Three months ago, we announced the Beta release of our Internal Developer Portal (IDP) module to elevate the Developer Experience and streamline Platform Engineering practices. Today, we are thrilled to announce the Public Preview release! We couldn't have reached this milestone without the support and invaluable feedback from our early adopters. Thank you for helping us in building the best and most beloved Software Delivery Platform.
At Harness, we understand that success is a collaborative effort. During our Beta release, we joined forces with dozens of our customers, most of whom were dedicated Platform Engineers and DevOps enthusiasts. Together, we aimed to tackle common challenges and make the developer's journey smoother. Some of them built developer Self-Service Flows to improve new service onboarding time by 100x - from weeks to minutes. While many used the Software Catalog to organize their internal software ecosystem and reduce cognitive load for developers. Let’s dive deeper into these use-cases of Harness IDP, what is new and what is about to come.
Unlocking Developer Self-Service
Expert research analysts like Gartner predict that in a couple of years, 75% of organizations will have a self-service developer portal. We are already witnessing this transformation among our customers. Self-service means that developers spend more time building features for their customers, rather than being blocked on other people and manual processes. It is critical in go-to-market time for newer projects in many companies.
Harness IDP empowers organizations to achieve developer self-service in a number of ways -
Powerful Pipelines: Our pipelines act as a robust low-code/no-code workflow orchestrator, facilitating end-to-end service onboarding which includes repository and toolchain setup, approvals, CI/CD configuration, integrations with third party tools like Jira and ServiceNow, and more.
Guard Rails for Security and Governance: While developer’s experience is important, we respect the need of compliance, governance and security. Harness IDP ensures that the necessary guardrails are in place with granular Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), Open Policy Agent (OPA), approvals and audit trails.
Intuitive Self-Service Flows: IDP enhances the user experience by providing developers with a collection of self-service flows. They can effortlessly discover what they can create, provision or systems they can get access to - dramatically reducing the time it takes to resolve their platform needs.
Getting Organized with Software Catalog
In today’s fast growing microservices–based world, a Software Catalog is foundational. Catalog is a core feature of Harness IDP. And that is why instead of reinventing the wheel and the standard, we adopted the most popular and highly scalable catalog out there. Our IDP is powered by the popular CNCF incubating project Backstage.io. The YAML specification for defining software components is extremely flexible and widely adopted in the industry. Catalog also brings the UI to create a single pane of glass for every software component. Here’s what our customers love about the software catalog -
Establish service ownership: Nothing is more frustrating than needing help with a service or API and not knowing who to go to. The catalog makes ownership clear, saving time and angst.
Single pane of glass: Catalog presents a single view for each software component with necessary information like builds, deployments, documentation, environments, dependencies, and more. This approach significantly reduces cognitive load, making it easier for developers to focus on what they do best.
Introducing Scorecards - Measure Service Maturity
Platform Engineers work very hard to establish best practices within their org, but lack tools of enforcement. They fail to measure if their internal services are keeping up with them. Whether these are DevOps standards or just development best practices, it’s important for developers to be aware of them and how to take actions. Here are couple of use-cases that Harness IDP Scorecards helps you solve -
Define and enforce standards - If you have got a static page called DevOps best practices, it’s time to convert them into dynamic checks and measure against your software components to get a score.
Drive migration and adoption - Want all services to upgrade to the LTS version of Java? Want to replace your testing toolkit with something else? Put it in a scorecard and track the progress across all your services.
Our journey so far
Throughout our journey from Beta to Public Preview, we have prioritized rapid customer feedback and implementation, addressing requests within days at times. We are committed to evolving our IDP with a rapid pace. Here are some of the features that we have added since Beta -
Introduced Scorecards, a solid use-case of Internal Developer Portals
Out of the box integration with our CI, CD and Feature Flags modules
Faster and assisted onboarding for existing Harness customers
Proxy support for secure connections to private infrastructure using delegates
Support for GitHub and Google OAuth based plugins
Improved self-service flows with user-aware input fields
Unified Search experience for developers by extending IDP search with Confluence
Harness API support to facilitate in-house automation using the catalog
This doesn’t include dozens of bug fixes and system improvements! All our technical documentation can be found on developer.harness.io including tutorials and release notes.
Our journey with IDP is far from over and we are innovating at a rapid scale. Here is a small list of what is coming next in Harness IDP -
Custom Plugins: You will be able to write your own custom plugins using the backstage.io plugin framework to make Developer Portal your own!
Auto-discovery of Services and Dependencies: Using Harness Network Maps, IDP will soon offer auto-discovery of software components and dependencies without having to manually define them in the YAML.
Improved self-service flows: We have heard a lot about how complex it can be to set up these flows. We will be taking this experience to the next level with out of the box steps, ease of setup and a much more interactive user interface for developers.
Adoption Insights and Dashboards: Integrating with Harness Custom Dashboards, Platform Engineers will be able to gain deeper insights about the adoption within their organization to measure success and value gained through Harness.
Custom data sources: It’s inevitable for platforms like IDP to be fully extensible. You will be able to bring your own data sources using APIs or files in your git repositories to create your own Scorecard checks based on them.
Deeper integration with Harness platform: Our enterprise customers love the features provided by our underlying platform. Whether it is the granular Role Based Access Control, Audit Trails or Open Policy Agent - we are integrating IDP to seamlessly work with our platform.
On-prem support: Harness IDP is SaaS as of now. But several of our customers like to manage Harness on their own premises. Harness IDP will be available to try on our self-managed platform.
Our roadmap is based on all the feedback we have received so far but is not set in stone. YOU can influence the roadmap today, by signing up to try Harness IDP.