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Dockerizing an Angular app

Dockerizing an Angular app is quite easy. I will show you how to do that in this document's first part.

It gets a litte bit more complicated to follow Docker's "Build once, run anywhere" motto. The document's second part will show you a possible solution to this challenge.

I won't explain any Docker concepts here. I'm sure you'll easily be able to find a documentation or tutorial fitting your needs.

Part I: The Simple Case

To run an Angular app inside a Docker container without further configuration from the outside, you don't have to change any code in your app. All you've got to do is to add some files and edit them to match your app's name and the target environment's port the app should listen to.

Here you can find the sources that are included in this part of the document.

Files To Add

Add the following two files:

  • Create an nginx directory and put a default.conf file inside:

    client_max_body_size 0;
    server_tokens off;
    server_names_hash_bucket_size 64;
    server {
      listen 80;
      server_name localhost;
      location / {
        root /usr/share/nginx/html;
        index index.html;
        try_files $uri $uri/ /index.html;
  • Create a Dockerfile

    FROM nginx
    LABEL maintainer="Michael Kaaden <>"
    COPY nginx/default.conf /etc/nginx/conf.d
    COPY dist/dockerized-app /usr/share/nginx/html

These two files are sufficient to build the Docker image containing your Angular app.

Too keep the image as small as possible, you should create a .dockerignore file to prevent too many files and directories to be added to your image


If you're like me, you love automating steps you need to repeat often (and which you will most likely forget if another project draws your attention). Because of this, I'm using the following two scripts:

  • A script to automate building the image (use npm instead of yarn, if necessary):

    yarn --prefer-offline --no-progress
    ng build --prod
    docker build -t dockerized-app .
  • A docker-compose.yml to simplify the container instantiation:

    version: "3"
            image: dockerized-app
                - "8093:80"
  • A script to automate (re-)starting the container (this uses the docker-compose.yml file shown above):

    #! /bin/bash
    docker-compose down --remove-orphans
    docker-compose up -d

Building And Running The Dockerized App

Now it's very easy to build and run the app with Docker:

  1. Build the app and the Docker image with ./

    Example run:

    $ ./
    yarn install v1.13.0
    [1/4] πŸ”  Resolving packages...
    success Already up-to-date.
    ✨  Done in 0.41s.
    Date: 2019-03-09T14:56:24.367Z
    Hash: e6105fbbd24ce43b0f57
    Time: 10178ms
    chunk {0} runtime.a5dd35324ddfd942bef1.js (runtime) 1.41 kB [entry] [rendered]
    chunk {1} es2015-polyfills.358ed1827c991dd2afb0.js (es2015-polyfills) 56.4 kB [initial] [rendered]
    chunk {2} main.e87fb3df99e6b4b142c4.js (main) 239 kB [initial] [rendered]
    chunk {3} polyfills.407a467dedb63cfdd103.js (polyfills) 41 kB [initial] [rendered]
    chunk {4} styles.3ff695c00d717f2d2a11.css (styles) 0 bytes [initial] [rendered]
    Sending build context to Docker daemon  393.7kB
    Step 1/4 : FROM nginx
     ---> 42b4762643dc
    Step 2/4 : LABEL maintainer="Michael Kaaden <>"
     ---> Using cache
     ---> ebd7affcf553
    Step 3/4 : COPY nginx/default.conf /etc/nginx/conf.d
     ---> Using cache
     ---> 65b24d481385
    Step 4/4 : COPY dist/dockerized-app /usr/share/nginx/html
     ---> Using cache
     ---> a6f5cd965884
    Successfully built a6f5cd965884
    Successfully tagged dockerized-app:latest
  2. Start the container with ./

    Example run:

    $ ./
    Stopping dockerized-app_web_1 ... done
    Removing dockerized-app_web_1 ... done
    Removing network dockerized-app_default
    Creating network "dockerized-app_default" with the default driver
    Creating dockerized-app_web_1 ... done
  3. Visit http://localhost:8093 (that's the port defined in the docker-compose.yml file)

Part II: Build Once, Run Anywhere

Here you can find the sources that are included in this part of the document.

Think of a typical development process that requires the following environments: Development, testing, staging, and production. In each of these, you will probably at least need a different base URL pointing to the location where the backend resides.

In the first environment, the app needs to run wth ng serve and ng serve --prod from your shell. So you need some ability to inject the "base URL" as I'm going to call it into your app without any Docker container running.

