Drupal GitPod Container 1: .Dockerfile

GitPod is a great tool for cloud-based containers when developing. If you’re developing and want a safe and efficient cloud container to try things out, it’s a pretty good way to go. You even get 50 hours per month for free, which is pretty great if you only need occasional side project and not full-time work. It also works with Visual Studio Code – although that has not been working for me lately – so you can use it in the browser or in your desktop editor. When you browse to a or repository with the extension installed, there’s a simple button that will launch the container with that repository’s code, making it quick and easy to see how it works as well as make changes.

In this mini-series I describe how I created a generic Drupal-friendly container working with GitPod. It is available in my GitHub. Note that since is some code I may continue using over time, the code there may change beyond what is covered in this article.

The Dockerfile

This solution starts from the GitPod-provided MySQL image. That does not give everything you need for a functioning Drupal site, but it does meet the basics of a LAMP stack.

FROM gitpod/workspace-mysql

The biggest catch with using this image is that you might end up with the latest version, and there’s a good chance that your Drupal site doesn’t support that yet. So you probably want to add a section to change the PHP to one that you know currently works:

RUN update-alternatives --set php /usr/bin/php8.0

That doesn’t cover everything, though. There are a few more things I want for every Drupal 9+ site.

PHP packages

Here’s how to add PHP packages needed within an Ubuntu Dockerfile, as well as APCU and uploadprogress which are also recommended by Drupal. I wrote recently about installing PECL UploadProgress for Oracle Linux, which is similar but a bit different than these Ubuntu commands.

USER root
# Install other needed packages
RUN apt update
RUN apt install -y php-pear php-apcu php-json php-xdebug build-essential mysql-client sendmail
RUN pecl install apcu
RUN pecl install uploadprogress


Drupal can work without composer, but your life is going to be a lot easier with it. Here’s how I added that to my Dockerfile:

# Install latest composer
RUN php -r "copy('https://getcomposer.org/installer', 'composer-setup.php');"
RUN php -r "if (hash_file('sha384', 'composer-setup.php') === '906a84df04cea2aa72f40b5f787e49f22d4c2f19492ac310e8cba5b96ac8b64115ac402c8cd292b8a03482574915d1a8') { echo 'Installer verified'; } else { echo 'Installer corrupt'; unlink('composer-setup.php'); } echo PHP_EOL;"
RUN php composer-setup.php --install-dir /usr/bin --filename composer
RUN php -r "unlink('composer-setup.php');"

At this point, the server is ready to provide the core packages that run Drupal well.

Pa11y accessibility testing

I’ve also mentioned pa11y recently, the accessibility testing tool. I always want that available. Here’s how to do that in this Ubuntu-based Dockerfile:

# Install pa11y accessibility testing tool, including NodeJS
RUN curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_16.x -o # Install pa11y accessibility testing tool, including NodeJS and Chromium
RUN curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_16.x -o nodesource_setup.sh
RUN bash nodesource_setup.sh
RUN apt-get install -y nodejs libnss3 libatk1.0-0 libatk-bridge2.0-0 libcups2 libdrm-amdgpu1 libxkbcommon-x11-0 libxcomposite-dev libxdamage-dev libxrandr-dev libgbm-dev libgtk-3-common libxshmfence-dev software-properties-common
RUN apt-get install -y apparmor snapd apparmor-profiles-extra apparmor-utils kdialog chromium-browser libappindicator1 fonts-liberation
RUN npm install pa11y -g --unsafe-perm=true --allow-root


Finally, I’m going to open the standard ports: 80 (HTTP), 443 (HTTPS), and 3306 (). This doesn’t seem to be actually necessary but it can help to remind yourself what ports you’re using.


What’s Next

In an upcoming post, I’ll continue with the other large file to make this work: the .gitpod.yml. A third post will cover a few smaller changes I had to make to other configuration.

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