A

API

In Backstage, an API describes an interface that can be exposed by a component. The API can be defined in different formats, like OpenAPI, AsyncAPI, GraphQL, gRPC, or other formats. An API is provided or consumed by other software components and is a separate entity. At times, an API may be consumed from an outside organization and is only accounted for via its documentation. Frequently, the Relationship in Backstage looks like this:

  • Component A provides API A which is consumed by Component B.

In the Console Catalog, an API refers to a functional portion of vets-api. For example, VA Notify API or Appeals API. Can also include external APIs, such as EVSS.

B

Backstage

Backstage.io is an open platform created by Spotify for building developer portals. The Console is built using the Backstage platform and infrastructure.

C

Catalog

The Console Catalog is similar to a library catalog, in that it provides a list of people, teams, apps, services, APIs, forms, and infrastructure resources. Through the Catalog, users can conceptualize and navigate the VA.gov ecosystem. The Catalog can connect to GitHub (and other code hosts) to display a page for every user, team, system, API, microservice, web app, form, or infrastructure resource.

CLI-tool

A component type in the Console Catalog. Refers to programs that are run via the command line (like vtk or the console-ui-onboarding tool).

Component

In the Console Catalog, a component is an entity that describes a software component. It is typically intimately linked to the source code that constitutes the component. A component should be what a developer may regard as a "unit of software", usually with a distinct deployable or linkable artifacts.

Not to be confused with Design System components.

D

Domain

Backstage defines domain groups as a collection of systems that share terminology, domain models, business purpose, or documentation, i.e. form a bounded context.

In the Console Catalog, a domain refers to a collection of systems with a common purpose or context. For example, Platform entities are housed under a Platform domain.

E

Entity

The Platform Console’s Catalog is similar to a library catalog, in that it provides a list of people, teams, apps, services, APIs, forms, and infrastructure resources. These resources are known as “entities” in Backstage (the platform the Console is built on).

For further reading, see Backstage’s description of entities.

F

Feature Flags

Features that can be enabled or disabled by users to change their Console experience. Found in User Settings.

G

Group

A GitHub team made up of GitHub users.

H

I

J

K

L

Library

A component type in the Console Catalog. Refers to collections of code that facilitate actions in the Console, like parsing files by type, interacting with an API, or building user-interfaces.

M

N

O

P

Plugin

An application through which features and functionality are exposed on the Console. For example, the Tech Docs plugin allows users to read documentation on the Console.

Q

R

Resource

In the Console Catalog, a resource refers to the infrastructure a system needs to operate, like BigTable databases, Pub/Sub topics, S3 buckets or CDS. Modeling them together with components and systems allows a user to visualize resource footprint and create tooling around them.

S

Service

A component type in the Console Catalog. Refers to a software functionality or set of functionalities (such as the retrieval of specified information or the execution of a set of operations) that users can reuse for different purposes.

Scorecards

A tab in a Catalog entry that shows how complete the Catalog entry is. It checks to see if the entity’s page has a title, an owner, a link to technical documentation, and a GitHub annotation. Additional checks can include: checking if a repository is publicly visible, and scoring an entity on its compliance to VA best practices.

System

In the Console Catalog, refers to a collection of components or APIs with common purpose or context.

Software Template

In the Console Catalog, refers to a Catalog entry for a software template that is housed in the Console. Software templates are a tool in Backstage that allows for app scaffolding, file/component creation, and other automated actions to be taken by users directly from the Console.

T

Template

In the Console Catalog, template is a type of entity that can be used with the “Software Template” system. Backstage describes a template as defining both (1) the parameters that are rendered in the front end part of the scaffolding wizard and (2) the steps that are executed when scaffolding a component.

Tech Docs

The documentation viewer for technical documentation. Can be found on an entity page in the Console Catalog or via the Documentation tab in the left navigation.

U

User

In the Console Catalog, refers to a user authenticated for Console usage via Login.gov.

V

W

Website

A component type in the Console Catalog. Refers to a software project that can be experienced by going to a website URL.

X

Y

Z