Running the engine in a Docker container

For local development and testing, you can run the engine in a Docker container.

The steps are:

  1. Bundle the engine and its dependencies.

  2. Build a Docker image.

  3. Create a Docker container.

About Docker

To get a high-level overview of Docker, please read Understand the architecture. Optional reading includes reference guides for docker run and Dockerfile.


For Googlers running Goobuntu wanting to install Docker, see go/installdocker. For other contributors using Ubuntu, see official Docker installation instructions.

Bundle Engine

The blimp/engine:blimp_engine_bundle build target will bundle the engine and its dependencies into a tarfile, which can be used to build a Docker image. This target is always built as part of the top-level blimp/blimp meta-target.

Update Engine Dependencies

blimp/engine/engine-manifest.txt is a list of the engine's runtime dependencies. From time to time, this list may need to be updated. Use blimp/tools/ to (re)generate the manifest:

./blimp/tools/ \
    --build-dir out-linux/Debug \
    --target //blimp/engine \
    --output blimp/engine/engine-manifest.txt

Be sure to review the generated manifest and remove any false runtime dependencies.

Build Docker Image

Using the tarfile you can create a Docker image:

docker build -t blimp_engine - < ./out-linux/Debug/blimp_engine_bundle.tar.gz

Running the Engine in a Docker Container

After building the Docker image you can launch the engine inside the Docker container.

Setting up an Environment

A little prep work is necessary to enable the engine to start as it requires a few files that are not provided by the container. You need:

  • A directory ($CONFIG_DIR) with permissions of 0755 (ie. world accessable)
  • $CONFIG_DIR/stunnel.pem: A PEM encoded file with a private key and a public certificate. Permissions should be set to 644.
  • $CONFIG_DIR/client_token: A file with a non-empty string used as the client token (the shared secret between the client and the engine). Permissions should also be set to 644. See running for how to get the default token from the source code.

This setup step is only required once and can be reused for all the rest of the runs of the engine.

Running the Engine

Once the $CONFIG_DIR is set up, you can launch the engine in the Docker container:

docker run -v $CONFIG_DIR:/engine/data -p 443:25466 blimp_engine

You can also pass additional flags:

docker run ... blimp_engine --with-my-flags

See the blimp engine Dockerfile to find out what flags are passed by default.