Working with containers is a necessity today for developers. You will likely need to work with some kind of storage or interact with some external service, like Solr or Postgres.

You can install the required service on your local machine, which comes with the burden of choosing the correct installation, configuration, etc… Nothing too complicated but takes time.

Docker and Containers

In short, the container is an isolated process on the host machine. It runs in the isolated file system, a container image. Docker would be a platform, a set of tools, for building, running, sharing applications packed in the container image.

If I need to run some application like the a Postgres database I can:

  • download installation for target host(my local machine)
  • or run Postgres Docker image

The easiest solution these days would be searching docker image on dockerhub and running it locally. That way, I skip all configuration issues and go into the depths of Postregs, because I want quick results.

For example, if I want to run Postgres database I can do something like this:

docker run --name some-postgres -e POSTGRES_PASSWORD=mysecretpassword \
    -p 5432:5432 -d postgres

Above would spin Postgres database in a container using Docker on my machine. If I need some other service, I can search for its Docker image and run it similarly (first checking documentation for a particular service). Now you can access the local Postgres database with:

psql -h localhost -p 5432 -U postgres


Or just the compose is the tool for building, running, and managing multi-container Docker applications. The compose allows any developer to define application parameters when running it. Everything you need to describe or define a Docker application is stored in one YAML file like:

version: "3.9"

    container_name: echo
    build: .
      - "9999:9999"

    container_name: echo2
    build: .
      - "8888:8888"
    container_name: pg
    image: postgres:13.1
      test: [ "CMD", "pg_isready", "-q", "-d", "postgres", "-U", "root" ]
      timeout: 45s
      interval: 10s
      retries: 10
    restart: always
      - POSTGRES_USER=root
      - POSTGRES_PASSWORD=password
      - APP_DB_USER=docker
      - APP_DB_PASS=docker
      - APP_DB_NAME=docker
      - ./db:/docker-entrypoint-initdb.d/
      - 5432:5432

In the example above, there are three containers: app, next, and pg. The pg service uses Docker image postgres:13.1. The app and next context are built from Dockerfile stored in the same folder as this compose configuration file.

When starting this docker application, the compose checks if Docker images for app and next services exist. If any of them do not, the compose triggers Docker build process based on the available Dockerfile.

Start Docker application, and detach output:

docker-compose up -d

To stop all services at once:

docker-compose down

Some useful docker-compose commands

List running docker applications:

docker-compose ls

Checks service logs:

docker-compose logs pg -f