1 minute read

Summary: Use the power of a makefile to reduce the load of typing big commands for docker interaction through docker cli.


When I work with docker commands, I don’t remember all available syntax that I am going to use for day to day operations with docker cli, such as create image , run image etc.. .

As an example, let us say I have a defined this nginx docker file and my docker build command will be something like this:

docker build --file $(PWD)/Dockerfile --tag nginx:1.23.1-alpine_$(ENV) --build-arg env=$(ENV) .

Now, every time I want to build my docker image, I will have to run this big docker command.

So why should I waste my time, if I can simply type make build and it will build my docker image.

This is where make will be used.

What is Make?

According to this documentation

Make is a tool which controls the generation of executables and other non-source files of a program from the program’s source files.


I will create a file called makefile. This file is a collection of targets. Each target contains a collection of commands that it will execute one after the another.

My target will look something like this:


In the case of above given docker build example, I will define my target as

	-@docker build --file $(PWD)/Dockerfile --tag nginx:1.23.1-alpine_$(ENV) --build-arg env=$(ENV) .

I can now call make build and it will execute the above big command for me.

Please have a look at a sample makefile you will find many commands that I have created to work with my nginx docker image.

make help output

Now this is the power of using make!

I can now build an image, run, check the status of my nginx container and status of my nginx configuration, with this single command:

make build start status testconfig

final result


You have just replaced 4 big docker commands two 4 words.😆

You can find my nginx sample code here