Tom Butler's programming blog

v.je - an Easy to set up development environment for Docker

Introduction

v.je is a small and very easy to use virtual server. If you're inexplicably still using XAMPP in 2021 or just want to run a server without doing any configuration yourself, this is a good starting point for using Docker.

It's designed for anyone who wants a quick and easy to set up web development server with a lot of flexibility. It's been built with portability and ease of use in mind. The server will run pages on the url https://v.je/ after it's been booted with the docker-compose up command and no further configuration.

The source code is available in this github repository: https://github.com/v-je/docker

Getting started

  1. Install Docker for your operating system (for Linux you can install docker and docker-compose through your distribution's package manager)
  2. Create a folder where your website is going to be stored
  3. Open a terminal at that location (Windows, have the folder open then click File -> Open Windows Powershell)
  4. Run docker run --rm -v ${PWD}:/install vjedev/installer:latest (this command downloads the configuration files used in the next step)
  5. Run docker-compose up -d (the command may take a few minutes to finish the first time you run it, subsequent runs will be quick)
  6. Navigate to https://v.je/ in your browser
  7. To make files visible on the server put them in the websites/default/public folder that was created.

Features

  1. All hosted websites use HTTPS with a valid SSL certificate from Let's Encrypt
  2. No configuration needed. Run docker-compose up and your website is hosted on https://v.je/
  3. Without configuration host different websites on v.je subdomains e.g. https://subdomain1.v.je/ and https://subdomain2.v.je/
  4. Includes up to date PHP development software*:
    • PHP
    • NGINX
    • MariaDB
    • Composer
    • PHPUnit
  5. Portability: You can run docker-compose stop on one machine, copy the folder, then docker-compose up on another and your website will be visible. The database is automatically imported and exported. Most environments store the database inside a local volume. If you move your files to a different PC the database is lost. That's not the case with this environment.
  6. URL rewriting is already set up. A request to any file that does not exist is sent to index.php

MySQL

Connect to MySQL from your desktop using:

  • Host: v.je
  • Port: 3306
  • Username: v.je
  • Password: v.je

To connect to the server from PHP you must use mysql as the host. For example:

<?php
$pdo = new PDO('mysql:dbname=test;host=mysql''v.je''v.je');

This MySQL user has full access to create schemas and other users. I suggest using MySQL Workbench but you can install the clunky PHPMyAdmin tool if you want a worse experience.

Starting and stopping the server

To start the server, run the command docker-compose up -d from the project's directory.

To stop the server, run the command docker-compose down from the project's directory

Hosting multiple websites

The environment is configured to host multiple websites from different folders within the created websites directory. To create a new website which is available on https://mysite.v.je/:

  1. Create the directory mysite inside the websites directory.
  2. Create the directory public inside the mysite directory.
  3. Place your web-accessible files inside the websites/mysite/public directory. For example, the file in websites/mysite/public/phpinfo.php will be accessible on the URL https://mysite.v.je/phpinfo.php

Any directory you create inside the websites directory is treated as a subdomain of v.je

Easily import databases

You can import an SQL database automatically while the server is running. Create the file websites/import.sql, the SQL script inside the file will be executed and the import.sql file deleted.

PHPUnit

To run PHPUnit tests you can use the command:

docker-compose run phpunit

This will run PHPUnit from the context of the websites/default directory and look for phpunit.xml at the path websites/default/phpunit.xml. If you wish to run unit tests for another directory you can specify it as a command line argument. For example to run php unit tests from the websites/subdomain directory you can run the command

docker-compose run phpunit /websites/subdomain

Composer

Composer is included and like PHPUnit defaults to the websites/default directory. Running the following command:

docker-compose run composer require level-2/dice

Will create a vendor directory and install Dice Dependency Injection Container in websites/default/vendor. To specify a different folder, pass the directory to the command using the -d switch:

docker-compose run composer require level-2/dice -/websites/subdomain