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React Router 6.0 Migration

Backstage has for a long time been using react-router version 6.0.0-beta.0. We adopted this unstable version because v6 had some new features that fit really well with Backstage, particularly relative routing. Because we jumped on this early and unstable version, we knew that we would at some point need a breaking migration to the stable version of react-router v6, which is the point we're at now!

This migration is required but controlled by each app, meaning that you choose when you want to migrate your app. There will however be some point in the future where we drop support for the beta version of react-router, at which time you would be forced to migrate.

The stable version of React Router v6 brings a number of improvements and bug fixes. Notably, the way that paths are resolved has been improved, which fixes a bug where paths like /catalog and /catalog-import could get confused.


Step 1 - Upgrade to Backstage 1.6

The first Backstage release to support react-router v6 is 1.6. You should upgrade to this version first before you start migrating. If you are an early bird and want to try out migration before that release, it is also shipped in 1.6.0-next.1.

Step 2 - Move react-router to peerDependencies

It's important that only one version of react-router is installed in the project at a time. Similar to how the react version is handled, all plugins and packages now declare a peer dependency on the React Router dependencies, rather than a direct dependency. The only exception to this is the app package (in packages/app/package.json), which has the direct dependencies that end up deciding what version of React Router that you are using in your project.

Your internal packages might specify a dependency on react-router or react-router-dom in their package.json, and it's important that those are converted to peerDependencies so that we can control the version of react-router in the app package.json.

You can automate this step by running the following command:

yarn backstage-cli migrate react-router-deps

For those interested in doing this manually, apply the below change to all package.json files except the one at packages/app/package.json or any other app packages. Skip moving any dependencies that don't already exist, and move both dependencies and devDependencies.

 dependencies {
- "react-router-dom": "^6.0.0-beta.0",
- "react-router": "^6.0.0-beta.0"
peerDependencies: {
+ "react-router-dom": "6.0.0-beta.0 || ^6.3.0",
+ "react-router": "6.0.0-beta.0 || ^6.3.0"

Step 3 - Ensure that your external plugins are updated

It's important that you also update your external plugins to their latest version as these will have to perform the same peerDependencies update.

During this migration there may be external plugins that need updating. If you encounter any plugins outside of the @backstage scope that are incompatible with your installation, make sure to check for an existing issue or raise a new one at the plugin's GitHub repository.

Step 4 - Bump the React Router dependencies in your app

Now it's time to do the actual migration to the latest version of React Router. At this time of writing that is 6.3.0, but that is of course a moving target.

The first step is to modify packages/app/package.json:

-    "react-router": "6.0.0-beta.0",
- "react-router-dom": "6.0.0-beta.0",
+ "react-router": "^6.3.0",
+ "react-router-dom": "^6.3.0",

In case you happen to have multiple app packages in your project, apply the same change to all those packages.

Once the change has been made, run yarn install, and then yarn why react-router to validate the installation. You should see the following line in the log as the only resulting entry:

=> Found "react-router@6.3.0"

If you see multiple entries, and especially => Found "react-router@6.0.0-beta.0", then your dependencies have not yet been fully migrated to support React Router v6 stable. Double check the steps above, using the information that the Yarn why command logged. Repeat the same process for yarn why react-router-dom.

If you end up being stuck not being able to move your entire project to stable versions cleanly, then you can use Yarn "resolutions" overrides in your root package.json. Try to avoid this option as it may lead to hidden breakages at runtime, and verify any plugins that needed the override. A better option is likely to hold off migrating for a while until plugins have had time to be updated.

Step 5 - Breaking Changes

For a new app created with npx @backstage/create-app, the above steps are all you need to do. If you have created internal plugins and customizations then be sure to review the breaking changes in the React Router changelog and validate all parts of your app. We've summarized the most important breaking changes below.

Breaking Changes

See changelog for a full list of breaking changes. Below we highlight a couple of the most important ones.

Route paths

Route components must always contain a path or index prop.

{/* Invalid */}
<Route element={<Example />} />

{/* Valid */}
<Route path="/" element={<Example />} />

{/* Valid but discouraged due to incompatibility with react-router beta */}
<Route index element={<Example />} />

Absolute route paths within each Routes element must now match their own location, meaning that the following is invalid:

<Route path="/foo">
<Route path="/bar" /> {/* INVALID, must be "/foo/bar" or "bar" */}

Routes and Route components

The Routes and Route component both received a large related breaking changes. It is no longer possible to have anything but Route elements and React fragments be a child of a Routes element. This means that structures like these:

<MyComponent path="/foo" />

need to be migrated to this:

<Route path="/foo" element={<MyComponent />} />

Somewhat related to the Routes change, it is no longer possible to render a Route element by itself, outside of a Routes wrapper. Previously, rendering such a Route element would cause the contents of its element prop to be rendered instead, but it will now throw an error.


Because of the above change, the PermissionedRoute component no longer works in all situations with React Router v6 stable. It has been deprecated in favor of the new RequirePermission component, which can be placed anywhere in order to perform a permissions check.

It's crucial that you update to RequirePermission at the same time as you update to React Router v6 stable as the PermissionedRoute component will no longer function.

element={<CatalogImportPage />}
<RequirePermission permission={catalogEntityCreatePermission}>
<CatalogImportPage />

When migrating over to React Router v6 stable, you might also see browser console warnings for the Navigate component. This will need to be wrapped up in a Route component with the Navigate component in the element prop.

<Navigate key="/" to="catalog" />;
<Route path="/" element={<Navigate to="catalog" />} />;

The NavLink component no longer has the activeClassName and activeStyle props. Instead, the className and style props accept a callback that receives a boolean indicating whether the link is active.

For Plugin Authors

There are a few things to keep in mind when migrating a published plugin. You of course need to make sure that dependencies on React Router are moved to peerDependencies as described above. In addition, you need to make sure that your plugin truly is compatible with both versions of React Router at runtime. To help you achieve that, you can follow these additional guidelines:

  • Bump the version of react-router and react-router-dom in your own project to use the stable version. Place them in devDependencies if your plugin is a single package project. The stable version is more strict, so this is the better baseline to work from.
  • Make sure all Route elements have a path prop. Do not use the new index props, as it is not supported by the beta version. Use path="/" for the index routes within a Routes.
  • If you are using NavLink, use both the new and old APIs simultaneously, and work around any TypeScript errors.


Check the browser console for React Router related error messages.

Check yarn.lock for packages depending on older versions of react-router:

yarn why react-router