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@charleskorn @TassSinclair
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batect roadmap

This file reflects my current plans. Something being listed here does not guarantee that I will implement it soon (or even ever), and, similarly, just because something isn't here doesn't mean I won't ever implement it.

If there's something you're really keen to see, pull requests are always welcome :)



  • automatically enable --no-color or --simple-output if console doesn't support it (use terminfo database rather than current detection system)
  • performance improvements
    • prioritise running steps that lie on the critical path (eg. favour pulling image for leaf of dependency graph over creating container for task container)
    • print updates to the console asynchronously (they currently block whatever thread posts the event or is starting the step)
    • batch up printing updates to the console when using fancy output mode, rather than reprinting progress information on every event
  • brew doctor equivalent (./batect doctor? lint?)
    • warn when using an image without a tag or with tag latest
    • warn when mounting files / directories in non-read-only modes without run_as_current_user enabled
    • warn when mounting a directory in the same location as the home directory from run_as_current_user
    • warn when proxy environment variables aren't in URL format or don't have the http or https schemes
    • warn when proxy settings for daemon don't match local environment (can get this through API)
    • warn when a container used as a dependency does not have a health check defined
  • support for Windows
    • send updated console dimensions to daemon if console is resized while container is running
    • fix issue where app appears to hang when running on a 32-bit JVM (field size / alignment issue in named pipes calls?)
    • show more detailed Windows version information by reading it from kernel32.dll:
  • fix #10 (proxies that refer to localhost)
    • Linux:
      • Can get IP of host from [0].IPAM.Config.Gateway value from running docker network inspect <network ID>
      • Need to run sudo iptables -I INPUT -i docker0 -j ACCEPT to allow containers to access host on Linux (but non-default networks don't use docker0, they use a different interface, so this command needs to be adjusted to match)
      • Local proxy needs to be listening on correct IP(s) - need to warn users about this and about exposing them to the outside world (and thus allowing other people to access their proxy)
  • some way to clean up old images when they're no longer needed
  • allow tasks to not start any containers if they just have prerequisites (eg. pre-commit task)
  • some way to reference another Dockerfile as the base image for a Dockerfile
  • support setting ulimit values (--ulimit -
  • allow home_directory to match local user's home directory path
  • allow working_directory and container side of volume mount to reference home directory (inside container)
  • allow container side of volume mount to use path of local directory (eg. mount current directory at same path inside container) - will be tricky on Windows
  • show build context upload progress when building image
  • some way to kill a misbehaving task (eg. one that is not responding to Ctrl+C)
  • support for BuildKit - has links to references
  • shell tab completion for options (eg. batect --h<tab> completes to batect --help) - #116
  • shell tab completion for tasks (eg. batect b<tab> completes to batect build) - #116
  • Kubernetes-style health checks from outside the container (don't require curl / wget to be installed in the container, just provide HTTP endpoint)
  • ability to build one or more container images separate to running a task (two use cases: build and push an application image, and pre-build all CI environment images in parallel rather than waiting until they're needed and building them effectively serially)