In the other environments, Docker needs to overwrite the base URL you need for development with the one fitting into to the individual environment consisting of many containers being carefully linked together. You need to somehow inject the base URL here, too.

One thing should be clear: You don't want to build a new image containing your Angular app for each of these environments. The tested image is the one you want to deploy in staging and production. Why? Because on the build system, things might have changed between the first and the next build. For example, a new npm release might have crept in. You might have updated global packages. Someone might have made a tiny hotfix in your code base. All of these might result in a slightly different build that is different from the one you had tested thoroughly.

What you need is a configurable image that works in every environment. We'll concentrate on the base URL. All other configurations should work the same way.

First of all, we need some mechanism to load the app configuration at runtime. If we'd use Angular's environment.ts for this purpose, the value would need to be set at build time. That's too early. So, what we need to do is put the configuration in some file which we'll place in the assets folder. This way, we can easily overwrite the file when composing the container, i. e. at runtime. We'll see how to do this in a moment.

Here's the src/assets/settings.json file that we'll use:

    "baseUrl": "http://localhost:5002"

Let's define a Settings interface that defines the config file's structure:

export interface Settings {
    baseUrl: string;

Now we need a SettingsService that we simply inject whenever we need to access the settings.

import { Injectable } from "@angular/core";
import { Settings } from "../models/settings";

    providedIn: "root",
export class SettingsService {
    settings: Settings;

There's one thing we need to cope with when we're retrieving the settings from the JSON file: The app already needs its settings when it's launching, but the settings are retrieved via an HTTP call, which is done asynchronously. Thankfully, Angular introduced the concept of an APP_INITIALIZER for that. I won't go into detail here. The point is: The app awaits the APP_INITIALIZER's result before continuing to initialize, and that's exactly what we need here.

So, here's the SettingsInitializerService that is responsible for loading the Settings:

import { HttpClient } from "@angular/common/http";
import { Injectable } from "@angular/core";
import { Settings } from "../models/settings";
import { SettingsService } from "./settings.service";

    providedIn: "root",
export class SettingsInitializerService {
    constructor(private http: HttpClient, private settings: SettingsService) {}

    initializeSettings(): Promise<any> {
        return new Promise((resolve, reject) => {
                .then((response) => {
                    this.settings.settings = response as Settings;
                .catch((error) => reject(error));

Finally, the app needs to load the settings during startup. This is done in the app.module.ts file.

import { HttpClientModule } from "@angular/common/http";
import { BrowserModule } from "@angular/platform-browser";
import { APP_INITIALIZER, NgModule } from "@angular/core";

import { AppRoutingModule } from "./app-routing.module";
import { AppComponent } from "./components/app/app.component";
import { OneComponent } from "./components/one/one.component";
import { TwoComponent } from "./components/two/two.component";
import { SettingsInitializerService } from "./services/settings-initializer.service";

export function initSettings(
    settingsInitializerService: SettingsInitializerService,
) {
    return () => settingsInitializerService.initializeSettings();

    declarations: [AppComponent, OneComponent, TwoComponent],
    imports: [BrowserModule, AppRoutingModule, HttpClientModule],
    providers: [
            provide: APP_INITIALIZER,
            useFactory: initSettings,
            deps: [SettingsInitializerService],
            multi: true,
    bootstrap: [AppComponent],
export class AppModule {}

Now, the app will load the Settings during startup.

Well... What's still missing is the possibility to change the base URL for each Docker container. Currently, every container would use the value set in the src/assets/settings.json file.

One option to fix this is to use the envsubst command. This takes a template file as input and substitutes all known environment variables with their value.

Here's the src/assets/settings.json.template file:

    "baseUrl": "${BASE_URL}"

Our updated docker-compose.yml will now use envsubst to produce the correct src/assets/settings.json file for each container by substituting the base URL:

version: "3"

        image: dockerized-app
            - ./docker.env
            - "8093:80"
            /bin/bash -c "envsubst '$$BASE_URL' <
            /usr/share/nginx/html/assets/settings.json.template >
            /usr/share/nginx/html/assets/settings.json && exec nginx -g 'daemon

As you can see, I defined the environment inside the docker.env file. It looks like this:


To build and run the container, you still can use the scripts shown above. But now the base URL will be set to the one defined in the environment.


πŸ™ŠπŸ’»Das Beispielprojekt BookMonkey 3 im Docker-Container




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