Overview of Dev Environments

Dev Environments is changing

We’re working hard to make Dev Environments work even better for you and your teams. In the coming months, we’ll be introducing a new vision for Dev Environments.

In the mean time, it may take us longer to respond to requests for support.


The Dev Environments feature is currently in Beta. We recommend that you do not use this in production environments.

Dev Environments let you create a configurable developer environment with all the code and tools you need to quickly get up and running.

It uses tools built into code editors that allows Docker to access code mounted into a container rather than on your local host. This isolates the tools, files and running services on your machine allowing multiple versions of them to exist side by side.

You can use Dev Environments through the intuitive GUI in Docker Dashboard or straight from you terminal with the new docker dev CLI plugin.

Dev environments tab in Docker Desktop

How does it work?

Changes to Dev Environments with Docker Desktop 4.13

Docker has simplified how you configure your dev environment project. All you need to get started is a compose-dev.yaml file. If you have an existing project with a .docker/ folder this is automatically migrated the next time you launch.

Dev Environments is powered by Docker Compose. This allows Dev Environments to take advantage of all the benefits and features of Compose whilst adding an intuitive GUI where you can launch environments with the click of a button.

Every dev environment you want to run needs a compose-dev.yaml file which configures your application's services and lives in your project directory. You don't need to be an expert in Docker Compose or write a compose-dev.yaml file from scratch as Dev Environments creates a starter compose-dev.yaml files based on the main language in your project.

You can also use the many sample dev environmentsopen_in_new as a starting point for how to integrate different services. Alternatively, see Set up a dev environment for more information.

What's next?

Learn how to: