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By Date: May 2024

Development Containers - the fine print

Development Containers are supposed to liberate your development environment from a specific local installation, like container technology liberated your runtimes (a.k.a YAMLed them into Docker or Kubernetes).

Helmchart Pun

Development != Runtime

Containerization for development has some overlap and quite some difference to containerization for production:

Topic Development Production
Mutability You alter container content Container is static
Network Use internal network Use internal network
Access Developer tools++ Browser / App
Containers multiple multiple
Volumes primary container binds projectdir
all others mount only
all: bind or mount
Configuration devcontainer.json, docker-compose.yml docker-compose.yml,Helm Chart
Scope Runtime & Tooling Runtime
Dockerfile Setup development environment Configure production


  • There are many getting started resources available: here, here, here, here and here. They are working examples, commonly strong on what and how, but light on why
  • There are plenty of templates to learn by example
  • There seem to be substantial differences how it works on different platforms, subtle and annoying
  • On macOS (14.4.1) with with the devcontainer plugin 0.364.0 mount binds would not work in auxiliary containers, only in the main app
  • I couldn't find any descrption which subset of docker-compose.yml is supported
  • The most interesting templates, for now, live on the Microsoft Artifact Registry, when you know how to look. Starting with those saves you tons of time and frustration
  • You will love code --list-extensions to figure out the extensions you have in your vscode (unless you are a code n00b and don't have any)

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Posted by on 12 May 2024 | Comments (0) | categories: Container Docker Java NodeJS WebDevelopment