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Define how little bits work together


“Dockerizing” an application is the process of converting an application to run within a Docker container and creating the Dockerfile for it.

I keep examples of Dockerfiles at

This is a hands-on tutorial on how to create Dockerfile and docker-compose files that contain commands controlling how Docker instantiates containers across several operating systems.

A Docker image is a read-only template used to create and launch a Docker container.

Dockerize apps

Let’s begin with an example.

  1. Navigate to the folder containing a Dockerfile.

    NOTE: Creating the Dockerfile is called “dockerizing” a folder.

  2. View the Dockerfile:

    cat Dockerfile

    Alternately, you may prefer to open the file using a text editor or IDE.

    There are only a handful of instructions (verbs) in a Dockerfile.

    FROM node:0.10.44-slim
    ADD . /home/demo/box/
    RUN cd /home/demo/box && npm install
    ENTRYPOINT ["/home/demo/box/boot.sh"]

    Skip to see this built.

    Docker builder instructions

    # (“pound sign”) begins a comments line or a directive.

    • FROM must be the first line. It sets the image to an operating system image. For options, do a docker search.
    • MAINTAINER Wilson Mar <wilsonmar@gmail.com> # defines the file’s author
    • USER
    • ARG user1=someuser # referenced by –build-arg user=what_user in docker build
    • ENV CONT_IMG_VER ${CONT_IMG_VER:-v1.0.0}
    • ENV def=$abc
    • ENV foo /bar
    • WORKDIR ${foo} # sets working directory to /bar
    • VOLUME /tmp
    • ADD . $foo # add . /bar to file system
    • COPY $foo /quux

    • HEALTHCHECK–interval=5m –timeout=3s <br /> CMD curl -f http://localhost/ || exit 1
    • CMD [”–port 27017”] # provides defaults to executing container
    • CMD [“/usr/bin/wc”,”–help”] # executable and parameter
    • EXPOSE 27017 # sets the port to listen

    • RUN bash -c ‘touch /app.jar’ # updates the repository sources list, etc.
    • ENTRYPOINT [“top”, “-b”] # sets default container commands
    • ONBUILD RUN /usr/local/bin/python-build –dir /app/src
    • STOPSIGNAL SIGKILL # sets the system call signal that will be sent to the container to exit.

    See https://docs.docker.com/engine/reference/builder

    More examples at https://docs.docker.com/engine/examples

    This Dockerfile shows use of the ENTRYPOINT to run Apache in the foreground (i.e., as PID 1):

    FROM debian:stable
    RUN apt-get update && apt-get install -y --force-yes apache2
    EXPOSE 80 443
    VOLUME ["/var/www", "/var/log/apache2", "/etc/apache2"]
    ENTRYPOINT ["/usr/sbin/apache2ctl", "-D", "FOREGROUND"]

    An example for Java on WebLogic:

    FROM kmandel/java:8
    VOLUME /tmp
    #ADD ${project.build.final}.jar app.jar
    ADD my-api.jar app.jar
    RUN bash -c 'touch /app.jar'
    ENTRYPOINT ["java","-Djava.security.egd=file:/dev/./urandom","-jar","/app.jar"]

After a Dockerfile is prepared, execute from command prompt to create the corresponding image:

docker build . 

Run docker run image-name to create a container out of the image to execute it.

Dockerizing programming code

One of the advantages of using Docker is that an application can be deployed on several operating systems. But different operating systems have different ways of specifying file paths such as:


Such files would contain API keys and flags to vary app behavior without requiring a re-deploy.

PROTIP: Apps in Docker should be written in a way that references a file external to itself to obtain configuration data such as API keys.

Contents in configuration files can be varied at run-time by a script that mounts different volumes containing the config file or by using a sed command which find a unique pattern in the file, then modifies the data.

Common Logging

Also, rather than writing event information to a custom database, “cloud native” application programming code print to STDOUT/STDERR. This ensures application logs have a common format so that logs from other apps and monitoring utilities can all be co-mingled in a central logging system for historical analysis together by timeline.

Logs can be acessed directly with the docker logs command and by Docker API calls.

To simplify the dockerization process, some use the Dockerize utility Jason Wilder wrote in Golang and describes here. It works by wrapping calls to apps using the ENTRYPOINT or CMD directives.


The .dockerignore file is like a .gitignore file, but specifies items for Docker to ignore in the Dockerfile.

See https://docs.docker.com/engine/reference/builder/#/dockerignore-file


mount a local path and map it to a path within the container


Docker Compose

Docker compose creates multiple containers with a single operation.

See https://docs.docker.com/compose/

An example docker-compose-dev.yml file from here:

version: '2'
    image: node:6.1
      - ./:/usr/src/app
    working_dir: /usr/src/app
    command: sh -c 'npm install; npm install -g nodemon ; nodemon -e js,jade app.js'
      - "80:3000"
      - mongo
      - all
      MONGODB_URI: "mongodb://mongo:27017/hackathon"
    image: mongo:3
    command: mongod --smallfiles
      - all
  1. Define attributes of Docker host in environment variables:


See https://docs.docker.com/v1.11/compose/compose-file/

More resources

This tutorial is based on these and other resources:

  • https://docs.docker.com/engine/userguide/eng-image/dockerfile_best-practices/#user details ENTRYPOINT

  • http://thediscoblog.com/blog/2014/05/05/dockerfiles-in-a-jiffy/

  • https://github.com/prakhar1989/docker-curriculum by prakhar1989, who was propelled to #18 on GitHub due largely to this tutorial.

  • https://deis.com/blog/2015/dockerfile-instructions-syntax/

  • https://runnable.com/docker/java/dockerize-your-java-application

https://www.udemy.com/zero-to-docker/learn/v4/t/lecture/7270460?start=0 https://github.com/schoolofdevops/voting-app-worker https://schoolofdevops.com https://hub.docker.com/u/schoolofdevops/

More on DevOps

This is one of a series on DevOps:

  1. DevOps_2.0
  2. ci-cd (Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery)
  3. User Stories for DevOps

  4. Git and GitHub vs File Archival
  5. Git Commands and Statuses
  6. Git Commit, Tag, Push
  7. Git Utilities
  8. Data Security GitHub
  9. GitHub API
  10. TFS vs. GitHub

  11. Choices for DevOps Technologies
  12. Java DevOps Workflow
  13. AWS DevOps (CodeCommit, CodePipeline, CodeDeploy)
  14. AWS server deployment options

  15. Digital Ocean
  16. Cloud regions
  17. AWS Virtual Private Cloud
  18. Azure Cloud Onramp
  19. Azure Cloud
  20. Azure Cloud Powershell

  21. Packer automation to build Vagrant images
  22. Terraform multi-cloud provisioning automation

  23. Powershell Ecosystem
  24. Powershell on MacOS
  25. Powershell Desired System Configuration

  26. Jenkins Server Setup
  27. Jenkins Plug-ins
  28. Jenkins Freestyle jobs
  29. Jenkins2 Pipeline jobs using Groovy code in Jenkinsfile

  30. Dockerize apps
  31. Docker Setup
  32. Docker Build

  33. Maven on MacOSX

  34. Ansible

  35. MySQL Setup

  36. SonarQube static code scan

  37. API Management Microsoft
  38. API Management Amazon

  39. Scenarios for load