Applications are built to run in a specific environment. Something I’ve seen
too often is a new developer cloning a project to find that it doesn’t run on the
Node version she has installed. While this is trivial to handle sometimes the
problems run much deeper.
We’re not building in isolation and the larger the team the greater the impact
of our different development environments. It’s easy for a single developer to
keep track of everything that’s going on on their machine. It takes a lot of
effort as the number of people grows.
We want our application to have a list of requirements and the ability to run it
with a single command. Containerizing checks both boxes.
We can run our app in a Docker container to make sure that everyone is
working in the same isolated environment. Developers won’t be wasting their
time fighting obscure build problems.
Docker can be a bit daunting at first but you don’t need to become proficient
with it to use it. You can find a good preconfigured Dockerfile that works with
React applications with a simple Google search.It makes it easier to run multiple applications at once. If you’re writing the
front-end for an application made up of multiple services you can run them all
with a few commands. A few years ago I was working on a React application
for a system that was made of a few Spring Boot microservices. I had little
knowledge of how to work with them but being able to spin them up locally
made my life a lot easier.
Something you need to be careful when using Dockerfiles is server-side
rendering. If you’re making a server-side request to another container it may
not resolve. Due to how Docker’s networking works if you need to send a
request to another container you need to reference it by its name. Specifying
localhost and a port won’t work.
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