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Spring Boot with Docker :: Learn how to create a Docker container from a Spring Boot application with Maven or Gradle

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:springversion: current :toc: :projectid: gs-spring-boot-docker :icons: font :source-highlighter: prettify

This guide walks you through the process of building a[Docker] image for running a Spring Boot application. We start with a basic

and make a few tweaks. Then we show a couple of options that use build plugins (for Maven and Gradle) instead of
. This is a "getting started" guide, so the scope is limited to a few basic needs. If you are building container images for production use there are many things to consider and it is not possible to cover them all in a short guide.

NOTE: There is also a[Topical Guide on Docker], which covers a wider range of choices that we have here, and in much more detail.

== What you'll build[Docker] is a Linux container management toolkit with a "social" aspect, allowing users to publish container images and consume those published by others. A Docker image is a recipe for running a containerized process, and in this guide we will build one for a simple Spring boot application.

== What you'll need :javaversion: 1.8 include::[]

If you are NOT using a Linux machine, you will need a virtualized server. By installing VirtualBox, other tools like the Mac's boot2docker, can seamlessly manage it for you. Visit[VirtualBox's download site] and pick the version for your machine. Download and install. Don't worry about actually running it.

You will also need[Docker], which only runs on 64-bit machines. See for details on setting Docker up for your machine. Before proceeding further, verify you can run

commands from the shell. If you are using boot2docker you need to run that first.





[[initial]] == Set up a Spring Boot app

Now you can create a simple application.




The class is flagged as a

and as a
, meaning it's ready for use by Spring MVC to handle web requests.
to the
method which just sends a 'Hello World' response. The
method uses Spring Boot's
method to launch an application.

Now we can run the application without the Docker container (i.e. in the host OS).

If you are using Gradle, execute:


./gradlew build && java -jar build/libs/{project_id}-0.1.0.jar

If you are using Maven, execute:


./mvnw package && java -jar target/{project_id}-0.1.0.jar

and go to http://localhost:8080[localhost:8080] to see your "Hello Docker World" message.

== Containerize It

Docker has a simple["Dockerfile"] file format that it uses to specify the "layers" of an image. So let's go ahead and create a Dockerfile in our Spring Boot project:



FROM openjdk:8-jdk-alpine ARG JARFILE=target/*.jar COPY ${JARFILE} app.jar

ENTRYPOINT ["java","-jar","/app.jar"]

You can run it (if you are using Maven) with

$ docker build -t springio/gs-spring-boot-docker .

or (if you are using Gradle):

$ docker build --build-arg JAR_FILE=build/libs/*.jar -t springio/gs-spring-boot-docker .

This command builds an image and tags it as


This Dockerfile is very simple, but that's all you need to run a Spring Boot app with no frills: just Java and a JAR file. The build will create a spring user and a spring group to run the application. It will then

the project JAR file into the container as "app.jar" that will be executed in the
. The array form of the Dockerfile
is used so that there is no shell wrapping the java process. The[Topical Guide on Docker] goes into this topic in more detail.

NOTE: To reduce[Tomcat startup time] we formerly added a system property pointing to "/dev/urandom" as a source of entropy. This is not necessary anymore with[JDK 8 or later].

Running applications with user privileges helps to mitigate some risks (see for example[a thread on StackExchange]). So, an important improvement to the

is to run the app as a non-root user:



FROM openjdk:8-jdk-alpine RUN addgroup -S spring && adduser -S spring -G spring USER spring:spring ARG JARFILE=target/*.jar COPY ${JARFILE} app.jar

ENTRYPOINT ["java","-jar","/app.jar"]

You can see the username in the application startup logs (note the "started by" in the first

$ docker build -t springio/gs-spring-boot-docker .
$ docker run -p 8080:8080 springio/gs-spring-boot-docker

. __ _ __ _ _ /\ / _'_ __ _ ()_ __ __ _ \ \ \
( ( )___ | '_ | '| | ' / ` | \ \ \
\/ __
)| |)| | | | | || (| | ) ) ) ) ' |__| .|| ||| |\, | / / / / =========||==============|__/=///_/ :: Spring Boot :: (v2.2.1.RELEASE)

2020-04-23 07:29:41.729 INFO 1 --- [ main] hello.Application : Starting Application on b94c86e91cf9 with PID 1 (/app started by spring in /) ...

Also, there is a clean separation between dependencies and application resources in a Spring Boot fat jar file, and we can use that fact to improve performance. The key is to create layers in the container filesystem. The layers are cached both at build time and at runtime (in most runtimes) so we want the most frequently changing resources, usually the class and static resources in the application itself, to be layered after the more slowly changing resources. Thus we will use a slightly different implementation of the Dockerfile:




This Dockerfile has a

parameter pointing to a directory where we have unpacked the fat jar. From a Maven build:
$ mkdir -p target/dependency && (cd target/dependency; jar -xf ../*.jar)

or from a Gradle build:

$ mkdir -p build/dependency && (cd build/dependency; jar -xf ../libs/*.jar)

If we get that right, it already contains a

directory with the dependency jars in it, and a
directory with the application classes in it. Notice that we are using the application's own main class
(this is faster than using the indirection provided by the fat jar launcher).

