Updating Docker containers safely

For anyone who runs one or more docker applications, a huge challenge is to keep containers running smoothly with updated images. You could force updates with tools like Watchtower, but these may just automatically break your applications. Here are some of the ways I make sure docker applications stay up-to-date while failing as little as possible. This only covers docker run/create and docker-compose (for now). Here’s what I do.

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Fun with Discourse on Docker

Discourse is a popular forum tool available as a self-hosted open-source tool. It can be installed bare-metal on Linux, but the Docker installation is one that I found most interesting. Unlike most Docker-implemented tools, Discourse has a script that runs outside of the docker containers (on your base machine) to set up the tool. This monolithic script (./discourse-setup) seems to do many of the things that docker-compose does, but obviously worse. I’m no fan of doing things this way; especially when the base alternative is nowhere on their site. My challenge this time was to build a basic docker-compose.yml that would get Discourse running in a test environment. Here’s what I did.