Containerize your application

When working with containers, you typically need to create a Dockerfile to define your image and a compose.yaml file to define how to run it.

To help you create these files, Docker Desktop has the docker init command. Run this command in a terminal within your project folder. docker init creates all the required files to containerize your application. This walkthrough shows you how this works.

Before you start, get Docker Desktop.

Step 1: Run the command to create Docker assets

Choose one of your own applications that you would like to containerize, and in a terminal, run the following commands. Replace /path/to/your/project/ with the directory containing your project.


To run Docker commands, you must use a terminal. Based on your operating system, you can open a terminal by doing the following:

For Windows, select the Start Menu, specify cmd, and then select Command Prompt.

For Mac, select the Launchpad icon in the Dock, specify Terminal in the search field, then select Terminal.

$ cd /path/to/your/project/
$ docker init

Step 2: Follow the on-screen prompts

docker init walks you through a few questions to configure your project with sensible defaults. Specify your answers and press Enter.

Step 3: Try to run your application

Once you have answered all the questions, run the following commands in a terminal to run your project. Replace /path/to/your/project/ with the directory containing your project.

$ cd /path/to/your/project/
$ docker compose up

Step 4: Update the Docker assets

The docker init command tries its best to do the heavy lifting for you, but sometimes there's some assembly required. In this case, you can refer to the Dockerfile reference⁠ and Compose file reference⁠ to learn how to update the files created by docker init.


In this walkthrough, you learned how to containerize your own application.

Related information:

Next steps

Continue to the next walkthrough to learn how to publish an application as an image on Docker Hub.