Dockerize Your React App

Are you planning to dockerize an app that you created using a React app? Do you know what dockerizing is or how Docker works? If these questions have piqued your interest, read on. This article will help you work on dockerizing by successfully using the Docker tool.

Let’s begin with some basics about Docker. If you are already familiar with Docker, then skip ahead to the steps.

What Is Docker?

Docker is an open-source, next-generational DevOps software tool. This platform-as-a-service tool was designed to abstract hardware from software. This technology delivers ‘containers’, packages of software, configuration files, and libraries. Its goal is to help streamline the application development and deployment processes.

So in short, dockerizing can help deploy an application and run it within containers. A single package will contain all the necessary aspects of the application. For instance, the libraries, dependencies, and deployment requirements will be fulfilled within the docker.

With Docker, the benefit is that you can deploy the container to any environment and the whole application is deployed. This helps ensure that there are minimal issues with deployment and the whole process is streamlined.

Let’s get started on dockerizing your app.


Checklist to Get Started

  • The first step to dockerizing is installing Docker on your machine. This is necessary to create the Docker image as well as run the Docker containers.

Note: The installation works differently for both Mac and Windows. Installation information can be found on their respective sites.

  • You will also need the Docker toolbox for installation.
  • Once you have the docker, you need the Docker hub registry to upload/download images to the Docker.
  • Lastly, you should have the React app ready that you want to dockerize using this process.

Once all of this is done, you are ready to get started.

  • You first need to start the Docker machine. Without initializing the machine, you won’t be able to proceed.
  • Next, you need to create the Docker file in the mobile app folder. Once the Docker file is ready you can create the Docker image which you will need for deployment.

Now you are ready to dockerize your app.

Step 1: Initiate the Docker Machine

What is a Docker machine? It is a Linux-based VM that hosts the Docker Engine. It is a clone of the client-server application for Docker Daemon and Docker CLI. It communicates with Docker Daemon and helps with creating Docker images and enabling the Docker containers.

In Windows or Mac, this machine is initiated automatically at the end of the installation process. However, if you are working with the Docker Toolbox you might create the Docker Machine on the local server.

Once you have done this, you will need to click on the Docker quickstart terminal icon that comes on the desktop. Next use the create command for Docker Machine CLI and enable the docker-machine.

Now you can run the Docker Machine CLI command. This will allow you to know the machine details and check to see if you have used the correct URL. Once confirmed you can use the browser link to open the React app.

There are many commands you can create using the Docker Machine. So explore the machine and see what you want to create for the mobile app and dockerizing.

Now that the machine and the app are ready to go, it is time to create the Docker file.

Step 2: Create a Dockerfile

Next, enter the terminal and change the directory where you plan to store the React app development. Name the file as “DockerFile.”

Do not use any file extension for this. You can use dev editors like VS Code or a simple Notepad to get started.

Once done, copy the app code into the folder created for the app development. Next, install the app dependencies using the package.json file. Lastly, you will need to use the production build for Node image.

Once this part is complete, use the Nginx server image to duplicate the server and then deploy the app to the server.

Step 3: Dockerignore File

This step is not mandatory but is considered to be best practice. It helps with image building as well as learning processes.

This allows you to remove the unnecessary code from the build and create the context for the Docker file.

You will now need to create a location for the .dockerignore file and add items that should not be included in the Docker image folder.

Step 4: Create Docker Image

You can use the Docker build command to create the Docker image for the app development you just created. You need to replace the app in Docker with this new image. Apart from replacing the file, you will also need to name the image differently in this file.

Now, your Docker file is in the current folder. This process takes approximately 2 minutes. Once you are done follow the Docker command to list out all the images. You may also want to find the node and Nginx images.

Step 5: Run the Docker Container

Now, run the container to complete the dockerizing of the React JS app. You can even create an interactive container in the background if needed.


You are finished! If you already have a repository in GitHub then you are ready to go.

The dockerization process allows you to quickly run app development smoothly and is crucial to ensuring a smooth functioning app. If you’d like to learn more about working with React and Docker along with building and testing microservices, check out the Microservices with Docker, Flask, and React course.

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