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Keeping Backstage Updated

Backstage is always improving, so it's a good idea to stay in sync with the latest releases. Backstage is more of a library than an application or service; similar to create-react-app, the @backstage/create-app tool gives you a starting point that's meant to be evolved.

Updating Backstage versions with backstage-cli

The Backstage CLI has a command to bump all @backstage packages and dependencies you're using to the latest versions: versions


yarn backstage-cli versions:bump

The reason for bumping all @backstage packages at once is to maintain the dependencies that they have between each other.

By default the bump command will upgrade @backstage packages to the latest main release line which is released monthly. For those in a hurry that want to track the next release line which releases weekly can do so using the --release next option.

yarn backstage-cli versions:bump --release next

If you are using other plugins you can pass in the --pattern option to update more than just the @backstage/* dependencies.

yarn backstage-cli versions:bump --pattern '@{backstage,roadiehq}/*'

Following create-app template changes

The @backstage/create-app command creates the initial structure of your Backstage installation from a template. The source of this template in the Backstage repository is updated periodically, but your local app and backend packages are established at create-app time and won't automatically get these template updates.

For this reason, any changes made to the template are documented along with upgrade instructions in the changelog of the @backstage/create-app package. We recommend peeking at this changelog for any applicable updates when upgrading packages. As an alternative, the Backstage Upgrade Helper provides a consolidated view of all the changes between two versions of Backstage. You can find the current version of your Backstage installation in backstage.json.

More information on dependency mismatches

Backstage is structured as a monorepo with Yarn workspaces. This means the app and backend packages, as well as any custom plugins you've added, are separate packages with their own package.json and dependencies.

When a given dependency version is the same between different packages, the dependency is hoisted to the main node_modules folder in the monorepo root to be shared between packages. When different versions of the same dependency are encountered, Yarn creates a node_modules folder within a particular package.

This can lead to confusing situations with type definitions, or anything with global state. React Context, for example, depends on global referential equality. This can cause problems in Backstage with API lookup, or config loading.

To help resolve these situations, the Backstage CLI has versions

. This will validate versions of @backstage packages in your app to check for duplicate definitions:

# Add --fix to attempt automatic resolution in yarn.lock
yarn backstage-cli versions:check