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How to Use Docker for Java Development

Despite the fact that Java is one of the most popular programming languages in the world, creating complex projects is no easy task for any Java developer. When working on such projects, Java developers may utilize many technologies and tools at the same time which results in setting up multiple environments being time-consuming and slowing down the project development. That is where Docker comes into play.

Today, many organizations use Docker, and container-based technologies are becoming even more widespread. For instance, AT&T, Netflix, Spotify, Pipedrive, PayPal, and other companies use Docker in their tech stacks.

In this article, we will explain how Docker can be used to improve Java app development.

What Is Docker?

Developers strive to keep applications isolated so they don’t interfere with each other’s operation or maintenance. This can be difficult, especially because they have to use packages, libraries, and other software components.

Docker allows developers to package, deploy, and run apps by using containers. Containers allow for densely packaging up an application with all of the parts it needs, such as libraries and other dependencies, and deploying it as one package. Containers provide a highly efficient and highly granular mechanism for combining app components and for keeping them updated and maintained.

However, containers are just one component of a complex Docker architecture. The Docker architecture consists of many parts, such as the Docker Client, Host, Registry, and also Network and Storage components:

Docker architecture

  • The Client allows developers to work with Docker.
  • The Host gains developers an environment that allows them to run software.
  • The Registry provides software engineers with locations that they can use for image downloading and storing.
  • Networking allows developers to attach containers to Docker networks.
  • Storage allows developers to store Docker images and other data.

When using Docker and its components, software engineers can consistently and easily deploy container-based apps, regardless of their environment, be it a developer’s personal computer, public cloud, or a private data center. In this case, developers can provide deployment and management of app components without caring about such nuances as specific configurations and software versions of an app and focus on the app logic. Thus, containerization helps simplify the work of development teams and make the software development process faster and more efficient.

Another point, virtualization based on containers is more lightweight than on virtual machines. It also allows developers to work quickly as it doesn’t need specific hardware support.

docker architecture

Now let’s discuss how Docker can be used for Java software development.

Docker for Java Development

Docker can be used by developers to improve several components of the Java development process at the same time.

Development

Docker containers help to ensure continuous delivery and integration workflows and build a cost-effective and flexible cloud architecture.

Setting up an individual development environment may be time-consuming if several toolsets or development environments are required across multiple locations or teams. By using Docker containers, developers can create standardized environments that are consistent no matter where they are run.

Also, if developers create a Maven or Java-based project without Docker, they have to install Maven and Java Development Kit on their host machines. By using Docker Hub, developers can easily get Maven images to create, test, and run apps.

Teams can quickly obtain the matching Docker image for any version of Java and Maven if the development process requires the usage of different versions of Maven or Java.

QA and Testing

Java app testing may be complicated because it may require different versions of Java, databases, and frameworks. In this case, developers can utilize many representative test environments much easier by using the opportunity to spin up multiple containers based on specific custom Docker images.

For instance, engineers can run their Java applications in several containers to test them in different Java versions.

Also, developers can fix errors or bugs in the development environment and then redeploy the data to the test environment for validation and testing. Such an approach can make the testing process much faster and easier.

Packaging and Deployment

By using Docker, Java developers can make the deployment process much simpler. For instance, Java applications can easily run on the target server if they run in a local environment using a Docker container.

The thing is that by packaging an app in a container, developers ensure that it will always work on another machine or locally, both in test and development environments. Thus developers don’t have to install the same configurations for different environments.

Due to its lightweight and portable nature, Docker makes it easier to dynamically manage and adapt workloads, which helps to scale down or scale up Java applications if business requirements change.

All these things make Docker a great option for small and medium deployments and high-density development environments, as well as for cases when the client wants to do more with limited resources.

If you want to know if Docker is suitable for the development of your Java-based project, please feel free to contact us. Our experts will provide you with a free consultation and tell whether you can efficiently use Docker for your project.

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