After reading the previous blog post in this series, "Containers, Kubernetes, microservices: Start here", you're now ready to build your first "Hello World" application and run it in a container. For this, we'll be using Node.js.
Buildah, Podman, or docker
Which method you use to build and run your container is based on your operating system and tool selection. Because it is safer (it does not require root access), I'm going to use Podman to build and run my container, knowing that the commands used are 100 percent compatible with the
docker command. In fact, you could run
alias docker=podman and you'd not know the difference. So, if you are not using podman, simply use the command
docker in place of every
podman in the following.
Parts For Building
You need the code you're going to run, a file to configure/manage the build process, and the tool (i.e. Podman).
We'll create a file called "Dockerfile" that contains the steps and information needed to build an image. The build process is done in layers, with the starting point typically being an operating system or, more likely, an OS and framework combination. For example, you need Node.js installed. So it's pretty common to start from that point. You can -- and there might be good reasons for this -- start with the operating system and then install the framework all inside your image as you build it. You can also do just that -- start with an OS and add a framework -- and save that image and use it as your base for other images. Yes, like any IT technology, you can make this as simple or as complicated as you like. We'll start with an OS+Framework combination to keep things simple. We'll then copy our code in the image, then run
npm install to make sure the dependencies are up-to-date. Finally, we'll give the image a command to be executed when someone runs the image in a container. The following file, "Dockerfile", does those things:
FROM node:8 WORKDIR /app COPY package*.json ./ RUN npm install COPY . . EXPOSE 3333 CMD ["node", "app.js"]
Let's Get Some Code
- Fork or clone the github repository at https://github.com/donschenck/path-to-kubernetes.
- Move into the directory src/nodejs/helloworld.
Let's Build And Run
podman build -t hello-world-nodejs .
podman run -p 3333:3333 hello-world-nodejs
- Create the source code
- Create a Dockerfile file
- Build the image
- Run the image in a container
About that Dockerfile
The file “Dockerfile” is used to guide the construction of your image. Here’s a short, step-by-step breakdown:
FROM node:8 This is your base image, the starting point. In this case, it’s the official image from the Node.js and has Node.js version 8.x installed. That means we don’t have to install any framework; it’s already included with this base image. In case you’re wondering, it’s 907MB on my Mac.
WORKDIR /app This simply establishes a working directory inside your image.
COPY package*.json ./ Copies the package*.json file into your image to support the next command.
RUN npm install Installs all of the required dependencies inside your image.
COPY . . Copy everything else needed into the image.
EXPOSE 3333 Exposes the application port, 3333, to the outside world.
CMD ["node", "app.js"] This is what runs when the image is started (i.e.
podman run or
Running In A Container
podman run -p 3333:3333 hello-world-nodejscommand starts the image in a container. It code uses port 3333, and it is mapped to the local port 3333. Feel free to experiment with this. It will be attached to your command line; that is, it ties up your terminal while it’s running. You can eliminate this by using the
--detach option in your command. In that case, the container runs in the background.
You can see the results of the code by running the
curl command or opening your browser to
Containerize All The Things
So you know have all the knowledge and tool necessary to run your Node.js code in a Linux container. Expanding this knowledge to include multiple instances of an application, and/or multiple applications in a cluster, is for the next blog post.Last updated: April 3, 2023