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Multi-Module Maven Build / Deploy codecov Maven Central Docker Image Version (latest semver)

Dockerfile Image Updater

This tool provides a mechanism to make security updates to docker images at scale. The tool searches github for declared docker images and sends pull requests to projects that are not using the desired version of the requested docker image.

Docker builds images using a declared Dockerfile. Within the Dockerfile, there is a FROM declaration that specifies the base image and a tag that will be used as the starting layers for the new image. If the base image that FROM depends on is rebuilt, the Docker images that depend on it will never be updated with the newer layers. This becomes a major problem if the reason the base image was updated was to fix a security vulnerability. All Docker images are often based on operating system libraries and these get patched for security updates quite frequently. This tool, the Dockerfile Image Updater was created to automatically make sure that child images are updated when the images they depend on get updated.

Table of contents

User Guide

What it does

The tool has three modes

  1. all - Reads store that declares the docker images and versions that you intend others to use.


    export git_api_url=
    export git_api_token=my_github_token
    docker run --rm -e git_api_token -e git_api_url \
      salesforce/dockerfile-image-update all image-to-tag-store
  2. parent - Searches github for images that use a specified image name and sends pull requests if the image tag doesn't match intended tag. The intended image with tag is passed in the command line parameters. The intended image-to-tag mapping is persisted in a store in a specified git repository under the token owner.


    export git_api_url=
    export git_api_token=my_github_token
    docker run --rm -e git_api_token -e git_api_url \
      salesforce/dockerfile-image-update parent my_org/my_image v1.0.1 \
  3. child - Given a specific git repo, sends a pull request to update the image to a given version. You can optionally persist the image version combination in the image-to-tag store.


    export git_api_url=
    export git_api_token=my_github_token
    docker run --rm -e git_api_token -e git_api_url \
      salesforce/dockerfile-image-update child my_gh_org/my_gh_repo \
      my_image_name v1.0.1


In environment variables, please provide:

  • git_api_token : This is your GitHub token to your account. Set these privileges by: going to your GitHub account --> settings --> Personal access tokens --> check repo and delete_repo.
  • git_api_url : This is the Endpoint URL of the GitHub API. In general GitHub, this is; for Enterprise, this should be https://hostname/api/v3. (this variable is optional; you can provide it through the command line.)


  1. This tool may create a LOT of forks in your account. All pull requests created are through a fork on your own account.
  2. We currently do not operate on forked repositories due to limitations in forking a fork on GitHub. We should invest some time in doing this right. See issue #21
  3. Submodules are separate repositories and get their own pull requests.

How to use it

Our recommendation is to run it as a docker container:

export git_api_url=
export git_api_token=my_github_token
docker run --rm -e git_api_token -e git_api_url \
  salesforce/dockerfile-image-update <COMMAND> <PARAMETERS>
usage: dockerfile-image-update [-h] [-l GHAPISEARCHLIMIT] [-o ORG] [-b BRANCH] [-g GHAPI] [-f] [-m M] [-c C] [-e EXCLUDES] [-B B] [-s {true,false}] [-x X] COMMAND ...

Image Updates through Pull Request Automator

named arguments:
  -h, --help             show this help message and exit
                         limit the search results for github api (default: 1000)
  -o ORG, --org ORG      search within specific organization (default: all of github)
  -b BRANCH, --branch BRANCH
                         make pull requests for given branch name (default: main)
  -g GHAPI, --ghapi GHAPI
                         link to github api; overrides environment variable
  -f, --auto-merge       NOT IMPLEMENTED / set to automatically merge pull requests if available
  -m M                   message to provide for pull requests
  -c C                   additional commit message for the commits in pull requests
  -e EXCLUDES, --excludes EXCLUDES
                         regex of repository names to exclude from pull request generation
  -B B                   additional body text to include in pull requests
  -s {true,false}, --skipprcreation {true,false}
                         Only update image tag store. Skip creating PRs
  -x X                   comment snippet mentioned in line just before FROM instruction for ignoring a child image. Defaults to 'no-dfiu'
  -r, --rate_limit_pr_creations 
                         Enable rateLimiting for throttling the number of PRs DFIU will cut over a period of time. 
                         The argument value should be in format "<positive_integer>-<ISO-8601_formatted_time>". For example "--rate_limit_pr_creations 60-PT1H" to create 60 PRs per hour.
                         Default is not set, this means no ratelimiting is imposed.
  Specify which feature to perform

  COMMAND                FEATURE
    parent               updates all repositories' Dockerfiles with given base image
    all                  updates all repositories' Dockerfiles
    child                updates one specific repository with given tag

The all command

Specify an image-to-tag store (a repository name on GitHub that contains a file called store.json); looks through the JSON file and checks/updates all the base images in GitHub to the tag in the store.

usage: dockerfile-image-update all [-h] <IMG_TAG_STORE>

positional arguments:

optional arguments:
  -h, --help             show this help message and exit

The child command

Forcefully updates a repository's Dockerfile(s) to given tag. If specified a store, it will also forcefully update the store.

usage: dockerfile-image-update child [-h] [-s <IMG_TAG_STORE>] <GIT_REPO> <IMG> <FORCE_TAG>

positional arguments:
  <GIT_REPO>             REQUIRED
  <IMG>                  REQUIRED
  <FORCE_TAG>            REQUIRED

optional arguments:
  -h, --help             show this help message and exit

The parent command

Given an image, tag, and store, it will create pull requests for any Dockerfiles that has the image as a base image and an outdated tag. It also updates the store.

usage: dockerfile-image-update parent [-h] <IMG> <TAG> <IMG_TAG_STORE>

positional arguments:
  <IMG>                  REQUIRED
  <TAG>                  REQUIRED

optional arguments:
  -h, --help             show this help message and exit

Skip An Image

In case you want the tool to skip updating a particular image tag then add a comment no-dfiu after the FROM declaration in the Dockerfile. The tool will process the comment following FROM declaration and if no-dfiu is mentioned, pull request for that image tag will be ignored. You can use an alternate comment string by passing an additional command line parameter -x IGNORE_IMAGE_STRING. In that case string mentioned with the parameter, will be used for skipping PR creation.


