Developing inside Vagrant with Docker-Compose post

I’ve been following the Docker movement for quite some time now, and have seen examples of Docker-Compose passing along, so I thought, why not try and setup a nice development environment where I would develop an application that uses Docker-Compose.

For all you tl;dr’s, perform:

git clone --recursive 
cd blog-docker-compose-infrastructure
vagrant up

DISCLAIMER: This example is just to setup a docker-compose setup for development, and is currently using Symfony’s build-in webserver, which isn’t recommended for production! This is also just a try-out.

For this example, I am creating a simple Symfony application, which needs Redis instance.

First, we need a vagrant plugin to be able to use docker-compose as a provisioner

# vagrant plugin install vagrant-docker-compose

Next, we need to set up a Vagrantfile inside our infrastructure repository, and configure it using the docker provisioner. The provisioner itself will install Docker inside the vagrantbox and build the base image, on which we ‘base’ our own Dockerfile

# Vagrantfile
config.vm.provision :docker do |d|
    d.build_image "/vagrant/docker/base", args: "-t link0/base"

Now, we want to create an docker-compose.yml file to provide the structure and requirements of our application. This setup explains docker-compose to build the ‘frontend’ image, start it with port 80 exposed, and the current directory linked as /srv

# docker-compose.yml
  build: link0/example-frontend
    - "80:8000"
    - .:/srv
    - redis
  image: redis

Now that we have the docker-compose.yml, we can instruct Vagrant to use that structure upon provisioning.

config.vm.provision :docker_compose, yml: "/vagrant/docker-compose.yml", run: "always"

But before we can run `vagrant up`, we need to add our frontend application into the infrastructure project. I like to use git submodules for this.

git submodule add frontend

Now we can try it out, see if it works :)

vagrant up

It still breaks with the following error message

Building frontend...
Cannot locate specified Dockerfile: Dockerfile

This is because our frontend application has no Dockerfile to describe how it should be running. Let’s add one.

# blog-docker-compose-frontend/Dockerfile
FROM link0/base:latest
MAINTAINER Dennis de Greef <>


CMD [ "/" ]
#!/usr/bin/env bash
# blog-docker-compose-frontend/
cd /srv/frontend;
/srv/frontend/composer.phar install && \
/srv/frontend/app/console server:run

And when you now run

vagrant up

And point your browser to You should be able to see ‘Hello Docker-Compose’.

You can check (tail) the logs using the following command

vagrant ssh -c 'docker logs -f vagrant_frontend_1'

If some things are unclear, please let me know in the comments.

Categories: PHP, Sysadmin

Tags: docker