I like to use docker to run my server side apps and my node apps aren’t exception. Decided to show the docker file I use for my node apps and explain what I’m doing there. I copy the entire source, having the files I want to exclude in docker ignore file. The most important thing to note is I don’t copy node_modules directories, I do fresh install in docker. Main reason is that docker container is kinda different operating system and potentially a different distro (Debian in this instance, because I love it!) than dev or CI box. So why not build the code where it’s gonna run and if there are issues I’ll know about it sooner. Also note that I run npm install with production switch so it doesn’t install dev dependencies, which I don’t really need to run my app.


FROM yeghishe/nodejs:0.12.7

COPY . /src/
RUN cd /src && npm install --production

VOLUME /logs
CMD ["forever", "-a", "-o", "/logs/mydemoapp.log", "-e", "/logs/mydemoapp.log", "-c", "coffee", "server.coffee"]

I also expose logs directory to be mounted on host so it can be tailed easily, forwarded to centralized log box (rsyslog, kibana, splunk, whatever you use), rotated. Everything else doesn’t really have a state so no need to provide option to be mounted on host. I do run it in forever which isn’t strictly required, you can have the main process run the container and when it crashes have upstart or monit restart the container but I feel like forever way would be faster to recover and forever has always worked for me, so why not.

If you’re using JavaScript just use node executable instead of coffee.

Also here is my docker ignore file.

.dockerignore file


Feel free to use my public nodejs image for your own node applications.

Also check my other post out about running akka applications in docker.