A standard use case for Docker is to build a container to run a pre-built application so that the containerized app can be run on any Docker enabled host. The application and the container are sometimes developed and built separately. First the application is built, then a container is defined and built to include the application. However, it can be better to promote the Docker container to a first-class build artifact. That is, the build process always builds the deployed component and its container at the same time. This saves a manual build step and also ensures that the Docker container is always up to date with the latest application build. It allows us to easily develop and test against the Dockerized application directly – every build results in a new deployable container.
There are a number of ways to do this. This article looks at hooking the Docker tasks into the Maven build process.