Humanitec: The Golden Path to Platform Engineering
In this podcast, we also discuss the role that Humanitec plays in helping organizations establish platforms for developers, as well as Backstage, a popular open platform for building developer portals that was developed by Spotify for its own developers.
Humanitec defines an IDP as “the sum of all the tech and tools that a platform engineering team binds together to pave golden paths for developers. IDPs lower cognitive load across the engineering organization and enable developer self-service, without abstracting away context from developers or making the underlying tech inaccessible.”
“How you’re consuming this is a little bit up to the individual preference of the user, and what the platform team has configured for you. So we’re seeing some teams like to use a user interface and some teams like to use code-based interactions,” Von Grünberg explained.
In some ways, an IDP is reminiscent of the platform-as-a-service packages of a decade ago. They also were designed to help developer efficiency, though devs chafed at the limited number of tools they were allowed to use in these walled gardens. That was a mistake, Von Grünberg said.
Those platforms required developers to use a small set of pre-defined times.
“We don’t want to get back to those times, which is why we want to provide sensible defaults,” Von Grünberg said. A good IDP will provide developers with “golden paths” (or “paved roads” as Netflix calls them).
“Developers can stay on those paths if they want,” Von Grünberg said. They can enjoy the security default and service-level agreements (SLAs) from the engineers. But developers are also free to leave the path and make low-level configurations on their own as well.
“Good platform engineering is never about covering all the use cases,” he said.