Docker Captains Take 5 — Thorsten Hans

Docker Captains are select members of the community that are both experts in their field and are passionate about sharing their Docker knowledge with others. “Docker Captains Take 5” is a regular blog series where we get a closer look at our Captains and ask them the same broad set of questions ranging from what their best Docker tip is to whether they prefer cats or dogs (personally, we like whales and turtles over here). Today, we’re interviewing Thorsten, who recently joined as a Docker Captain. He’s a Cloud-Native Consultant at Thinktecture and is based in Saarbrücken, Germany.

Docker captain thorsten hans

How/when did you first discover Docker?

I started using Docker when I got a shiny new MacBook Pro back in 2015. Before unboxing the new device, I was committed to keeping my new rig as clean and efficient as possible. I didn’t want to mess up another device with numerous databases, SDKs, or other tools for every project. Docker sounded like the perfect match for my requirements. (Spoiler: It was!)

When using macOS as an operating system, Docker Toolbox was the way to go back in those days.

Although quite some time has passed since 2015, I still remember how amazed I was by Docker’s clean CLI design and how Docker made underlying (read: way more complicated) concepts easy to understand and adopt.

What’s your favorite Docker command?

To be honest, I think “favorite” is a bit too complicated to answer! Based on hard facts, it’s docker run.

According to my ZSH history, it’s the command with most invocations. By the way, if you want to find yours, use this command:


history | awk 'BEGIN {FS="[ \t]+|\\|"} {print $3,$4}' | sort | uniq -c | sort -nr | grep docker | head -n 10

Besides docker run, I would go with docker sbom and docker scan. Those help me to address common requirements when it comes to shift-left security.

What’s your top tip for working with Docker that others may not know?

From a developer’s perspective, it’s definitely docker context in combination with Azure and AWS.

Adding Azure Container Instances (ACI) or Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) as a Docker context and running your apps straight in the public cloud within seconds is priceless.

Perhaps you want to quickly try out your application, or you have to verify that your containerized application works as expected in the desired cloud infrastructure. Serverless contexts from Azure and AWS with native integration in Docker CLI provide an incredible inner-loop experience for both scenarios.

What’s the coolest Docker demo you’ve done/seen?

It might sound a bit boring these days. However, I still remember how cool the first demo on debugging applications running in Docker containers from people at Microsoft was.

Back in those days, they demonstrated how to debug applications running in Docker containers on the local machine and attach the local debugger to Docker containers running in the cloud. Seeing the debugger stopping at the desired breakpoint, showing all necessary contextual information, and knowing about all the nitty-gritty infrastructure in-between was just mind blowing.

That was the “now we’re talking” moment for many developers in the audience.

What have you worked on in the past six months that you’re particularly proud of?

As part of my daily job, I help developers understand and master technologies. The most significant achievement is when you recognize that they don’t need your help anymore. It’s that moment when you realize they’ve grasped the technologies — which ultimately permits them to master their technology challenges without further assistance.

What do you anticipate will be Docker’s biggest announcement this year?

Wait. There is more to come? Really!? TBH, I have no clue. We’ve had so many significant announcements already in 2022. Just take a look at the summary of DockerCon 2022 and you’ll see what I mean.

Personally, I hope to see handy extensions appearing in Docker Desktop, and I would love to see new features in Docker Hub when it comes to automations.

What are some personal goals for the next year with respect to the Docker community?

I want to help more developers adopt Docker and its products to improve their day-to-day workflow. As we start to see more in-person conferences here in Europe, I can’t wait to visit new communities, meetups, and conferences to demonstrate how Docker can help them take their productivity to a whole new level.

Speaking to all the event organizers: If you want me to address inner-loop performance and shift-left security at your event, ping me on Twitter and we’ll figure out how I can contribute.

What was your favorite thing about DockerCon 2022?

I won’t pick a particular announcement. It’s more the fact that Docker as a company continually sharpens its communication, marketing, and products to address the specific needs of developers. Those actions help us as an industry build faster inner-loop workflows and address shift-left security’s everyday needs.

Looking to the distant future, what’s the technology that you’re most excited about and that you think holds a lot of promise?

Definitely cloud-native. Although the term cloud-native has been around for quite some time now, I think we haven’t nailed it yet. Vendors will abstract complex technologies to simplify the orchestration, administration, and maintenance of cloud-native applications.

Instead of thinking about technical terms, we must ensure everyone thinks about this behavior when the term cloud-native is referenced.

Additionally, the number of tools, CLIs, and technologies developers must know and master to take an idea into an actual product is too high. So I bet we’ll see many abstractions and simplifications in the cloud-native space.

Rapid fire questions…

What new skill have you mastered during the pandemic?

Although I haven’t mastered it (yet), I would answer this question with Rust. During the pandemic, I looked into some different programming languages. Rust is the language that stands out here. It has an impressive language design and helps me write secure, correct, and safe code. The compiler, the package manager, and the entire ecosystem are just excellent.

IMO, every developer should dive into new programming languages from time to time to get inspired and see how other languages address common requirements.

Cats or Dogs?

Dogs. We thought about and discussed having a dog for more than five years. Finally, in December 2022, we found Marley, the perfect dog to complete our family.

Thorsten dog

Salty, sour, or sweet?

Although I would pick salty, I love sweet Alabama sauce for BBQ.

Beach or mountains?

Beach, every time.

Your most often used emoji?

Phew, There are tons of emojis I use quite frequently. Let’s go with 🚀.


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