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How to containerize a python flask application ?

Containerization is one of the fast growing and powerful technologies in software Industry. With this technology, user can build, ship and deploy the applications (standalone and distributed) seamlessly. Here are the simple steps to containerize a python flask application.

Step 1:
Develop your flask application. Here for demonstration I am using a very simple flask application. You can use yours and proceed with the remaining steps. If you are new to this technology, I would recommend you to start with this simple program. As usual with all the tutorials, here also I am using a “Hello World” program. Since we are discussing about Docker, we can call it as “Hello Docker”. I will demonstrate the containerization of an advanced application in my next post.

import json
from flask import Flask

app = Flask(__name__)

@app.route("/requestme", methods = ["GET"])
def hello():
    response = {"message":"Hello Docker.!!"}
    return json.dumps(response)


if __name__ == '__main__':
    app.run(host="0.0.0.0", port=9090, debug=True)

Step 2:
Ensure the project is properly packaged and the dependencies are mentioned in the requirements.txt. A properly packaged project is easy to manage. All the dependent packages are required in the code execution environment. The dependencies will be installed based on the requirements.txt. So prepare the dependency list properly and add it in the requirements.txt file. Since our program is a simple one module application, there is nothing to package much. Here I am keeping the python file and the requirements.txt in a folder named myproject (Not using any package structure)

 

Step 3:
Create the Dockerfile. The file should be with the name “Dockerfile“. Here I have used python 2 base image. If you use python:3, then python 3 will be the base image. So based on your requirement, you can select the base image.

FROM python:2
ADD myproject /
WORKDIR /myproject
RUN pip install -r requirements.txt
CMD [ "python", ".myflaskapp.py" ]

Ensure you create the Dockerfile without any extension. Docker may not recognize the file with .txt extension.

Step 4:
Build an image using the Dockerfile. Ensure we keep the python project and the Dockerfile in proper locations.
Run the following command from the location where the Dockerfile is kept. The syntax of the command is given below

docker build -t [imagename]:[tag] [location]

The framed command is given below. Here I am executing the build command from the same location as that of the Dockerfile and the project, so I am using ‘dot’ as the location. If the Docker file is located in a different location, you can specify it using the option -f or using –file.

docker build -t myflaskapp:latest .

Step 5:
Run a container from the image

docker run -d -p 9090:9090 --name myfirstapp myflask:latest

Step 6:
Verify the application
List the running containers

docker ps | grep myfirstapp

Now your application is containerized.

pythonContainer_docker

Step 7:
Save the docker image locally. The following command will save the docker image as a tar file. You can take this file to any other environment and use it.

docker save myflaskapp > myflaskapp.tar

Save the docker image to Dockerhub also.

In this way you can ship and run your application anywhere.

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About amalgjose
I am an Electrical Engineer by qualification, now I am working as a Software Engineer. I am very much interested in Electrical, Electronics, Mechanical and now in Software fields. I like exploring things in these fields. I like travelling, long drives and very much addicted to music.

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