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Define and run multi-container applications with Docker
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Punctual, lightweight development environments using Docker.

Fig is a tool for defining and running isolated application environments. You define the services which comprise your app in a simple, version-controllable YAML configuration file that looks like this:

  build: .
   - db
   - 8000:8000
  image: orchardup/postgresql

Then type fig up, and Fig will start and run your entire app:

example fig run

There are commands to:

  • start, stop and rebuild services
  • view the status of running services
  • tail running services' log output
  • run a one-off command on a service

Fig is a project from Orchard, a Docker hosting service. Follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with Fig and other Docker news.

Getting started

Let's get a basic Python web app running on Fig. It assumes a little knowledge of Python, but the concepts should be clear if you're not familiar with it.

First, install Docker. If you're on OS X, you can use docker-osx:

$ curl > /usr/local/bin/docker-osx
$ chmod +x /usr/local/bin/docker-osx
$ docker-osx shell

Docker has guides for Ubuntu and other platforms in their documentation.

Next, install Fig:

$ sudo pip install -U fig

(This command also upgrades Fig when we release a new version. If you don’t have pip installed, try brew install python or apt-get install python-pip.)

You'll want to make a directory for the project:

$ mkdir figtest
$ cd figtest

Inside this directory, create, a simple web app that uses the Flask framework and increments a value in Redis:

from flask import Flask
from redis import Redis
import os
app = Flask(__name__)
redis = Redis(

def hello():
    return 'Hello World! I have been seen %s times.' % redis.get('hits')

if __name__ == "__main__":"", debug=True)

We define our Python dependencies in a file called requirements.txt:


And we define how to build this into a Docker image using a file called Dockerfile:

FROM stackbrew/ubuntu:13.10
RUN apt-get -qq update
RUN apt-get install -y python python-pip
ADD . /code
RUN pip install -r requirements.txt
CMD python

That tells Docker to create an image with Python and Flask installed on it, run the command python, and open port 5000 (the port that Flask listens on).

We then define a set of services using fig.yml:

  build: .
   - 5000:5000
   - .:/code
   - redis
  image: orchardup/redis

This defines two services:

  • web, which is built from Dockerfile in the current directory. It also says to forward the exposed port 5000 on the container to port 5000 on the host machine, connect up the Redis service, and mount the current directory inside the container so we can work on code without having to rebuild the image.
  • redis, which uses the public image orchardup/redis.

Now if we run fig up, it'll pull a Redis image, build an image for our own code, and start everything up:

$ fig up
Pulling image orchardup/redis...
Building web...
Starting figtest_redis_1...
Starting figtest_web_1...
figtest_redis_1 | [8] 02 Jan 18:43:35.576 # Server started, Redis version 2.8.3
figtest_web_1 |  * Running on

Open up http://localhost:5000 in your browser (or http://localdocker:5000 if you're using docker-osx) and you should see it running!

If you want to run your services in the background, you can pass the -d flag to fig up and use fig ps to see what is currently running:

$ fig up -d
Starting figtest_redis_1...
Starting figtest_web_1...
$ fig ps
        Name                 Command            State       Ports
figtest_redis_1   /usr/local/bin/run         Up
figtest_web_1     /bin/sh -c python   Up      5000->5000/tcp

fig run allows you to run one-off commands for your services. For example, to see what environment variables are available to the web service:

$ fig run web env

See fig --help other commands that are available.

If you started Fig with fig up -d, you'll probably want to stop your services once you've finished with them:

$ fig stop

That's more-or-less how Fig works. See the reference section below for full details on the commands, configuration file and environment variables. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, open an issue on GitHub or email us.



Each service defined in fig.yml must specify exactly one of image or build. Other keys are optional, and are analogous to their docker run command-line counterparts.

As with docker run, options specified in the Dockerfile (e.g. CMD, EXPOSE, VOLUME, ENV) are respected by default - you don't need to specify them again in fig.yml.

-- Tag or partial image ID. Can be local or remote - Fig will attempt to pull if it doesn't exist locally.
image: ubuntu
image: orchardup/postgresql
image: a4bc65fd

-- Path to a directory containing a Dockerfile. Fig will build and tag it with a generated name, and use that image thereafter.
build: /path/to/build/dir

-- Override the default command.
command: bundle exec thin -p 3000

-- Link to containers in another service (see "Communicating between containers").
 - db
 - redis

-- Expose ports. Either specify both ports (HOST:CONTAINER), or just the container port (a random host port will be chosen).
 - 3000
 - 8000:8000

-- Map volumes from the host machine (HOST:CONTAINER).
 - cache/:/tmp/cache

-- Add environment variables.
  RACK_ENV: development


Most commands are run against one or more services. If the service is omitted, it will apply to all services.

Run fig [COMMAND] --help for full usage.


Build or rebuild services.

Services are built once and then tagged as project_service, e.g. figtest_db. If you change a service's Dockerfile or the contents of its build directory, you can run fig build to rebuild it.


Get help on a command.


Force stop service containers.


View output from services.


List containers.


Remove stopped service containers.


Run a one-off command on a service.

For example:

$ fig run web python shell

Note that this will not start any services that the command's service links to. So if, for example, your one-off command talks to your database, you will need to run fig up -d db first.


Set number of containers to run for a service.

Numbers are specified in the form service=num as arguments. For example:

$ fig scale web=2 worker=3


Start existing containers for a service.


Stop running containers without removing them. They can be started again with fig start.


Build, (re)create, start and attach to containers for a service.

By default, fig up will aggregate the output of each container, and when it exits, all containers will be stopped. If you run fig up -d, it'll start the containers in the background and leave them running.

If there are existing containers for a service, fig up will stop and recreate them (preserving mounted volumes with volumes-from), so that changes in fig.yml are picked up.

Environment variables

Fig uses Docker links to expose services' containers to one another. Each linked container injects a set of environment variables, each of which begins with the uppercase name of the container.

Full URL, e.g. MYAPP_DB_1_PORT=tcp://

Full URL, e.g. MYAPP_DB_1_PORT_5432_TCP=tcp://

Container's IP address, e.g. MYAPP_DB_1_PORT_5432_TCP_ADDR=

Exposed port number, e.g. MYAPP_DB_1_PORT_5432_TCP_PORT=5432

Protocol (tcp or udp), e.g. MYAPP_DB_1_PORT_5432_TCP_PROTO=tcp

Fully qualified container name, e.g. MYAPP_DB_1_NAME=/myapp_web_1/myapp_db_1

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