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A goal of Backstage is to provide a delightful developer experience in and around the project. Creating new apps and plugins should be simple, iteration speed should be fast, and the overhead of maintaining custom tooling should be minimal. As a part of accomplishing this goal, Backstage provides its own build system and tooling, delivered primarily through the @backstage/cli package. When creating an app using @backstage/create-app, you receive a project that's already prepared with a typical setup and package scripts for executing the most common commands.

Under the hood the CLI uses Webpack for bundling, Rollup for building packages, Jest for testing, and eslint for linting. It also includes tooling for working within Backstage apps, for example for keeping the app up to date and verifying static configuration. For a more in-depth look into the tooling, see the build system page, and for a list of commands, see the commands page.

While the Backstage tooling is opinionated in how it works, it is also possible to use your own tooling either partially or fully. For example, the CLI provides a command for building a plugin package for publishing, but the output is a quite standard combination of transpiled JavaScript and TypeScript type declarations. The usage of the command from the CLI can therefore be augmented or replaced with other tools if necessary.

The Backstage CLI intentionally does not provide many hooks for overriding or customizing the build process. This is to allow for evolution of the CLI without having to take a wide API surface into account. This allows us to iterate and improve the tooling, as well as to more easily keep the system up to date.