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Docker Desktop templates ease container app dev

Docker targets a bigger pool of enterprise developers with enhancements to the Docker dev tool set that lets developers design apps graphically rather than through the command line.

Upgrades to Docker Desktop aim to make containerization easier for a broader base of enterprise developers.

At its DockerCon 2018 conference in San Francisco this week, Docker previewed additional Docker Desktop capabilities that let developers use templates to design containerized applications. The graphical tool provides guided workflows for developers not familiar with the Docker command line.

Templates to simplify containerization

Docker Desktop is already a widely used tool by developers who work with containers, and support for template-based workflows will help vastly increase those numbers. Developers will no longer be required to use the Docker command-line interface to build and run applications, or to understand the Dockerfile and Compose file specs to design containerized applications, said Gareth Rushgrove, a Docker product manager, during a presentation at the conference.

This represents a shift to reach a broader developer audience that is more comfortable with a GUI versus command-line interfaces. "Docker customers appreciate having a more agile approach towards app dev to help them accelerate their modernization," said Charlotte Dunlap, an analyst at GlobalData in Santa Cruz, Calif.

With the Docker Desktop enhancements, developers can either choose a prebuilt template or customize their own application template. If they choose to customize, they can pick from a list of services to add to their application. Each service will become a container in the final app, and Docker Desktop automatically creates the Dockerfiles and Compose files.

"Simplification and automation are key to help developers adopt a platform," said Larry Carvalho, an analyst at IDC. "If Docker can capitalize on the underlying benefits and grow the capabilities by contributions through the community, they could be a good alternative for developers."

Docker Desktop templates
Docker Desktop eases app development

Challenges from in the offing

If Docker can capitalize on the underlying benefits and grow the capabilities by contributions through the community, they could be a good alternative for developers.
Larry Carvalhoanalyst, IDC

Docker Desktop abstracts the complexity in building applications, and its functions are similar to a platform as a service (PaaS), which is a good step to attract more developers, Carvalho said. However, it lacks the wide array of capabilities already offered by established PaaS providers.

Docker's next challenge will be to continue to serve existing customers while other platform providers add next-gen technologies such as serverless computing to their portfolios, Dunlap said.

Meanwhile, Docker counts on enterprise developer teams to eventually create their own templates to simplify collaboration. Docker customers have requested the company's help to share the containerization technology, and there is interest to have application architects and security teams create preapproved templates and restrict which services can be used, Rushgrove said.

The Docker Desktop template-based workflows are available in an early access program, and will be generally available in the second half of this year.

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