Skip to main content

Using the Backstage Proxy from Within a Plugin

This guide walks you through setting up a simple proxy to an existing API that is deployed externally to backstage and sending requests to that API from within a backstage frontend plugin.

If your plugin requires access to an API, backstage offers 3 options:

  1. you can access the API directly,
  2. you can create a backend plugin if you are implementing the API alongside your frontend plugin
  3. you can configure backstage to proxy to an already existing API.

Table of Contents

Setting up the backstage proxy

Let's say your plugin's API is hosted at, and you want to be able to access it within backstage at /api/proxy/<your-proxy-uri>, and add a default header called X-Custom-Source. You will need to add the following to app-config.yaml:

X-Custom-Source: backstage

You can find more details about the proxy config options in the proxying section.

Calling an API using the backstage proxy

If you followed the previous steps, you should now be able to access your API by calling ${backend-url}/api/proxy/<your-proxy-uri>. The reason why backend-url is referenced is because the backstage backend creates and runs the proxy. Backstage is structured in such a way that you could run the backstage frontend independently of the backend. So when calling your API you need to prepend the backend URL to your http call.

The recommended pattern for calling out to services is to wrap your calls in a Utility API. This section describes the steps to wrap your API client in a Utility API, which are:

  • use createApiRef to create a new ApiRef
  • register an ApiFactory with your plugin using createApiFactory. This will wrap your API implementation, associate your ApiRef with your implementation and tell backstage how to instantiate it
  • finally, you can use your API in your components by calling useApi

Defining the API client interface

Continuing from the previous example, let's assume that has the following endpoints:

GET /usersReturns a list of users
GET /users/{userId}Returns a single user
DELETE /users/{userId}Deletes a user

Here is an example definition for this API following backstage's apiRef style:

/* src/api.ts */
import { createApiRef } from '@backstage/core-plugin-api';

export interface User {
name: string;
email: string;

export interface MyAwesomeApi {
url: string;
listUsers: () => Promise<List<User>>;
getUser: (userId: string) => Promise<User>;
deleteUser: (userId: string) => Promise<boolean>;

export const myAwesomeApiRef = createApiRef<MyAwesomeApi>({
id: '',

Creating the API client

The myAwesomeApiRef is what you will use within backstage to reference the API client in your plugin. The API ref itself is a global singleton object that allows you to reference your instantiated API. The actual implementation would look something like this:

/* src/api.ts */

/* ... */

import { DiscoveryApi } from '@backstage/core-plugin-api';

export class MyAwesomeApiClient implements MyAwesomeApi {
discoveryApi: DiscoveryApi;

constructor({discoveryApi}: {discoveryApi: DiscoveryApi}) {
this.discoveryApi = discoveryApi;

private async fetch<T = any>(input: string, init?: RequestInit): Promise<T> {
// As configured previously for the backend proxy
const proxyUri = '${await this.discoveryApi.getBaseUrl('proxy')}/<your-proxy-uri>';

const resp = await fetch(`${proxyUri}${input}`, init);
if (!resp.ok) throw new Error(resp);
return await resp.json();

async listUsers(): Promise<List<User>> {
return await this.fetch<List<User>>('/users');

async getUser(userId: string): Promise<User> {
return await this.fetch<User>(`/users/${userId}`);

async deleteUser(userId: string): Promise<boolean> {
return await this.fetch<boolean>(
{ method: 'DELETE' }

For more information on the DiscoveryApi check out the docs

Bundling your ApiRef with your plugin

The final piece in the puzzle is bundling the myAwesomeApiRef with a factory for MyAwesomeApiClient objects. This is usually done in the plugin.ts file inside the plugin's src directory. This is an example of what it'd look like, assuming you added the previous code in a file called api.ts:

/* src/plugin.ts */
import { myAwesomeApiRef, MyAwesomeApiClient } from './api';
import {
} from '@backstage/core-plugin-api';


export const myCustomPlugin = createPlugin({
id: '<your-plugin-name>',

// Configure a factory for myAwesomeApiRef
apis: [
api: myAwesomeApiRef,
deps: { discoveryApi: discoveryApiRef },
factory: ({ discoveryApi }) => new MyAwesomeApiClient({ discoveryApi }),

Using the API in your components

Now you should be able to access your API using the backstage hook useApi from within your plugin code.

/* plugins/my-awesome-plugin/src/components/AwesomeUsersTable.tsx */
import { useApi } from '@backstage/core-plugin-api';
import { myAwesomeApiRef } from '../../api';

export const AwesomeUsersTable = () => {
const apiClient = useApi(myAwesomeApiRef);