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Discussion on: Are you using Docker for local development?

patryktech profile image

For web projects, I do, regardless how simple they are.

Pros I see:

  • Dev environment matches production environment closely (I run Linux on my machine, as well as on my servers, albeit Arch on the Desktop, Ubuntu Server in the cloud).
  • Keep every project isolated, and all dependencies outside my host (which could also be achieved to some extent with VirtualEnv, pipen, NVM, etc., of course).
  • Each DB service is also isolated. Using project environment variables means that I don't have to bother managing Postgres users and 10 different databases. Instead, I let docker spin up a postgres service for me, and it automagically configures itself.
  • I can start all the services I need at once, and only when I need them. No auto-starting postgres and wasting resources if I want to watch Netflix or play a game on my desktop. Sometimes I may have 4 projects running at once, sometimes one or none.
  • Tests aren't slow at all... I cd into my project directory, start tmux so I can split yakuake into 4-5 windows in the same tab (one for docker, one for front-end, one for back-end, one for git, usually), run docker-compose up, and use that for development. I (usually) have one django+rest-framework container, one postgres, one node for dev to work on front-end and serve it, and one nginx to route calls to /api/ to DRF and the rest to Vue. Start Django and Quasar (Vue framework) in dev mode, and they monitor changes and rebuild automatically. Then I open the whole project folder in VS Code.



  • Occasionally, I have to restart the containers (mostly due to some exception I introduced in Django, or when making changes outside what Quasar watches, e.g. ESLint), but that is such a rare occurrence that even if it takes a minute, it's not a serious issue.
  • It does break auto-reloading, but even if it takes one second to hit F5, and I need to do it 20 times a day, the benefits far outweigh the downsides.

If you want to look at one of my dev environments in practice, I have an OSS one here - although it is missing deployment instructions.

Edit: I have fixed the auto-reloading issue in most of my projects; you just have to tell node what address to use for auto-reloading, which in quasar you can do in quasar.conf.js with something like devServer: { public = "http://localhost:<host port number>, with the port you defined in docker-compose.yml.

mateusz__be profile image
Mateusz Bełczowski Author

Thanks for the detailed answer! I'm also a Python developer and use Pycharm as main IDE (Neovim when doing small edits).

Pycharm allows to easily select single test class or single test to run, but under the hood it just calls "docker-compose up python test".
Having to "docker-compose up" it, slows down the whole process by at least few seconds. It does not sound like a lot, but can be inconvenient.

As an alternative, I could what you suggest - have a project running with docker-compose up and just execute single test by calling "docker-compose exec python test".
It runs much faster, but has the downside that I have to manually type the test name (or path to it).

That's why I'm looking for something that could combine both solutions when working with Pycharm.

Do you find your workflow with tmux + VS Code convenient? Do you just switch tabs between them or keep them in separate monitors?

patryktech profile image

I only have one monitor, but I do a ton of work in the shell, so I use yakuake. I just press F12 on my keyboard, and the terminal slides down from the top of the screen, covering 90% (can easily change it). Run my commands (e.g. git commit -m && git push), press F12 again to hide it, and go back to my browser where I can monitor my Gitlab pipeline. (Or back to VS Code, or whatever I was doing).

I also use KDE plasma with virtual desktops, so I have VS Code on Desktop 2, Chrome on Desktop 1... <ctrl+alt+left> or <ctrl+alt+right> switches to the previous/next desktop, so jumping from VS Code to Chrome is also really fast...

Never tried PyCharm properly, but VS Code is really simple to configure, with a few extensions it works great (linting my Python and JS code).

I do run the test commands manually, but if they are complex enough, I can write an alias or bash script. I usually run Jest in watch mode anyway, so I run the command once when I start working, and often just let it run for days.

Pytest also has at least one watcher, but I haven't tried it. Since my terminal is practically always running, I type the command once, then my flow is:

  • Press F12 to bring up yakuake, press the up arrow to repeat the last command (or a couple of times to re-run an earlier one), and press enter. Press F12 again to hide the terminal. Sometimes I wait for the tests to finish ahead of time, sometimes I just go do my stuff and look at the results later.