An Enthusiastic Programmer

Build and run your image



Docker is a container technique. You can run Iof, IOS, Android, and OS, etc. In this episode, I am going to dive into containerizing a web application. You can clone this project’s source code on Github. This source code is simple, only contains a few HTML static files and a Dockerfile.

The most basic way to containerizing an App is the following steps:

  1. Build your image with a docker file
  2. Run your image as a container
  3. Share your image

This article will explain to you almost everything you need to know while building your images.

You can clone this project’s source code down with git command.


In most of the cases, different containers(windows, Linux) need to match different Dockerfiles. So if you have an app that needs to deploy on both Windows container and Linux container, then you may need to write different Dockerfiles for Windows and Linux.

As the project’s Dockerfile is for Linux Container, so let’s analyze the file first.


The Dockerfile in the Linux_tweet_app looks like this:

From the pre-exising nginx:latest image. This is an official image, for more information check Docker Hub Nginx.

This COPY command is to copy from the host file to the docker container. The command pattern is host_file container_file. The above command copied the index.html file and the linux.png file into a docker container and put them under the /usr/share/nginx/ folder.

The EXPOSE command instructs the docker to listen on specific ports. EXPOSE 80 443 makes Docker container listen on 80, 443 port.

The last CMD command specifies the run command within the container.


Linux and Windows are two completely different operating systems, and hence you can’t use the above Dockerfile.

By the way, nginx also doesn’t have an image for windows in Docker Hub now, and thus it will be a little complicated of working nginx in Windows container.

Replace the above Dockerfile with the following contents:

The above Dockerfile did 4 steps as bellow.

  1. Use Windows image to build a Windows instance.
  2. Set up an Nginx server inside Windows container.
  3. Copy everything you need to the Windows container, and put them under the Nginx.
  4. Specify the running command.

The semantic is almost the same as the Linux’s, except that Nginx doesn’t have a Windows image now. The syntax is different, you need to note the file path, and using PowerShell in windows container. For more information about PowerShell command, see PowerShell.

Build your Image

You can get an image from either building a Dockerfile, or pulling from a registry. A Dockerfile produces an image, which consists of a set of layers.

The following quote explains the mechanism and advantages of the Union File System.

Each image consists of a series of layers. Docker makes use of union file systems to combine these layers into a single image. Union file systems allow files and directories of separate file systems, known as branches, to be transparently overlaid, forming a single coherent file system.

Each instruction in a Dockerfile creates a layer in the image. When you change the Dockerfile and rebuild the image, only those layers which have changed are rebuilt. This is part of what makes images so lightweight, small, and fast, when compared to other virtualization technologies.

Make sure you are in the folder that contains the Dockerfile, Use the following command to build your image:

--tag or -t specifies that a name and optionally a tag in the name:tag format. dot ‘.’ specifies the path is the current directory.

As the above mentioned that building an image depends on a Dockerfile, So what is the path rule of Dockerfile. You can specify the Dockerfile path explicitly or use the default path. Use the -f or --file to specify the name of the Dockerfile, the default is PATH/Dockerfile.

Run your Image as a Container

You can run your image as a container. Use the following command to start a container.

The above code will start a container with the image tweet_app:2.0.

  • --publish/-p: Publish a container’s port(s) to the host. The --publish 8080:80 asks Docker to forward traffic incoming on the host’s port 8080 to the container’s port 80. If you don’t forward the traffic explicitly, then the firewall will prevent all network traffic from reaching your container.
  • --detach/-d: Run container in background and print container ID
  • --name: Assign a name to the container

Visit your application on a browser at localhost:8080. You will see your container is running well. If you want to delete your container, you can use the following command.

Or use the -f/--force to force the removal of a running container, without stopping the container first.


You’ve studied how to build and run your image, take a review look:

  • When you write your Dockerfile, always start with the FROM command, follow it with the steps to build up your private filesystem, and conclude with any metadata specifications. You can learn more directives on the Dockerfile reference.

  • Each Instructions in the Dockerfile will create a layer in the image. If you changed Dockerfile, and rebuild the image. Docker only rebuilds those layers that changed.

  • The --public command will forward traffic incoming from the host’s port to the container’s port.