FROM imagename:imagetag # no-dfiu

PR throttling

In case you want to throttle the number of PRs cut by DFIU over a period of time, set --rate_limit_pr_creations with appropriate value.

Default case:

By default, this feature is disabled. This will be enabled when argument --rate_limit_pr_creations will be passed with appropriate value.

example: dockerfile-image-update all image-tag-store-repo-falcon //throttling will be disabled by default
Configuring the rate limit:

Below are some examples that will throttle the number of PRs cut based on values passed to the argument --rate_limit_pr_creations The argument value should be in format <positive_integer>-<ISO-8601_formatted_time>. For example --rate_limit_pr_creations 60-PT1H would mean the tool will cut 60 PRs every hour and the rate of adding a new PR will be (PT1H/60) i.e. one minute. This will distribute the load uniformly and avoid sudden spikes, The process will go in waiting state until next PR could be sent.

Below are some more examples:

    dockerfile-image-update --rate_limit_pr_creations 60-PT1H all image-tag-store-repo-falcon //DFIU can send up to 60 PRs per hour.
    dockerfile-image-update --rate_limit_pr_creations 500-PT1H all image-tag-store-repo-falcon //DFIU can send up to 500 PRs per hour.
    dockerfile-image-update --rate_limit_pr_creations 86400-PT24H all image-tag-store-repo-falcon //DFIU can send up to 1 PRs per second.
    dockerfile-image-update --rate_limit_pr_creations 1-PT1S all image-tag-store-repo-falcon //Same as above. DFIU can send up to 1 PRs per second.
    dockerfile-image-update --rate_limit_pr_creations 5000 all image-tag-store-repo-falcon //rate limiting will be disabled because argument is not in correct format.

Developer Guide


git clone
cd dockerfile-image-update
mvn clean install

Running locally

cd dockerfile-image-update/target
java -jar dockerfile-image-update-1.0-SNAPSHOT.jar <COMMAND> <PARAMETERS>

Creating a new feature

Under dockerfile-image-update/src/main/java/com/salesforce/dva/dockerfileimageupdate/subcommands/impl, create a new class Make sure it implements ExecutableWithNamespace and has the SubCommand annotation with a help, requiredParams, and optionalParams. Then, under the execute method, code what you want this tool to do.

Running unit tests

Run unit tests by running mvn test.

Running integration tests

Before you run the integration tests (locally):

  1. Make sure that you have access to the github orgs specified in TestCommon.ORGS. You likely will need to change it to three orgs where you have permissions to create repositories.

  2. Make sure you have git_api_url= in /dockerfile-image-update-itest/itest.env, or set it to your internal GitHub Enterprise.

  3. Make sure you have a secret file which contains the git_api_token. The token needs to have delete_repo, repo permissions. You can generate your token by going to personal access tokens in GitHub. Once you have your token place it in a file:

    echo git_api_token=[copy personal access token here] > ${HOME}/.dfiu-itest-token
  4. Export the following environment variable to point to the file:

    export user_itest_secrets_file_secret=${HOME}/.dfiu-itest-token
  5. Run integration tests by running

    make integration-test

Release Process

We currently use GitHub Actions and Releases. In order to collect dependency updates from dependabot and any other minor changes, we've switched to a process to manually trigger the release process. For now, that looks like the following:

1. Versioned Git Tag

  • Decide what version you desire to have. If you want to bump the major or minor version then you need to bump the MVN_SNAPSHOT_VERSION in the Makefile and in the Dockerfile before proceeding to the next steps. For example MVN_SNAPSHOT_VERSION=1.0-SNAPSHOT to MVN_SNAPSHOT_VERSION=2.0-SNAPSHOT.
  • After PRs have been merged to the primary branch, go to the Actions tab and trigger the Release new version Workflow. This will build, integration test, deploy the latest version to Docker Hub and Maven Central, and tag that commit hash with the next semantic version.

2. Cut Release with Release Notes

  • PRs continually get updated with labels by Pull Request Labeler and that helps set us up for nice release notes by Release Drafter.
  • Once that release has been tagged you can go to the draft release which is continually updated by Release Drafter and select the latest tag to associate with that release. Change the version to reflect the same version as the tag (1.0.${NEW_VERSION}). Take a look at the release notes to make sure that PRs are categorized correctly. The categorization is based on the labels of the PRs. You can either fix the labels on the PRs, which will trigger the release drafter action, or simply modify the release notes before publishing. Ideally we'll automate this to run at the end of the triggered workflow with something like svu.

Checking Code Climate Locally

If you'd like to check Code Climate results locally you can run the following:

docker run --interactive --tty --rm \
 --env CODECLIMATE_CODE="$(pwd)" \
 --volume "$(pwd)":/code \
 --volume /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock \
 --volume /tmp/cc:/tmp/cc \
 codeclimate/codeclimate analyze

Blogs / Slides


A tool that helps you get security patches for Docker images into production as quickly as possible without breaking things




Code of conduct

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