from the AppContext like this:

    import { useApp } from '@backstage/core-plugin-api';

    const app = useApp();
    const alertIcon = app.getSystemIcon('alert');

    You might want to use this method if you have an icon you want to use in several locations.

Note: If the icon is not available as one of the default icons or one you've added then it will fall back to Material UI's LanguageIcon

Custom Sidebar

As you've seen there are many ways that you can customize your Backstage app. The following section will show you how you can customize the sidebar.

For this example we'll show you how you can expand the sidebar with a sub-menu:

  1. Open the Root.tsx file located in packages/app/src/components/Root as this is where the sidebar code lives

  2. Then we want to add the following import for useApp:

    packages/app/src/components/Root/Root.tsx
    import { useApp } from '@backstage/core-plugin-api';
  3. Then update the @backstage/core-components import like this:

    import {
    Sidebar,
    sidebarConfig,
    SidebarDivider,
    SidebarGroup,
    SidebarItem,
    SidebarPage,
    SidebarScrollWrapper,
    SidebarSpace,
    useSidebarOpenState,
    Link,
    GroupIcon,
    SidebarSubmenu,
    SidebarSubmenuItem,
    } from '@backstage/core-components';
  4. Finally replace <SidebarItem icon={HomeIcon} to="catalog" text="Home" /> with this:

    <SidebarItem icon={HomeIcon} to="catalog" text="Home">
    <SidebarSubmenu title="Catalog">
    <SidebarSubmenuItem
    title="Domains"
    to="catalog?filters[kind]=domain"
    icon={useApp().getSystemIcon('kind:domain')}
    />
    <SidebarSubmenuItem
    title="Systems"
    to="catalog?filters[kind]=system"
    icon={useApp().getSystemIcon('kind:system')}
    />
    <SidebarSubmenuItem
    title="Components"
    to="catalog?filters[kind]=component"
    icon={useApp().getSystemIcon('kind:component')}
    />
    <SidebarSubmenuItem
    title="APIs"
    to="catalog?filters[kind]=api"
    icon={useApp().getSystemIcon('kind:api')}
    />
    <SidebarDivider />
    <SidebarSubmenuItem
    title="Resources"
    to="catalog?filters[kind]=resource"
    icon={useApp().getSystemIcon('kind:resource')}
    />
    <SidebarDivider />
    <SidebarSubmenuItem
    title="Groups"
    to="catalog?filters[kind]=group"
    icon={useApp().getSystemIcon('kind:group')}
    />
    <SidebarSubmenuItem
    title="Users"
    to="catalog?filters[kind]=user"
    icon={useApp().getSystemIcon('kind:user')}
    />
    </SidebarSubmenu>
    </SidebarItem>

When you startup your Backstage app and hover over the Home option on the sidebar you'll now see a nice sub-menu appear with links to the various Kinds in your Catalog. It would look like this:

Sidebar sub-menu example

You can see more ways to use this in the Storybook Sidebar examples

Custom Homepage

In addition to a custom theme, a custom logo, you can also customize the homepage of your app. Read the full guide on the next page.

Migrating to Material UI v5

We now support Material UI v5 in Backstage. Check out our migration guide to get started.