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Python package to make it easier to manage docker containers

Project description


This goal of pydocker is to make it seamless to work on a docker container on your laptop like you would with your normal environment. This means it handles passing all of your credentials (SSH key, Google, etc) and mounting a directory of your choosing from the host machine to the container, and sets up port forwarding so that you can still use notebooks. It supports local images, Google Container Repository, or anywhere docker can pull from.


(Note: These instructions currently only support MacBooks but pydocker should work on other OS.)

Before you install the library there are some minimal environment setup steps.

Docker setup

Install and start Docker:

brew cask install docker
open /Applications/

Build Example Image


FROM google/cloud-sdk:slim
RUN pip install jupyterlab notebook pandas
RUN  /bin/echo -e '#!/bin/bash\njupyter notebook --notebook-dir="/" --ip= --allow-root --NotebookApp.token=""' > /usr/bin/notebook && \
    chmod +x /usr/bin/notebook && \
     /bin/echo -e '#!/bin/bash\njupyter lab --notebook-dir="/" --ip= --allow-root --NotebookApp.token=""' > /usr/bin/lab && \
    chmod +x /usr/bin/lab
WORKDIR /current
CMD notebook

This Dockerfile uses the current directory as the workspace, and will look for all files there and the build command, docker build -t notebook -f Dockerfile ., will create a local docker image called Notebook, which uses the google/cloud-sdk as a base image. The Dockerfile also then makes a couple of small scripts to make it easier to launch notebooks or jupyterlab.

Install pydocker

pip install sq-pydocker

Setup pydocker

Make the directory

pydocker init

This will copy your ssh keys, and create a new config based on your main square config, but modified because of running in a docker container. This only needs to be run the first time.

Using pydocker

Usage: pydocker [OPTIONS] COMMAND [ARGS]...

  -v, --verbose
  --help         Show this message and exit.


Start ssh-agent container

If you need to have the ability to ssh into machines you can start an ssh-agent in a container with:

pydocker agent

This will add keys copied with the init command without passwords automatically, or print the command you need to run to add password protected keys. This ssh-agent container will then be connected to all other containers, so you don't need to keep entering your key password. The makes it more secure by not storing any credentials in the Image. This container can be restarted when needed, if you run pydocker agent it will delete the container, and make a new one.


  -i, --image TEXT        Docker image
  -n, --name TEXT         container name
  -d, --working-dir TEXT  host directory to mount
  -p, --port INTEGER      local port to be connected to container
  -l, --logs              stream container logs
  --gcloud / --no-gcloud  include gcloud credentials
  -c, --command TEXT      command which is passed to container
  --help                  show this message and exit.

This command launches the notebook (which we built above) and forwards internal port 8888 to the laptops port 9000 and creates a container named test. In addition the host's current folder . is mounted in the working-dir folder. This gives the container access to the host filesystem. After running the command you can go to localhost:9000 in your browser.

pydocker launch --image notebook --name test --working-dir . --port 9000 --no-gcloud

Remote images also work:

pydocker launch --image jupyter/minimal-notebook:latest --name example --working-dir . --port 9000 --no-gcloud

Will pull the remote image down first. You can still do docker pull IMAGE and pydocker will use the already downloaded image.

Google Cloud Setup (optional)

This is only required if you are going to be using Google Cloud. If you already have gcloud installed, update by running gcloud components update. If you have not setup Google Cloud already, begin by installing Google Cloud.

  1. Download the (archive)( and unpack it (only do the "Before you begin" section).

  2. Navigate to the folder containing google-cloud-sdk and run

  1. Set your gcloud account and project.
gcloud auth login
gcloud config set account ${USER}
gcloud config set project YOUR_PROJECT
gcloud auth application-default login
  1. Now generate your ssh credentials by running:
gcloud compute ssh --zone "us-central1-a" "RUNNING_VM"

Status Server

pydocker status

This will open a status server which will show a page with information about all local containers. This includes a link to clink into any with open port forwarding.

Container Status



pip install -e .


  • pytest runs the unit tests
  • flake8 to check style guidelines

To run them locally:

flake8 .

Continuous Integrations

CI is handled through travis, and will run non-GCS tests on both 2.7 and 3.6. We may add cloud storage tests to travis soon, but for now tests should also be run locally to confirm that functionality works as well.

Versions and Tags

Use bumpversion to update the version of the package

bumpversion [major|minor|patch]

This will increment the version and update it both in and pydocker/ It will also automatically commit a tag with the corresponding version. You can push this to the repo with

git push --tags


Copyright 2018 Square, Inc.

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

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