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Create an App

To get set up quickly with your own Backstage project you can create a Backstage App.

A Backstage App is a monorepo setup with lerna that includes everything you need to run Backstage in your own environment.

If you intend to contribute a plugin, new feature, or bug fix to the Backstage project, you may want to read the Contributors guide instead.

Create an app

To create a Backstage app, you will need to have Node.js Active LTS Release installed.

Backstage provides a utility for creating new apps. It guides you through the initial setup of selecting the name of the app and a database for the backend. The database options are either SQLite or PostgreSQL, where the latter requires you to set up a separate database instance. If in doubt, choose SQLite, but don't worry about the choice, it's easy to change later! Here is a tutorial for it.

The easiest way to run the create app package is with npx:

npx @backstage/create-app@latest

This will create a new Backstage App inside the current folder. The name of the app-folder is the name that was provided when prompted.

create app

Inside that directory, it will generate all the files and folder structure needed for you to run your app.

General folder structure

Below is a simplified layout of the files and folders generated when creating an app.

├── app-config.yaml
├── catalog-info.yaml
├── lerna.json
├── package.json
└── packages
  ├── app
   └── backend
  • app-config.yaml: Main configuration file for the app. See Configuration for more information.
  • catalog-info.yaml: Catalog Entities descriptors. See Descriptor Format of Catalog Entities to get started.
  • lerna.json: Contains information about workspaces and other lerna configuration needed for the monorepo setup.
  • package.json: Root package.json for the project. Note: Be sure that you don't add any npm dependencies here as they probably should be installed in the intended workspace rather than in the root.
  • packages/: Lerna leaf packages or "workspaces". Everything here is going to be a separate package, managed by lerna.
  • packages/app/: An fully functioning Backstage frontend app, that acts as a good starting point for you to get to know Backstage.
  • packages/backend/: We include a backend that helps power features such as Authentication, Software Catalog, Software Templates and TechDocs amongst other things.


The create app command doesn't always work as expected, this is a collection of some of the commonly encountered issues and solutions.

Couldn't find any versions for "file-saver"

You may encounter the following error message:

Couldn't find any versions for "file-saver" that matches "eligrey-FileSaver.js-1.3.8.tar.gz-art-external"

This is likely because you have a globally configured npm proxy, which breaks the installation of the material-table dependency. This is a known issue and being worked on in material-table, but for now you can work around it using the following:

NPM_CONFIG_REGISTRY= npx @backstage/create-app

Can't find Python executable "python"

The install process may also fail if no Python installation is available. Python is commonly available in most systems already, but if it isn't you can head for example here to install it.

Could not execute command yarn install

Install Yarn on your system with npm install --global yarn or for more details refer to the prerequisites.

Run the app

When the installation is complete you can open the app folder and start the app.

cd my-backstage-app
yarn dev

The yarn dev command will run both the frontend and backend as separate processes (named [0] and [1]) in the same window. When the command finishes running, it should open up a browser window displaying your app. If not, you can open a browser and directly navigate to the frontend at http://localhost:3000.

Now you're free to hack away on your own Backstage installation!

As you get more experienced with the app, in future you can run just the frontend with yarn start in one window, and the backend with yarn start-backend in a different window.