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The same five Docker commands I have to look up every dang time (and one I always try to use that never works)

Rachael Tatman
Developer Advocate Avocado @Rasa_HQ. Making NLP boring. Linguistics PhD. Data science, NLP, Stats, ML, R, Python. she/her
・1 min read

I really don't know what it is about Docker (maybe that I need to mess with containers fairly infrequently, maybe that it's just different enough from git that I get confused between the two, absolutely that I don't remember which commands are for images and which are for containers) but for some reason I find myself looking up the same five commands every dang time.

This post is primarily for me, so that I can stop digging through the Docker docs, but I figured some other folks might have the same problem as well.

Looking at stuff

  • docker ps - lists running containers
  • docker image ls - lists images (not containers) in the local directory
  • docker logs [container_name] - the container name will be at the end of the line of output of docker ps (images don't have logs; they're like classes)

Creating & uploading a new image

  • docker build . -t username/image:tag - create a new image from a Dockerfile (in current directory) and context
  • docker commit - this commits a container, not an image, stop using it to try and commit images to Dockerhub Rachael it 100% does not work
  • docker push username/image:tag - pushes a built image to Dockerhub (you do not need to commit images, stop trying to commit images)

Bonus: Docker compose

  • docker-compose down - use this instead of docker-compose kill or when you restart the container it will still use the old image
  • docker-compose up -d - use this to get new containers set up (restart will just wake up your containers w. the same images), the detached flag keeps you from getting log spam

Discussion (2)

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Alastair Measures

Thanks, I resonate with this; which is why I use docker-compose and portainer as far as possible. The need to focus on whatever I am developing (on top of docker) rather than docker itself, is my justification.

We have a 1968 Morris Minor (classic car) and whilst is great to have a tool kit in the boot/ trunk ... I do not want to be using it the whole darn time.

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Amit Goldstein

Compose is now part of docker, so you can simply do - docker compose down docker compose up etc