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Bitnami Express Development Container


Local workspace

$ mkdir ~/myapp && cd ~/myapp
$ curl -LO
$ docker-compose up

Why use Bitnami Images?

  • Bitnami closely tracks upstream source changes and promptly publishes new versions of this image using our automated systems.
  • With Bitnami images the latest bug fixes and features are available as soon as possible.
  • Bitnami containers, virtual machines and cloud images use the same components and configuration approach - making it easy to switch between formats based on your project needs.
  • Bitnami images are built on CircleCI and automatically pushed to the Docker Hub.
  • All our images are based on minideb a minimalist Debian based container image which gives you a small base container image and the familiarity of a leading linux distribution.

Supported tags and respective Dockerfile links

NOTE: Debian 8 images have been deprecated in favor of Debian 9 images. Bitnami will not longer publish new Docker images based on Debian 8.

Learn more about the Bitnami tagging policy and the difference between rolling tags and immutable tags in our documentation page.

Subscribe to project updates by watching the bitnami/codiad GitHub repo.


Express.js, or simply Express, is a web application framework for Node.js, released as free and open-source software under the MIT License.

The Bitnami Express Development Container has been carefully engineered to provide you and your team with a highly reproducible Express development environment. We hope you find the Bitnami Express Development Container useful in your quest for world domination. Happy hacking!

Learn more about Bitnami Development Containers.

Getting started

The quickest way to get started with the Bitnami Express Development Container is using docker-compose.

Begin by creating a directory for your Express application:

mkdir ~/myapp
cd ~/myapp

Download the docker-compose.yml file in the application directory:

$ curl -LO

Finally launch the Express application development environment using:

$ docker-compose up

Among other things, the above command creates a container service, named myapp, for Express development and bootstraps a new Express application in the application directory. You can use your favorite IDE for developing the application.


If the application directory contained the source code of an existing Express application, the Bitnami Express Development Container would load the existing application instead of bootstrapping a new one.

After the Node application server has been launched in the myapp service, visit http://localhost:3000 in your favorite web browser and you'll be greeted by the default Express welcome page.

In addition to the Express Development Container, the docker-compose.yml file also configures a MongoDB service to serve as the NoSQL database backend of your Express application.

Executing commands

Commands can be launched inside the myapp Express Development Container with docker-compose using the exec command.


The exec command was added to docker-compose in release 1.7.0. Please ensure that you're using docker-compose version 1.7.0 or higher.

The general structure of the exec command is:

$ docker-compose exec <service> <command>

, where <service> is the name of the container service as described in the docker-compose.yml file and <command> is the command you want to launch inside the service.

Following are a few examples of launching some commonly used Express development commands inside the myapp service container.

  • Load the Node.js REPL:

    $ docker-compose exec myapp node
  • List installed NPM modules:

    $ docker-compose exec myapp npm ls
  • Install a NPM module:

    $ docker-compose exec myapp npm install bootstrap --save
    $ docker-compose restart myapp

Connecting to Database

Express by default does not require a database connection to work but we provide a running and configured MongoDB service and an example file config/mongodb.js with some insights for how to connect to it.

You can use Mongoose ODM in your application to model your application data.

Going to Production

The Express Development Container generates a Dockerfile in your working directory. This can be used to create a production-ready container image consisting of your application code and its dependencies.

  1. Build your Docker image
$ docker build -t myregistry/myapp:1.0.0
  1. Push to an image registry
$ docker push myregistry/myapp:1.0.0
  1. Update orchestration files to reference the pushed image


If you encountered a problem running this container, you can file an issue. For us to provide better support, be sure to include the following information in your issue:

  • Host OS and version (uname -a)
  • Docker version (docker version)
  • Docker info (docker info)
  • Docker image version (echo $BITNAMI_IMAGE_VERSION inside the container)
  • Steps to reproduce the issue.


Copyright (c) 2015-2018 Bitnami

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.