Source: “developers using an internal developer platform” on stockimg.ai
Music: Johnny Nash - I Can See Clearly Now (1972)
This week we take a look at the past, present, and future of the Internal Developer Platform (IDP).
The header image is from Stock Image AI asking for a photo realistic creation of “developers using an internal developer platform”. It’s something.
I think there are better ways to interpret what an Internal Developer Platform (IDP) looks like in practice. Perhaps I should have picked a different style option for the AI to render but, alas, I ran out of venture capital funded free credits.
First, it is important to understand that three letter acronyms invite namespace collisions. So, it is important to note that Identify Provider (IdP) is different from Internal Developer Platform (IDP) and it is useful to remember than an IDP likely relies upon an IdP to access the Internal Developer Portal [IDP]. Further, it might be part of a platform team member’s own Individual Development Plan (IDP) to become better acquainted with key Identify Provider (IdP) integrations Internal Developer Portal [IDP] within the Internal Developer Platform (IDP) maintained for the organization that ships a Intrusion Detection and Prevention (IDP) solution.
But, I digress — probably (IDP).
Next, definitions for Internal Developer Platform (IDP) vary. From my perspective, an IDP is simply the prevailing toolchain within an organization that develops software applications.
An IDP represents an opinionated stack at a point in time. Further, an IDP will be adopted and refashioned over time in the response to perceived needs.
What’s your definition of Internal Developer Platform (IDP)? Does it differ from mine?
Keep in mind, the Internal Developer Platform website came into existence in January 2021. In fact, if you have ideas for a better definition for IDP, you are only a pull request away from adding your thoughts to Internal Developer Platform.
Arguably, IDP has been around much longer. For example, backstage.io will turn 3 years old soon.
Previously, this newsletter has touched upon both Platform Engineering1 and the IDP. Next, let’s look at the present and future of the IDP.
The IDP market has seen the arrival of projects, consultancies, products, and IDP as a service companies. Just a sample of the names you might come across include (alphabetically sorted):
… and again, that’s just a sample as of January 2023.
Looking ahead, going by the AI interpretation of IDP above, we can expect developers to grow another left arm which you will use to carefully hold a nacho flavored french fry impaled by a ballpoint pen as you stare into a truncated iMac that has fused with a curved landscape monitor of nebulous OEM origin while flanked by phablets to your right whilst enjoying the company of an extreme pair programmer that is equally attuned to your love of blue framed glasses and just the right amount of product in your perfectly coifed beard. Setting the grossly brogrammer stereotype training corpus of this AI model aside, perhaps this AI interpolation approximation is unintentionally poetic in ways we’re just beginning to comprehend.
Let’s assume wholesale adoption of AI and ML from IDE to CI/CD pipeline to toolchain intermediaries meant for improving overall developer efficiencies. Now, consider what would be an extension or augmentation of developer capabilities that are analogous to the “third arm” of the AI image above.
So, what will be the next big thing, project, consultancy, product, or service in IDP?
Until then… Place your bets!
As a reminder, after a +25 year walkabout, I’m an IBMer (again). For 2023, in “Work Plug”, I’ll share a new link each week that is educational, accessible, and relevant to platform engineering from fellow IBMers2 in the wider IBM Community.
I am linking to my disclosure.
The clever folks behind platformengineering.org have opened up the deep web of their Slack as a searchable community via Linen ↩
Shout out to Jamil Spain ↩