Docker – an essential tool for web development

14. November 2019

Everyday we use different things that are not essential vital for us, but which make our life easier. Whether there are things like a car, a fridge or a mobile phone, could you imagine your life without them? 


When you are working in web development, quality is not taken for granted. Every time we develop a project for our clients, we need to ensure high quality. 

By the time a website has been coded, it has to be tested before you present it to your client to make sure it works as intended. How do you do it? There are multiple options to choose from. Some take a lot of effort and resources, while others are easier. You can build several N computers and test it manually, use Virtual Machines (VM) or software platforms like Docker. 


What is Docker?

Docker is a software development platform or a set of platform-as-a-service (PaaS) products that develop and deploy software applications easily in packages called containers. A container is a simple system that acts as a micro-computer. Think of it as a normal container used by logistics companies to carry goods. All containers look the same on the outside, but the inside looks are different.  

Docker can deploy multiple containers at the same time. Each container works independently, having an isolated user space. The containers can be added, removed, stopped or started again without affecting other containers. 


(Source: Stack Overflow)

According to Stack Overflow, developers around the world had for the first time Docker as an option to choose their preferred software and tools. Docker was rated #1 as the Most Wanted, #2 Most Loved platform and #3 platform in use. 


What about Virtual Machines (VM)? 

Docker may seem to be a VM, but it is more than that. A Virtual Machine has to reserve a lot of resources, HDD space, processing power, and memory, emulate the hardware and boot an entire operating system (OS). Then the VM can only communicate with the host computer/server through a translator application also known as “Hypervisor”. 


(Source: Stack Overflow)

On the other hand, Docker bypasses the Hypervisor and communicates natively with the system kernel. Even if it is compatible with other OS such as macOS or Windows, Docker works best with Linux. 

Moreover, while the VM is consuming a lot of resources, Docker shares the resources directly with the host. This means that VM can only simulate a limited number of user spaces, while Docker can sustain many more containers. 


One platform to rule them all  

What makes Docker a popular platform is the way it works and how easy it is to operate it. Each container has specific tasks and can communicate with each other through well-defined channels. One container can run a MySQL database, while another run a Node.js application. You can find enough pre-configured environments on Docker’s Hub for each programming language or other needed situation. 

Docker is just one of our preferred tools that we love to work with. What is yours? 


Published 14. November 2019
Af Andrei Sorin Timpau

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