  • logo
  • switch to Kotlin's built-in Result where appropriate
  • use Detekt for static analysis
  • PEP8 formatting check for Python code
  • add something like
  • fail CI build on warnings
  • fail CI build on pending tests
  • for fatal exceptions (ie. crashes), add information on where to report the error (ie. GitHub issue)
  • documentation
    • add page explaining basic concepts (eg. explain what a task and a container are)
    • rename 'quick start' to 'setup'
    • add check for broken internal or external links
    • examples for common languages and scenarios
      • NodeJS
        • frontend
        • backend
        • run yarn install as prerequisite before each task and explain performance benefit of using Yarn over NPM
      • Android app
      • pushing app to Kubernetes
    • add FAQs
      • when to mount files / directories as a volume, and when to copy them into the image
      • how to run something when the container starts, regardless of the task's command line (eg. ENTRYPOINT with shell script and exec, similar to the example in the docs)
    • importance of idempotency
    • improve the getting started guide (it's way too wordy)
    • add note about increasing default CPU and memory limits when using Docker on macOS
    • how to introduce batect to an existing project
    • how to use batect as the basis for a pipeline made up of reusable building blocks
    • expand comparison with other tools to cover Dogo, Cage and Toast
    • expand comparison to cover multi-stage builds
  • switch to coroutines for parallel execution?
  • finish configuration code simplification (first three need to be fixed)
    • Move common stuff when parsing a string (eg. EnvironmentVariableExpression, Command, Duration) out to a common class
    • Move common stuff when parsing a string or object (eg. port mapping or volume mount) out to a common class
    • Move common stuff when reading a list out to a common class (DependencySetDeserializer and PrerequisiteListDeserializer)
  • analytics / metrics
    • no personally-identifiable information
    • no potentially sensitive information (eg. paths, file names, task names, project names etc.)
    • need a way to opt-out - CLI flag, environment variable, file or known domain name
    • need to show a message the first time this is enabled for someone so they can opt-out if they want
    • probably need a privacy policy?
    • need somewhere to securely store this data and analyse it
    • disable during tests
    • batch up and send in background
    • events:
      • invocations - command (task run, help, upgrade, version info or task list), duration, success or failure
      • errors - type and stacktrace only (no further details due to privacy issues)
      • shape of task / container dependency graph (numbers only)
      • timing for task execution - at least startup / run / cleanup times, information about task steps (eg. image pull vs create vs wait for healthy) would be good too
      • time taken for JVM to start app
      • when a 'update is available' message is shown
    • metadata:
      • OS type and version
      • batect version
      • JVM version
      • Docker version
      • output mode used
      • Docker daemon connection type
      • some way to anonymously identify users (to understand usage patterns) and projects (to understand upgrade and usage patterns regardless of user)
      • whether build is running on CI or not (detect through CI environment variable?)
  • security scanning for Docker images in tests and sample projects
  • use batect to build batect (self-hosting)
  • tool to visualise execution on a timeline
    • tab to show configuration as parsed
  • switch to MockK - Kotlin specific library with clearer upgrade path to Kotlin/Native
    • remove MockMaker resource file
  • add running integration tests against Minikube to CI - can't currently easily be done as Travis doesn't support nested virtualisation and bare-metal minikube doesn't set up its own Docker daemon like it does when running in a VM
  • move to Kotlin/Native
    • Why? Don't want to require users to install a JVM to use batect, also want to remove as much overhead as possible

Things that would have to be changed when moving to Kotlin/Native

  • file I/O and path resolution logic
  • process creation / monitoring
  • HTTP communication

Things blocking move to Kotlin/Native

  • unit testing support and associated library
  • file I/O support
  • process creation / monitoring support

Future improvements

  • warn if dependency exits before task finishes (include exit code)
  • running multiple containers at once (eg. stereotypical 'run' configuration that starts up the service with its dependencies)
    • exit options (close all after any container stops, wait for all to stop)
    • rather than showing output from target, show output from all containers
    • logging options (all or particular container)
    • return code options (any non-zero, particular container, first to exit)
  • allow configuration includes (ie. allow splitting the configuration over multiple files)
  • wildcard includes (eg. include: containers/*.yaml)
  • support port ranges in mappings
  • support protocols other than TCP in port mappings
  • requires / provides relationships (eg. 'app' requires 'service-a', and 'service-a-fake' and 'service-a-real' provide 'service-a')
  • when starting up containers and displaying progress, show countdown to health check (eg. 'waiting for container to become healthy, next check in 3 seconds, will timeout after 2 more retries')
  • default to just terminating all containers at clean up time with option to gracefully shut down on individual containers (eg. database where data is shared between invocations and we don't want to corrupt it)
  • add dependency relationship between containers and tasks (eg. running the app container requires running the build first - removes the need to specify build task as a prerequisite on every task that starts the app)
  • allow piping files into tasks (eg. cat thefile.txt | ./batect the-task)
    • would require:
      • creating container in non-TTY mode
      • not putting input and output in raw mode
      • not monitoring console size changes
      • streaming I/O to container in multiplexed mode (see attach API documentation)
  • some way to check for outdated base images (eg. using postgres:10.0 and suggests updating to postgres:10.5)
    • maybe contribute support for batect to Dependabot?
  • make the last mile easier: pushing images and deploying applications
  • init containers: containers that must start, run and complete before a container can start (eg. populating a database with data)
  • some way to handle secrets easily
  • add support for docker-sync to improve I/O performance on macOS
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