As organisations adopt an agile approach to development, embracing DevOps and new frameworks to accelerate and improve the software they create, they've had to adopt new tools to support these practices.
Typically, it's developers who are best placed to know which technologies make their lives easier and, as a result, will help meet business goals. But as the number of tools employed across the organisation increases, how do you keep on top of what everyone is using? Without effective documentation, there's a good chance developers will waste time searching for the right resource or build something from scratch that already exists within the business.
In this blog, we delve into the world of internal developer portals (IDPs) to learn more about how they enhance productivity and drive success. We'll explore what they are, the advantages they bring to organisations, and how they help developers in their day-to-day work.
What is an internal developer portal?
An IDP is a web-based platform that provides developers with easy access to a wide array of resources, tools, and documentation. Think of it as a centralised hub that brings together all the tools available within the company—a place where developers can collaborate, share knowledge, and find the information they need to develop software more efficiently.
In years gone by, developers would have used wikis or a CMS to keep track of documentation for the various apps and services they work on. An IDP is a more accessible, flexible, and interactive version of that.
What should an internal developer portal include?
These portals typically include the following features:
- Code repositories
- Infrastructure documentation libraries
- A well-documented API catalogue
- A catalogue of common services that can be reused
- Software development kits
- Guidelines and best practices for developing new components
- Monitoring tools
- Forums for discussion and problem-solving
With all these elements in one place, it eliminates the need for your developers to search for scattered resources. Instead, they can self-source tried and tested technology in an instant—and then get on with higher-value tasks.
How does an internal developer portal help developers?
Improving your organisation's developer experience not only increases productivity but also has a positive impact on job satisfaction and overall happiness. Here are a few of the big ways IDPs can bring a smile to your development teams' faces.
Everything all in one place
With all documentation in one place, developers have greater visibility and API references, coding guidelines, and architectural overviews at their fingertips. It's quick and simple to identify what's out there across the organisation, including all the libraries and templates they need to succeed and any dependencies that could impact their project.
As you scale, you’re going to be bringing new devs on board fairly regularly. An IDP lets them quickly familiarise themselves with your company's development practices, coding standards, and any other guidelines. This makes getting up to speed easier for them and means the business can start generating value from new recruits much more quickly.
Simple to get started
Developers don't want to waste time in meetings. With an IDP, they can easily browse your tooling and service catalogue, then spin up a website, API, ERP integration, or any existing templates to get started on the real work straight away. Their project will have your tried and tested dependencies, shared code, and metadata built in from the get-go.
Opportunity to learn
With discussion forums and chat built into your IDP, it’s much easier for your devs to reach out, ask for help, and advise others. This creates a wider culture of knowledge sharing and continuous learning, encouraging everyone to up their game and learn from others to create the best work.
Easy, effortless collaboration
Rather than working in silos, your developers are encouraged to share their code with teammates and the wider business, as well as contribute their knowledge to shared projects. It's much easier for everyone to get involved, review code, integrate changes, and take a collaborative approach.
Make the most of automation
If your IDP offers access to automated build systems, DevSecOps governance, and CI/CD pipelines, it's possible your devs can deploy to various environments themselves without relying heavily on ops and security teams. Your portal can offer a single view to streamline workflows, automate repetitive tasks, and ensure apps are stable and reliable.
What are the wider organisational benefits?
Having happy developers is great, but there are bigger organisational benefits to implementing an IDP.
Secure the top talent
A fantastic developer experience is something to shout about and something the best developers will look for when job-hunting. Investing in your IDP will help you attract and hold on to the best people in a highly competitive marketplace.
Better for your other teams too
Without an IDP, your architecture, operations, and security teams end up as the bottleneck, holding up everyone and preventing code from getting out to your customers. Your IDP creates a best-practice environment—where essential controls for governance, security, and infrastructure automation are in place from the start—giving your security and architecture teams peace of mind.
Speed up response times
No app is perfect, but it's how you respond to poor performance that makes a difference to your customers. With a single place for everyone to access all the information, time isn't wasted locating logs or identifying the right cluster. Instead, your teams can take a few simple steps to find the problem, fix it, and get things back on track.
A consistent, cost-effective approach
Consistency is key to quality software. With best practices built into your developer experience, you can rest easy knowing coding styles and standards are being adhered to. This maintains code integrity and reliability, reduces costly rework, and makes it easy to integrate that code across multiple projects, increasing its overall value.
Thanks to the reuse of code, components, and access to libraries, your software development life cycle should speed up. Not only does this mean you can deliver features to customers and get their feedback more quickly, increasing agility in the process, you'll also be able to spend more time innovating, keeping you one step ahead of the competition.
Discover the power of the portal
Don't fall behind with your DevOps efforts—implement an internal developer portal, and start reaping the benefits of more streamlined software development processes.
From improved collaboration and knowledge-sharing to easy access to documentation to get started in an instant, an IDP can unlock your teams' full potential and help propel your DevOps processes to the next level.