Containerize a Python application

Prerequisites

  • You have installed the latest version of Docker Desktop.
  • You have a git client. The examples in this section use a command-line based git client, but you can use any client.

Overview

This section walks you through containerizing and running a Python application.

Get the sample application

The sample application uses the popular Flask framework.

Clone the sample application to use with this guide. Open a terminal, change directory to a directory that you want to work in, and run the following command to clone the repository:

$ git clone https://github.com/docker/python-docker

Initialize Docker assets

Now that you have an application, you can create the necessary Docker assets to containerize your application. You can use Docker Desktop's built-in Docker Init feature to help streamline the process, or you can manually create the assets.


Inside the python-docker directory, run the docker init command. docker init provides some default configuration, but you'll need to answer a few questions about your application. For example, this application uses Flask to run. Refer to the following example to answer the prompts from docker init and use the same answers for your prompts.

$ docker init
Welcome to the Docker Init CLI!

This utility will walk you through creating the following files with sensible defaults for your project:
  - .dockerignore
  - Dockerfile
  - compose.yaml
  - README.Docker.md

Let's get started!

? What application platform does your project use? Python
? What version of Python do you want to use? 3.11.4
? What port do you want your app to listen on? 8000
? What is the command to run your app? python3 -m flask run --host=0.0.0.0 --port=8000

If you don't have Docker Desktop installed or prefer creating the assets manually, you can create the following files in your project directory.

Create a file named Dockerfile with the following contents.

Dockerfile
# syntax=docker/dockerfile:1

# Comments are provided throughout this file to help you get started.
# If you need more help, visit the Dockerfile reference guide at
# https://docs.docker.com/go/dockerfile-reference/

# Want to help us make this template better? Share your feedback here: https://forms.gle/ybq9Krt8jtBL3iCk7

ARG PYTHON_VERSION=3.11.4
FROM python:${PYTHON_VERSION}-slim as base

# Prevents Python from writing pyc files.
ENV PYTHONDONTWRITEBYTECODE=1

# Keeps Python from buffering stdout and stderr to avoid situations where
# the application crashes without emitting any logs due to buffering.
ENV PYTHONUNBUFFERED=1

WORKDIR /app

# Create a non-privileged user that the app will run under.
# See https://docs.docker.com/go/dockerfile-user-best-practices/
ARG UID=10001
RUN adduser \
    --disabled-password \
    --gecos "" \
    --home "/nonexistent" \
    --shell "/sbin/nologin" \
    --no-create-home \
    --uid "${UID}" \
    appuser

# Download dependencies as a separate step to take advantage of Docker's caching.
# Leverage a cache mount to /root/.cache/pip to speed up subsequent builds.
# Leverage a bind mount to requirements.txt to avoid having to copy them into
# into this layer.
RUN --mount=type=cache,target=/root/.cache/pip \
    --mount=type=bind,source=requirements.txt,target=requirements.txt \
    python -m pip install -r requirements.txt

# Switch to the non-privileged user to run the application.
USER appuser

# Copy the source code into the container.
COPY . .

# Expose the port that the application listens on.
EXPOSE 8000

# Run the application.
CMD python3 -m flask run --host=0.0.0.0 --port=8000

Create a file named compose.yaml with the following contents.

compose.yaml
# Comments are provided throughout this file to help you get started.
# If you need more help, visit the Docker Compose reference guide at
# https://docs.docker.com/go/compose-spec-reference/

# Here the instructions define your application as a service called "server".
# This service is built from the Dockerfile in the current directory.
# You can add other services your application may depend on here, such as a
# database or a cache. For examples, see the Awesome Compose repository:
# https://github.com/docker/awesome-compose
services:
  server:
    build:
      context: .
    ports:
      - 8000:8000

# The commented out section below is an example of how to define a PostgreSQL
# database that your application can use. `depends_on` tells Docker Compose to
# start the database before your application. The `db-data` volume persists the
# database data between container restarts. The `db-password` secret is used
# to set the database password. You must create `db/password.txt` and add
# a password of your choosing to it before running `docker compose up`.
#     depends_on:
#       db:
#         condition: service_healthy
#   db:
#     image: postgres
#     restart: always
#     user: postgres
#     secrets:
#       - db-password
#     volumes:
#       - db-data:/var/lib/postgresql/data
#     environment:
#       - POSTGRES_DB=example
#       - POSTGRES_PASSWORD_FILE=/run/secrets/db-password
#     expose:
#       - 5432
#     healthcheck:
#       test: [ "CMD", "pg_isready" ]
#       interval: 10s
#       timeout: 5s
#       retries: 5
# volumes:
#   db-data:
# secrets:
#   db-password:
#     file: db/password.txt

Create a file named .dockerignore with the following contents.

.dockerignore
# Include any files or directories that you don't want to be copied to your
# container here (e.g., local build artifacts, temporary files, etc.).
#
# For more help, visit the .dockerignore file reference guide at
# https://docs.docker.com/go/build-context-dockerignore/

**/.DS_Store
**/__pycache__
**/.venv
**/.classpath
**/.dockerignore
**/.env
**/.git
**/.gitignore
**/.project
**/.settings
**/.toolstarget
**/.vs
**/.vscode
**/*.*proj.user
**/*.dbmdl
**/*.jfm
**/bin
**/charts
**/docker-compose*
**/compose.y*ml
**/Dockerfile*
**/node_modules
**/npm-debug.log
**/obj
**/secrets.dev.yaml
**/values.dev.yaml
LICENSE
README.md

You should now have the following contents in your python-docker directory.

├── python-docker/
│ ├── app.py
│ ├── requirements.txt
│ ├── .dockerignore
│ ├── compose.yaml
│ ├── Dockerfile
│ └── README.md

To learn more about the files, see the following:

Run the application

Inside the python-docker directory, run the following command in a terminal.

$ docker compose up --build

Open a browser and view the application at http://localhost:8000. You should see a simple Flask application.

In the terminal, press ctrl+c to stop the application.

Run the application in the background

You can run the application detached from the terminal by adding the -d option. Inside the python-docker directory, run the following command in a terminal.

$ docker compose up --build -d

Open a browser and view the application at http://localhost:8000.

You should see a simple Flask application.

In the terminal, run the following command to stop the application.

$ docker compose down

For more information about Compose commands, see the Compose CLI reference.

Summary

In this section, you learned how you can containerize and run your Python application using Docker.

Related information:

Next steps

In the next section, you'll learn how you can develop your application using containers.