Images are one of the two core building blocks Docker is all about (the other one is “Containers”). Images are blueprints / templates for containers. They are read-only and contain the application as well as the necessary application environment (operating system, runtimes, tools…).
Images do not run themselves, instead, they can be executed as containers. Images are either pre-built (e.g., official Images you find on DockerHub) or you build your own. Images by defining a Dockerfile.
Dockerfiles contain instructions which are executed when an image is built (docker build.), every instruction then creates a layer in the image. Layers are used to efficiently rebuild and share images.
Containers are the other key building block Docker is all about. Containers are running instances of Images. When you create a container (via docker run), a thin read-write layer is added on top of the Image.
Multiple Containers can therefore be started based on one and the same Image. All Containers run in isolation, i.e., they don’t share any application state or written data. You need to create and start a Container to start the application which is inside of a Container. So, it’s Containers which are in the end executed – both in development and production.
Key Docker Commands
For a full list of all commands, add
--help after a command – e.g.,
docker run --help etc. Also view the official docs for a full, detailed documentation of ALL commands and features: https://docs.docker.com/engine/reference/run/
Important: This can be overwhelming! You’ll only need a fraction of those features and commands in reality!
d: Build a Dockerfile and create your own Image based on the file
- -t NAME:TAG: Assign a NAME and a TAG to an image
docker run IMAGE_NAME: Create and start a new container based on image IMAGENAME (or use the image id)
- –name NAME : Assign a NAME to the container. The name can be used for stopping and removing etc.
- -d : Run the container in detached mode – i.e. output printed by the container is not visible, the command prompt / terminal does NOT wait for the container to stop
- -it : Run the container in “interactive” mode – the container / application is then prepared to receive input via the command prompt / terminal. You can stop the container with CTRL + C when using the -it flag
- –rm : Automatically remove the container when it’s stopped
docker ps : List all running containers
- -a : List all containers – including stopped ones
docker images: List all locally stored images
docker rm CONTAINER: Remove a container with name CONTAINER (you can also use the container id)
docker rmi IMAGE : Remove an image by name / id
docker container prune : Remove all stopped containers
docker image prune : Remove all dangling images (untagged images)
- -a : Remove all locally stored images
docker push IMAGE : Push an image to DockerHub (or another registry) – the image name/tag must include the repository name/ url
docker pull IMAGE : Pull (download) an image from DockerHub (or another registry) – this is done automatically if you just docker run IMAGE and the image wasn’t pulled before.
1. Images are one of the two core building blocks Docker
2. Images are blueprints / templates for containers.
3. They are read-only and contain the application as well as the necessary application environment.
4. Images do not run themselves, instead, they can be executed as containers.
1. Containers are running instances of Images.
2. All Containers run in isolation
3. When you create a container (via docker run), a thin read-write layer is added on top of the Image.
4. Multiple Containers can therefore be started based on one and the same Image