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A cross-application dependency stack to ease development
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A dockerized development stack for the Northwestern University Library Repository Development & Administration Team


$ git clone
$ cd devstack
# the next command might require sudo depending on your homebrew setup
$ bin/devstack link


The devstack command is a thin wrapper around docker-compose, and accepts all of the same subcommands, parameters, and arguments, with a few notable enhancements:

  • The update command will update the devstack command and configs in place.
  • docker-compose commands that accept service names as arguments can also accept application names (arch, avalon, donut, and/or glaze) that will be expanded to the list of services those applications depend on. For example, devstack up donut glaze will bring up all services required to run both DONUT and Glaze.

Cheat Sheet

  • devstack -t [rest-of-command] will run devstack in test mode. That means:
    • All services run on test ports instead of dev ports (e.g., solr on 8985 instead of 8983)
    • The COMPOSE_PROJECT_NAME will have _test appended (e.g., the default container names will be devstack_test_* instead of devstack_*)
    • The stack will clean itself up (delete all volumes and persistent data) when it spins down.
  • devstack up [-d] [SERVICE|APPLICATION...]: Bring up all requested services (default: all services). -d will run everything in the background.
  • devstack logs [-f] [SERVICE|APPLICATION...]: Show the container logs for the specified services (default: all running services). -f behaves the way it does for the tail command.
  • devstack down [-v]: Bring down the stack. Adding -v will destroy the stack's persistent data volumes as well, resulting in a clean slate on the next up.
  • devstack ps: View the current state of running containers
  • devstack update: Upgrade to the latest revision of devstack

Tips and Tricks

  • Setting the COMPOSE_PROJECT_NAME environment variable will change the prefix docker-compose uses when creating containers and volumes, allowing you to create a temporary stack without interfering with your main stack. This can be useful for one-off debugging.
  • It’s a good idea to run docker system prune once in a while to get rid of stopped containers, dangling images, and unused networks & volumes. If you run it while the stack is up, it won’t remove your current set of data volumes (because they'll be in use).

Known Issues

  • Application names will always expand to the list of their dependent services. So devstack up donut glaze followed by devstack stop glaze will stop all of Glaze's dependencies, even those DONUT might still need.
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