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Local development environment toolset based on Docker


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dde (Docker based Development Environment)

Local development environment toolset based on Docker supporting multiple projects.

Features include:

  • Simplified Docker web application development
  • Installation of system wide services:
    • *.test domain lookup based on dnsmasq
    • Reverse Proxy based on jwilder/nginx-proxy to run multiple projects on same port (80/443) with autoconfigured SSL certificates
    • MariaDB (MySQL alternative)
    • MailCrab (SMTP testing server)
    • ssh-agent used for sharing your SSH key without adding it to your project Docker containers.
  • Choose you preferred file sharing

Note: dde is currently under heavy development and we don't offer any backward compatibility. However we use it at whatwedo on daily bases and it's safe to use it in your development environment.





cd ~
git clone
~/dde/ system:dde:install
~/dde/ system:up

system:dde:install modifies your .profile files based on your shell:

  • autocompletion
  • aliases

dde can now be used in a new shell, enjoy!


# if you're using bash
echo "alias dde='~/dde/'" >> ~/.bash_profile

# if you're using zsh
echo "alias dde='~/dde/'" >> ~/.zshrc


add eval $(~/dde/ --autocomplete) to ~/.zshrc or ~/.bash_profile

Additional OS specific installation steps


Forward requests for .test-domains to the local DNS resolver:

sudo mkdir -p /etc/resolver
echo -e "nameserver" | sudo tee /etc/resolver/test

Trust the newly generated Root-CA for the self-signed certificates

sudo security add-trusted-cert -d -r trustRoot -k /Library/Keychains/System.keychain ~/dde/data/reverseproxy/etc/nginx/certs/ca.pem

To ensure DNS functionality in Docker on macOS X:

In the Docker GUI: Go to "Settings" → "Resources" → "Network", then turn off "Use kernel networking for UDP". In the configuration file: Set kernelForUDP to false in ~/Library/Group Containers/


Set your DNS to with fallbacks of your choice.

Trust the newly generated Root-CA found here:

  1. Convert PEM to CRT and Add Globally:

    openssl x509 -outform der -in ~/dde/data/reverseproxy/etc/nginx/certs/ca.pem -out ~/dde/data/reverseproxy/etc/nginx/certs/ca.crt
    sudo cp ~/dde/data/reverseproxy/etc/nginx/certs/ca.crt /usr/local/share/ca-certificates/
    sudo update-ca-certificates

Windows (WSL 2)

Set your DNS to with fallbacks of your choice.

  1. In WSL-Terminal, adjust the file /etc/wsl.conf to
generateResolvConf = false
  1. Remove the file / link resolv.conf and close the WSL-Terminal

  2. To restart WSL, run in powershell (admin):

wsl --shutdown
Get-Service LxssManager | Restart-Service
  1. Open a WSL-Terminal and create a file /etc/resolv.conf with the following content:
  1. Restart WSL again (step #3)


File-sync can be done by mutagen, docker-sync or by native docker volumes.


put the mutagen.yml file in the project root directory see mutagen-example.

In the docker-compose.yml the volume is not exposed.


put the docker-sync.yml file in the project root directory see docker-sync-example.

In the docker-compose.yml the volume is not exposed.

native Docker

define in your docker-compose.yml or docker-compose.override.yml the exposed volumes.

override the sync Settings

If you have project where the file-sync done by mutagen or docker-sync. you are able to override the setting in a docker-compose.override.yml file.

copy sample docker-compose.override.yml:

$ dde project:docker-override

this command copies docker-compose.override.yml to your project directory.

edit the file. With the custom-tag x-dde-sync you can now choose you preferred syncing mode.

valid values are docker-sync, mutagen or volume

if you use volume you must expose the volume in the docker-compose.override.yml file.

Tip and Tricks

Configuring a Custom Shell using .dde.yml

To configure a custom shell in whatwedo/dde using the .dde.yml configuration file, specify your preferred shell with the key. This setting instructs whatwedo/dde to use the specified shell within the container. For instance, to utilize zsh as the container shell, your configuration would appear as follows:

version: "1"

  shell: zsh

And in your docker-compose.yml file, add the corresponding environment variable:


This ensures that the custom shell setting is effectively utilized within the container.

