Building your first Docker image
Docker images are the basic way of sharing software in bioboxes. This guide describes creating a Docker image. This includes using Dockerfiles and the commands used to create and name the images made from Dockerfiles.
The first step to creating an image of your tool is to write a file called
Dockerfile. Each line in a Dockerfile is a set of instructions that are to
build an image. Here's the most simple
Dockerfile you can have. Begin by
creating your own
Dockerfile with these contents.
FROM busybox MAINTAINER Jane Smith, email@example.com
Each line in the file must begin with a recognised
Dockerfile command. In
this case the commands are
MAINTAINER. The first described a base
Docker image that we'll build our own on top of. Here we use the 'busybox'
image. This is the same image we experimented with in the user guide.
On the second line we specify the name and email address person who is
responsible for this image. Once you've created this image you can build it
with the command:
You can test this example Dockerfile by building it into an image using
--tag specifies what the image should be called. In this case
we'll call the image "my_image". Run the following command in the same
directory you have placed your Dockerfile.
docker build --tag my_image .
If this builds successfully you should have a Docker image called 'my_image' Docker image available on your system. You list all your images with the command.
Running a container
When you're building a container it's useful to be able to log into it so you
can experiment. You can create a container from this image and log in using the
--tty flags. You should specify a shell command to run
also, in this case we use
/bin/bash which is the command to start the bash
shell. If you're not too familiar with what bash is, it's fine to use this
command, without understanding the details, whenever you want to log into a
docker run --interactive --tty my_image /bin/bash
Once you've logged into a container you can experiment with listing the internal file system or the current version of Linux.
The output of both these commands comes from the operating system inside the
container, not your host computer. If this is not clear, there is a guide we
explaining the difference between containers and images. You can exit
this container with
An image to do something
You will want to create an image to do something useful that you can share with others. We'll create an example Docker that returns the current time when run.
FROM busybox MAINTAINER Jane Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org ENTRYPOINT ["date"]
This uses the
ENTRYPOINT directive to specify this command gets run when the
container gets run. In this case we specify the
date should be run. Build and
run this container, and you should see your image tells you the current date
docker build --tag timepiece . docker run timepiece
You can specify different date output formats by passing these as an argument
docker run command. For example you can pass a format string and the
date will be returned in this format.
docker run timepiece +"%Y-%m-%d"