I don’t remember how exactly I discovered Docker containers a bit over a year ago, but it seemed a very good system and I immediately saw the potential, then I thought that it would be very good tutorial material.
As I am now creating those tutorials “for biologists” I discover a lot of historical and factual information.
Here is a complete time-warped retrospective about container: A Brief History of Containers: From the 1970s to 2017 which baffled me as I had not realized that this was possible way back then.
Therefore Docker is only one of the possible software methods to achieve “containerization” as an alternative to the much heavier use of virtual machines. But it seems to be the most popular and widely used.
What is it?
In simple words it is a method to use a software that you don’t have on an operating system that you might now have!
Most biologists use Macintosh or Windows as a general every-day computer (if you use a Linux-based system good for you, and you may not even need to ready any of this!) However, containers are a Linux-based system and therefore Docker allows you to run a Linux software on your Mac/Windows computer without installing (GNU/)Linux.
Most docker images are Linux-based, but there is a new development of Windows-based containers, albeit a very small fraction at the moment.
The short descriptions from Docker is: Modern apps, beautifully contained.
Where to get it?
Docker is operated by Docker, Inc. but is free to casual users.
Users need to create a (free) log-in to be able to access the software.
Pre-made docker containers (images) can be downloaded from the Docker Hub.
How do I use it?
The Docker tutorials will be offered very soon, and the material will be online on this site at that time.
The target audience will be “biologists” at large as the examples will be more relevant to biologists, biochemists, bioinformaticians, etc.
Most tutorials that I could find have computer IT as the target audience, this is why I decided to create this series “for biologists.”
While large companies can launch 1000’s of containers, we’ll limit ourselves to one or two for specific applications.
A complete “docker for beginners” is available at docker-curriculum.com but the target audience more towards IT and web developers.