NOTE: Exploding the jar file can result in the classpath order being[different at runtime]. A well-behaved and well-written application should not care about this, but you may see behaviour changes if the dependencies are not carefully managed.

NOTE: If you are using boot2docker you need to run it first before you do anything with the Docker command line or with the build tools (it runs a daemon process that handles the work for you in a virtual machine).

To build the image you can use the Docker command line. For example:

$ docker build -t springio/gs-spring-boot-docker .

From a Gradle build, add the explicit build args:

$ docker build --build-arg DEPENDENCY=build/dependency -t springio/gs-spring-boot-docker .

TIP: Of course if you only used Gradle, you could just change the

to make the default value of
match the location of the unpacked archive.

Instead of building with the Docker command line, you might want to use a build plugin. Spring Boot supports building a container from Maven or Gradle using its own build plugin. Google also has an open source tool called[Jib] that has Maven and Gradle plugins. Probably the most interesting thing about this approach is that you don't need a

. You build the image using the same standard container format as you get from
docker build
- and it can work in environments where docker is not installed (not uncommon in build servers).

NOTE: The images generated by the default buildpacks by default do not run your application as root. Check the configuration guide for[Maven] or[Gradle] for how to change the default settings.

=== Build a Docker Image with Maven To get started quickly, you can run the Spring Boot image generator without even changing your

(and remember the
if it is still there is ignored):
$ ./mvnw spring-boot:build-image

To push to a Docker registry you will need to have permission to push, which you won't have by default. Change the image prefix to your own Dockerhub ID, and

docker login
to make sure you are authenticated before you run Docker.

=== Build a Docker Image with Gradle

You can build a tagged docker image with Gradle in one command:

$ ./gradlew bootBuildImage --imageName=springio/gs-spring-boot-docker

=== After the Push

A "docker push" in the example will fail for you (unless you are part of the "springio" organization at Dockerhub), but if you change the configuration to match your own docker ID then it should succeed, and you will have a new tagged, deployed image.

You do NOT have to register with docker or publish anything to run a docker image that was built locally. If you built with Docker (from the command line or from Sprng Boot), you still have a locally tagged image, and you can run it like this:

$ docker run -p 8080:8080 -t springio/gs-spring-boot-docker Container memory limit unset. Configuring JVM for 1G container. Calculated JVM Memory Configuration: -XX:MaxDirectMemorySize=10M -XX:MaxMetaspaceSize=86381K -XX:ReservedCodeCacheSize=240M -Xss1M -Xmx450194K (Head Room: 0%, Loaded Class Count: 12837, Thread Count: 250, Total Memory: 1073741824) .... 2015-03-31 13:25:48.035 INFO 1 --- [ main] s.b.c.e.t.TomcatEmbeddedServletContainer : Tomcat started on port(s): 8080 (http)

2015-03-31 13:25:48.037 INFO 1 --- [ main] hello.Application : Started Application in 5.613 seconds (JVM running for 7.293)

NOTE: The CF memory calculator is used at runtime to size the JVM to fit the container.

The application is then available on http://localhost:8080 (visit that and it says "Hello Docker World").


When using a Mac with boot2docker, you typically see things like this at startup:


Docker client to the Docker daemon, please set: export DOCKERCERTPATH=/Users/gturnquist/.boot2docker/certs/boot2docker-vm export DOCKERTLSVERIFY=1

export DOCKER_HOST=tcp://

To see the app, you must visit the IP address in DOCKER_HOST instead of localhost. In this case,, the public facing IP of the VM.

When it is running you can see in the list of containers, e.g:


81c723d22865 springio/gs-spring-boot-docker:latest "java -Djava.secur..." 34 seconds ago Up 33 seconds>8080/tcp goofy_brown

and to shut it down again you can

docker stop
with the container ID from the listing above (yours will be different):

$ docker stop goofy_brown


If you like you can also delete the container (it is persisted in your filesystem under

somewhere) when you are finished with it:

$ docker rm goofy_brown

=== Using Spring Profiles Running your freshly minted Docker image with Spring profiles is as easy as passing an environment variable to the Docker run command

$ docker run -e "SPRINGPROFILESACTIVE=prod" -p 8080:8080 -t springio/gs-spring-boot-docker


$ docker run -e "SPRINGPROFILESACTIVE=dev" -p 8080:8080 -t springio/gs-spring-boot-docker

=== Debugging the application in a Docker container To debug the application[JPDA Transport] can be used. So we'll treat the container like a remote server. To enable this feature pass a java agent settings in JAVA_OPTS variable and map agent's port to localhost during a container run. With the[Docker for Mac] there is limitation due to that we can't access container by IP without[black magic usage].

$ docker run -e "JAVATOOLOPTIONS=-agentlib:jdwp=transport=dt_socket,address=5005,server=y,suspend=n" -p 8080:8080 -p 5005:5005 -t springio/gs-spring-boot-docker

== Summary

Congratulations! You've just created a Docker container for a Spring Boot app! Spring Boot apps run on port 8080 inside the container by default and we mapped that to the same port on the host using "-p" on the command line.

== See Also

The following guides may also be helpful:

  •[Serving Web Content with Spring MVC]
  •[Building an Application with Spring Boot]
  • Guide on Spring Boot with Docker


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