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What you need to know about internal developer portals


For platform engineering teams, the big question is: build or buy?

Helping developers do more in less time has become a priority for organizations. As the scope of SaaS continues to expand and DevOps continues to gain popularity, companies are finding they need to ease the cognitive load on developers, who often need to be aware of all the microservices available to them.

While this problem was initially addressed with service catalogs, the category has morphed into something more ambitious: a one-stop shop that gives developers access to all the microservices and tools in their ecosystem.

This category, referred to as internal developer portals, is rapidly gaining popularity among software-intensive companies looking to improve their developer experience, and therefore their efficiency. According to Forrester87% of DevOps leaders agreed that increasing developer productivity is a priority for the next 12 months.

Per Gartner“These portals enable software engineering leaders to create a versatile ‘app store’ that increases software reuse, improves the developer onboarding experience, streamlines software delivery and facilitates knowledge sharing.”

But these developer portals didn’t just happen by themselves. Their emergence is closely related to another trend: the emergence of platform engineering.

In a nutshell, platform engineering teams are “groups within typically larger organizations assigned the role of improving the developer experience for other developers in the organization,” Shomik Ghosh, partner at Boldstart Ventures, told TechCrunch+.

Platform engineering teams are becoming more common in large organizations, as are in-house developer portals. Gartner expected that by 2026, 80% of software engineering organizations will have a platform team, and that by 2025, 75% of organizations with platform teams will provide self-service developer portals to their engineers.

To better understand why and how in-house developer portals came about, let’s go back in time a bit.

Go beyond catalogs

Internal developer portals are an important tool for platform engineering teams, but they actually came into existence before either concept was fully conceived. They even came about in the wake of DevOps: engineers were suddenly increasingly tasked with implementing and using the code they write. But in reality – and in production – it was often unclear who owned a particular microservice.

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