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A personal cheat sheet for running local Node project in a Docker container
# See list of docker virtual machines on the local box
$ docker-machine ls
default * virtualbox Running tcp:// v1.9.1
# Note the host URL - it will be used later!
# Build an image from current folder under given image name
$ docker build -t gleb/demo-app .
# see list of build images
$ docker images
gleb/demo-app latest 506bf31537d4 17 minutes ago 904.5 MB
node 5.0 c4f955829812 10 weeks ago 642.2 MB
# Note both the original Node:5 and the built images are there
# Let us run the image under name 'demo'
$ docker run --name demo -p 5000:1337 -d gleb/demo-app
# A good security practice is to run the Docker image (if possible) in read-only mode
# by adding --read-only flag
# See "Docker security" talk at mark 22:00
# Run docker image with a folder from HOST machine mounted
$ docker run -v /usr/source:/destination --name demo -d gleb/demo-app
# inside the container /destination folder will be pointing at /usr/source from the HOST
# Note: you can pass environment variable values to the `docker run` command
# docker run -e USER=name
# or, if the USER is already an environment var
# docker run -e USER
# or put all env variables into a file and pass its name
# docker run --env-file=<filename>
# You can check all the options passed into the running container
# docker inspect demo
# It prints the long container ID, but we can use our name "demo"
# We also mapped outside port 5000 to container's exposed port 1337
# Let us see running containers
$ docker ps
9f9f3ae62038 gleb/demo-app "node server.js" About a minute ago Up About a minute>1337/tcp demo
# Let us make a dummy request to the app running inside the container
# We will use the virtual machine's IP and outside port 5000
$ curl
Not Found
# Let us see the app's console log to confirm that it has received our request
$ docker logs demo
listening on port 1337 { subdomainOffset: 2, proxy: false, env: 'development' }
started server
<-- GET /
--> GET / 404 6ms -
# you can follow the logs along using -f (--follow) option
# Jump into the running container to run any commands
# -i option means bind STDIO from the current shell
docker exec -it demo bash
root@9f9f3ae62038:/usr/src/demo-server# ls
... list of files
root@9f9f3ae62038:/usr/src/demo-server# exit
# If you want to quickly list files in the docker container (default folder)
# you can use `docker exec`
$ docker exec -t demo ls
# ... list of files in /usr/src folder
# We can even copy files from the container back into our system
docker cp demo:/usr/src/demo-server/file.txt file.txt
# look at file.txt locally
# Running Docker container in terminal
# If you want to see the output / enter commands *inside the container* right from the terminal
# just skip -d option (-d is for detached mode)
$ docker run --name demo -it gleb/demo-app
# if the container stops (like the command terminates due to error)
# a nice trick is to run the container with dummy infinite command
# then shell into the container and find the problem
$ docker run --name demo -d gleb/demo-app tail -f /dev/null
$ docker exec -it demo bash
# Nice!
# To stop the running container
$ docker stop demo
# simple docker file
# assumes located in the same folder as the application itself
# start with node 5 base image
FROM node:5.0
# run as non-root user inside the docker container
# see at 17:20 mark
RUN groupadd -r nodejs && useradd -m -r -g nodejs nodejs
# now run as new user nodejs from group nodejs
USER nodejs
# Create an app directory (in the Docker container)
RUN mkdir -p /usr/src/demo-server
WORKDIR /usr/src/demo-server
# Copy .npm settings and package.json into container
COPY package.json /usr/src/demo-server
COPY .npmrc /usr/src/demo-server
# and install dependencies
RUN npm install
# Copy our source into container
COPY src /usr/src/demo-server/src
COPY server.js /usr/src/demo-server
# If our server uses 1337 by default
# expose it from Docker container
# Finally start the container command
CMD ["node", "server.js"]

Tips & tricks

Setup an alias to start Node container and map the current folder for quick isolated Linux environment. Add to ~/.alias file

# Creates Node container with mapped current folder and runs Bash shell
alias node-box='docker run -v $PWD:/src -w /src -u node -it node /bin/bash'

Additional information


If you open a new terminal, you need the Docker environment variables again. You can set them up in the current shell by running (assuming the name default for the Docker machine)

eval "$(docker-machine env default)"

If the Docker machine becomes unresponsive with status UNKNOWN when running docker-machine ls try rebuilding it

$ docker-machine rm -y default && docker-machine create -d virtualbox default && eval $(docker-machine env)

To delete all running containers and images (use -f option to force)

# Delete all containers
docker rm $(docker ps -a -q)
# Delete all unused images
docker rmi $(docker images --filter dangling=true)
# Delete all images
docker rmi $(docker images -q)

To stop all running containers

IDS=$(docker ps -q)
docker stop $IDS
# or as a single command
docker stop $(docker ps -q)

If you have a container "demo" and would like to investigate it, start it in the interactive mode with a "bash" as entry

docker run -it --entrypoint bash demo
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This is just great.! thanks a lot!

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thanks man, really helpful 👍

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Is it possible to enter a docker container and interact with it through a command-line node application?

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