Backstage can be configured to use GitHub Apps for backend authentication. This comes with advantages such as higher rate limits and that Backstage can act as an application instead of a user or bot account.
It also provides a much clearer and better authorization model as a opposed to the OAuth apps and their respective scopes.
- This authentication method is built for authenticating towards organization repositories and not towards personal repositories.
- It's not possible to have multiple Backstage GitHub Apps installed in the same GitHub organization, to be handled by Backstage. We currently don't check through all the registered GitHub Apps to see which ones are installed for a particular repository. We only respect global Organization installs right now.
- App permissions is not managed by Backstage. They're created with some simple
default permissions which you are free to change as you need, but you will
need to update them in the GitHub web console, not in Backstage right now. The
permissions that are defaulted are
- The created GitHub App is private by default, this is most likely what you want for github.com but it's recommended to make your application public for GitHub Enterprise in order to share application across your GHE organizations.
A GitHub app created with the cli will have read access by default. You have to manually update the GitHub App settings in GitHub to grant the app more permissions if needed.
Using the CLI (public GitHub only)
You can use the
backstage-cli to create a GitHub App using a manifest file
that we provide. This gives us a way to automate some of the work required to
create a GitHub app.
yarn backstage-cli create-github-app <github org>
You can read more about the
backstage-cli create-github-app command.
Once you've gone through the CLI command, it should produce a YAML file in the
root of the project which you can then use as an
include in your
app-config.yaml. You can go ahead and
skip ahead if you've already got an app.
Note that the created app will have a webhook that is disabled by default and
smee.io, which is intended for local development. There's also
currently no part of Backstage that makes use of the webhook.
You have to create the GitHub Application manually using these instructions as GitHub Enterprise does not support creation of apps from manifests.
Once the application is created you have to generate a private key for the application and place it in a YAML file.
The YAML file must include the following information. Please note that the
indentation for the
privateKey is required.
appId: app id clientId: client id clientSecret: client secret webhookSecret: webhook secret privateKey: | -----BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY----- ...Key content... -----END RSA PRIVATE KEY-----
Including in Integrations Config
Once the credentials are stored in a YAML file generated by
or manually by following the GitHub Enterprise
instructions, they can be included in the
app-config.yaml under the
Please note that the credentials file is highly sensitive and should NOT be checked into any kind of version control. Instead use your preferred secure method of distributing secrets.
integrations: github: - host: github.com apps: - $include: example-backstage-app-credentials.yaml
Limiting the GitHub App installations
If you want to limit the GitHub app installations visible to backstage you may
optionally include the
appId: app id allowedInstallationOwners: ['GlobexCorp'] clientId: client id clientSecret: client secret webhookSecret: webhook secret privateKey: | -----BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY----- ...Key content... -----END RSA PRIVATE KEY-----
This will result in backstage preventing the use of any installation that is not within the allow list.
When creating a GitHub App, you must select permissions to define the level of access for the app. The permissions required vary depending on your use of the integration:
Reading software components:
Reading organization data:
Publishing software templates:
Read & write(for creating repositories)
Read & write
Read & write
Read & write
Read & write(if templates include GitHub workflows)