To specify a default shell in the Dockerfile, include the ARG directive for customization. For example:


Configuring DNS Forwarding in DDE

The environment variables DDE_DNS_FORWARD_1 and DDE_DNS_FORWARD_2 allow for setting custom DNS servers in the Docker Development Environment (DDE). This is useful when local Internet DNS servers are to be used.


  1. Set DDE_DNS_FORWARD_1 and DDE_DNS_FORWARD_2 to the IP addresses of your preferred DNS servers.


    export DDE_DNS_FORWARD_1=
    export DDE_DNS_FORWARD_2=

Adding DDE_DNS_FORWARD_1 and DDE_DNS_FORWARD_2 to bashrc

For a more permanent solution, you can add the DDE_DNS_FORWARD_1 and DDE_DNS_FORWARD_2 variables to your bashrc file. This ensures that these variables are automatically set every time a new shell session is started.

To do this, append the export commands to your ~/.bashrc file:

  1. Open your ~/.bashrc file in a text editor, for example, you can use nano:

    nano ~/.bashrc

Add the following lines at the end of the file:

export DDE_DNS_FORWARD_1=<Your_First_DNS_IP_Address>
export DDE_DNS_FORWARD_2=<Your_Second_DNS_IP_Address>

Replace <Your_First_DNS_IP_Address> and <Your_Second_DNS_IP_Address> with the IP addresses of your preferred DNS servers.

Save and close the file.

To apply the changes immediately, source your ~/.bashrc file:

source ~/.bashrc

Now, DDE_DNS_FORWARD_1 and DDE_DNS_FORWARD_2 will be set automatically in each new shell session.

Fix Permission

Services such as nginx in Docker containers normally runs with the root user. With the dde exec command you login into the container with the user dde. If services writes files, ex. var/cache, root is the owner. On the host files also the root is the owner. In this case you normally not able to delete or change the files created by the services.

the command project:fix-permissions resolve this issue by chown dde:dde in the container and chown {yourLocalUser}:{yourLocalGroup} in the local host.


Add OPEN_URL in the environment array of your docker-compose.yml.

On the project:up or project:open command the website(s) will be opened in your standard browser.

            - VIRTUAL_HOST=cloud.project.test
            - OPEN_URL=http://cloud.project.test/
            - VIRTUAL_HOST=minio.project.test
            - OPEN_URL=http://minio.project.test:9000/

Set the environment variable DDE_BROWSER if you what to start a specific browser.



Additional Services

If you need additional central Services. eg. PostgresSQL just add then in docker-compose.override.yml in the dde-directory.

Available Services


$ dde help

Project configuration

Due to the early stage of this project there is no full documentation available. We created a example project with all required and optional configuration. Please checkout the example directory.

Including custom command

you can include custom commands by adding them in the commands/local/ directory. Custom commands must be prefixed with the local: namespace.

Anatomy of a command


## inline help for local:my_command
# more help for the command
# this will be displayed with the --help argument on the command
# e.g dde local:command --help

function local:my_command() {
    echo 'execute local:my_command'
    _localCommand_someInternalFunction arg1

function _localCommand_someInternalFunction() {
    echo "do something with ${1}"
  • script must be located in the command directory
  • Help text for the commands
    • : will be replaced by / for locating the help script
    • the first line beginning with ## is the help text displayed be the help command
    • all following lines beginning with # will displayed in the command help
  • you can add as many functions as you want in the script
  • to avoid conflicts prefix internal functions
  • functions and can also be defined in the command/ file
  • the command/ file is the last loaded source, so you are able to overwrite system variables and functions there


function _local_someGlobalHelperFunction() {
    echo "a global helper function"

# overwrite a variable

# overwrite a function/command
function project:env() {
    echo "my custom project env"

Known solutions

  • failed to remove network dde
    If you get this error it means your project docker-compose.yml is wrongly configured. Be sure to mark the dde network as external, like in our examples:
        name: "dde"
        external: true # <-- important

Known problems

  • Files of filesystem mapped with docker-sync will get group id 0.

Bugs and Issues

If you have any problems with this image, feel free to open a new issue in our issue tracker


This project is under the MIT license. See the complete license in the repository: LICENSE