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Speeding up EdWeb development with Docker

One of the problems often reported by developers using the EdWeb distribution is the time it takes to get up and running, even for early development and testing work. We decided to use Docker to create UoE Docker, which sets up an EdWeb distribution quickly by building an image of it.

Setting up the EdWeb distribution takes 40 minutes to complete, as you need to set up the correct Web-server configuration, including setting up MySQL, PHP and Apache versions.With Docker, set-up takes a matter of minutes and allows for testing and development work before making changes on your live site.

What is Docker and how did we use it?

Docker is an application which contains the complete filesystem and libraries needed to run a virtual machine.

We built the image from scratch, which involved a lot of investigation and false starts. I started off using Docker Composer, using many different images. This caused database problems and made it difficult to automate the process of installing EdWeb – we are now using a Dockerfile instead to build one whole image from scratch.

We also needed to build a Bash script to make the user interface much simpler, so it’s easier to get Docker up and running.

Who is UoE Docker for?

UoE Docker has containerised EdWeb, and it is very useful  to quickly fire up multiple environments which are isolated from the Host environment. It is primarily aimed at helping developers to collaborate – we first started to develop it for use at the EdWeb code sprints.

EdWeb Code Sprints wiki page

It’s also very useful for development teams where members have been bound to different development environments, to give them one common environment to collaborate more easily. There has been demand for this within the web community for some time.

How do I get it?

Docker is going to be released on 15th of March, where we are going to hold a workshop to help people to prepare for the upcoming codesprint.

You can find more information how to download Docker and how to setup UoE Docker at the wiki page:

UoE Docker wiki guidance

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