5 nifty new tools for Docker

From using Docker to power development environments to UIs for Docker tools, here are five recent additions to the Dockerverse

5 nifty new tools for Docker
Credit: flickr/Vasile Cotovanu

Blink and you might miss some of the most interesting developments around Docker these days. Aside from progress on Docker itself, other projects are being built on top of it or empowered by it -- as well as the emergence of workflow techniques and deployment strategies Docker makes possible.

Here are five recent creations that are either powered by Docker at their cores or make Docker easier to work with.

Dusty

A Docker-powered, MIT-licensed development environment, Dusty is an alternative to Docker Compose that makes up for Compose's rickety OS X support and handling of container specifications. It's also intended to substitute for the VM-provisioning system Vagrant; Dusty claims it can handle version-based isolation of app dependencies and easier updating of services that Vagrant can't.

Dusty's biggest possible downside is its external dependencies. Aside from using Virtualbox, it also relies on the minimal Boot2docker distribution, so it likely won't appeal to those who looking for a truly minimal -- perhaps we should say "Dockeresque"? -- solution.

Gockerize

Gockerize is for the fans of the Go language. It's a BSD-licensed tool for building static Go binaries and packaging them into minimal Go containers. Created by the folks behind AeroFS, it includes features like "the ability to automatically apply a set of patches to the Golang standard library; something which, while very rarely needed, can be a life-saver," according to the blog post introducing the project.

Gockerize also doesn't rely on much externally -- only Go itself, Docker 1.5 or higher, and the bash shell, all of which you'd already likely be using if you wanted to try out Gockerize.

Hyper

Introduced earlier this year and billed as a "hypervisor-agnostic tool that allows you to run Docker images on any hypervisor," Hyper utilizes Docker, QEMU 2.0+, and Xen 4.5 to accomplish its goals. Its creators claim it uses minimal resources (28MB), delivers high performance, and provides hardware-enforced isolation for applications. (One proposed application for it is to create a multitenant Docker-based solution.)

Docker Compose UI

Docker Compose UI is an early-stage, MIT-licensed project that provides Docker Compose with a Web-based UI built using Python's Flask framework. Containers can be provided from either a local or remote host, and the project itself is available in a Docker container for convenience. The project isn't yet recommended for production use, so proceed with caution. (Also note that some of the demo projects provided with it can't scale "because of published ports conflicts.")

Three ways to build Static Go binaries with Docker

There's a race on to see who can devise the best way to deliver the most compact Docker container with a self-contained static binary written in Go. An existing workflow talks about how to do so, but Atlassian came up with an alternative to work on OS X. Yet another approach proposed by Iron.io is even simpler.

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