In this podcast we chat with Docker Captain and newly minted Microsoft MVP Stefan Scherer. Stefan has done some fantastic work with Docker for Windows and Microservices. We also talk about how lift and shift models work really well for Docker and Windows and Stefan walks us through some of the basics of running Docker on Windows. In addition to the podcast, below is his interview on why being a Captain allows him to give back to the awesome Docker community.
Dockercast with Stephen Scherer
Interview with Stefan Scherer
How has Docker impacted what you do on a daily basis?
Docker helps me to keep my machines clean. I realize more and more that you only need a few tools on your laptop, keeping it clean and lean. And instead of writing documentation on how to build a piece of software, describe all steps in a Dockerfile. So multi GByte fat developer VM’s we maintained some years ago shrink down so a few KByte Dockerfiles for each project. No time-consuming backups needed, just keep the Dockerfile in your sources and have a backup of your Git repos.
Having practiced that on Mac and Linux now for a while, I’m happy to see that this will work on Windows as well. I see the same patterns there to get rid of an exploding PATH variable, keeping all the dependencies out of your machine and inside a container.
As a Docker Captain, how do you share that learning with the community?
When I’ve found something or solved a problem that could be useful for others, I like to write a blog post about my experience. I’m trying to show it in a simple way. If it’s just a cool hack that fits into a Tweet, then you can find it on Twitter.
I’m also watching some GitHub repos and helping people there by answering their questions or giving them some useful links to find the relevant documentation.
More and more people ask me questions directly through Twitter or email, but I gently ask them to ask the question in a public forum like GitHub, Gitter or Slack. Not that I don’t want to answer them, but instead others can profit from the discussion and the given solution.
I also speak at local Meetups. Our Hypriot team has been organizing Docker Meetups for about a year to bring together students and those interested in Docker that are working in various companies.
Why do you like Docker?
What I really like is that Docker, although many new features came in the last year, is that it is still small and simple to use, at least from a developer’s point of view.
What’s so cool about Docker is that with availability of Windows Containers earlier this year, you now have the same tools and mindset on a formerly very different platform. I believe that this lowers the barrier between Linux and Windows. Once you know the basic Docker commands, you are able to do things on both platforms. Before that, you probably were afraid, how to run software XY as a service on that previously unknown platform.
What’s your favorite thing about the Docker community?
I remember when I started to test the Windows Docker engine and found the first bugs. So I wrote an issue on GitHub and you know what? I immediately got answer from employees at Microsoft. Well I’ve previously pressed the “Send feedback report to Microsoft” button when Word crashed and nothing happened. But with the Docker project, I learned that there is a much better feedback loop. I think for both sides, so it’s important to give feedback to the developers about their software they are writing.
Are you working on any fun projects on the side?
After some first baby steps with Docker, I joined four other friends at the end of 2014 to really learn Docker together during the holiday. And we wanted to try it out on a Raspberry Pi, with only a single core CPU and half a Gig memory. We hadn’t the slightest idea what this fun idea would lead us to. This is probably not the straightforward way to learn Docker, but we learned a lot of the basics and what’s needed such as a suitable Linux kernel. In less than two months, we released our version of what was later called HypriotOS. You can’t imagine what hard work is hidden behind an easy-to-use SD image that you just plug into your Raspberry Pi and boot it to Docker.
And we’re happy to see that this project,our work and the efforts of others led to the official ARM support of Docker in the upstream GitHub repo.
How did you first learn about Docker?
We were in the middle of a new software project where we automated a lot of our development and testing environments with Vagrant. We heard about this Docker thing and that it would be much faster and smaller. It took a few weeks to find the time to play with Docker but it felt right to learn more about it.
Captains are Docker ambassadors (not Docker employees) and their genuine love of all things Docker has a huge impact on the Docker community. Whether they are blogging, writing books, speaking, running workshops, creating tutorials and classes, offering support in forums, or organizing and contributing to local events – they make Docker’s mission of democratizing technology possible. Whether you are new to Docker or have been a part of the community for a while, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Docker Captains with your challenges, questions, speaking requests and more.
While Docker does not accept applications for the Captains program, we are always on the lookout to add additional leaders that inspire and educate the Docker community. If you are interested in becoming a Docker Captain, we need to know how you are giving back. Sign up for community.docker.com, share your activities on social media with the #Docker, get involved in a local meetup as a speaker or organizer and continue to share your knowledge of Docker in your community.
Follow the Docker Captains
You can now follow all of the Docker Captains on Twitter using Docker with Alex Ellis’ tutorial.