Building and Orchestrating Containers with Docker Compose

Walter Code
3 min readMar 14, 2023


If you’re a mid to senior-level software engineer, chances are you’re already familiar with Docker, a popular containerization platform that allows developers to package their applications and dependencies into containers. But have you heard of Docker Compose?

At our most recent internal workshop, we covered the topic of Docker Compose and saw for ourselves the benefits it brings. Now you can, too!

Introducing Docker Compose

Docker Compose is a tool for defining and running multi-container Docker applications. It provides a simple way to manage multiple containers and their dependencies, enabling developers to create and run complex applications with ease.

With Docker Compose, you can define your application’s containers and their configurations in a single YAML file, rather than needing to build and run each container separately. This makes it easier to manage complex applications and ensures that all containers are built and run with the correct configuration.

Benefits of Docker Compose

Docker Compose simplifies the process of building and orchestrating containers in several ways, compared to the alternative of manually building and connecting containers. Here are some of the benefits:

Simplified Container Management

One of the primary advantages of Docker Compose is that it provides a simple way to manage multiple containers. Rather than needing to build and run each container separately, Docker Compose allows you to define all of the containers needed for your application in a single configuration file. This makes it easy to manage complex applications and ensures that all containers are built and run with the correct configuration.

Handling Dependencies

When working with multiple containers, it’s important to ensure that dependencies are handled correctly. Docker Compose automatically handles dependencies between containers, ensuring that containers are started in the correct order and that they can communicate with each other.

Streamlined Deployment

Docker Compose makes it easy to deploy your application, with a single command to create and start all the services from your configuration. This streamlines the deployment process and ensures that all containers are started with the correct configuration and dependencies.

Practical Demonstration

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of Docker Compose, let’s take a look at a practical demonstration of using Docker Compose to build and orchestrate containers.

In this demonstration, we’ll build a simple multi-container application with Docker Compose. Our application will consist of a Node.js API that connects to a PostgreSQL database.

Here’s what our Docker Compose configuration file looks like:

This configuration file defines two services: API and Postgres. The API service is built from a Dockerfile in the node-app directory and exposes port 3000. The Postgres service uses the latest version of the PostgreSQL image and sets a password for the database.

To build and start our application, we simply need to run the following commands:

docker-compose build

docker-compose up

This will build the images and start the containers for our application. We can then access our API by visiting http://localhost:3000.

And that’s it! With Docker Compose, building and orchestrating containers is a breeze. Whether you’re working on a small or large-scale project, Docker Compose simplifies the deployment process and makes managing dependencies and networking between containers easy.

Give it a try and see how it can streamline your containerization workflow. Happy coding!

#WalterCode #breakingboundaries #DockerCompose