Start to develop with Docker

How to run the instance for development

There are two options to develop using Docker containers:

  • Alternative A: Running by command line and editing the code using your preferred editor (usually harder).

  • Alternative B: Using the vscode remote containers extension (easier).

Alternative A: Building and running Docker for development

Build (first time only):

docker-compose --project-name geonode -f docker-compose.yml -f .devcontainer/docker-compose.yml build


docker-compose --project-name geonode -f docker-compose.yml -f .devcontainer/docker-compose.yml up


If you are running postgresql and tomcat9 services, you need to stop them, docker-compose will take care of running the database and geonode service.

Otherwise, you will get the following error:

ERROR: for db  Cannot start service db: driver failed programming external connectivity on endpoint db4geonode: Error starting userland proxy: listen tcp4 bind: address already in use
ERROR: Encountered errors while bringing up the project.

Running the geonode application in debug mode:

docker exec -it django4geonode bash -c "python runserver"

When running, you can debug the application using your preferred method. For example, you can edit a file, save it and see your modifications. You can also use ipdb to add breakpoints and inspect your code (Writing import ipdb; ipdb.set_trace() in the line you want your breakpoint).

Another option is to use debugpy alongside with vscode, for this you have to enable debugpy inside your django4geonode container:

docker exec -it django4geonode bash -c "pip install debugpy -t /tmp && python /tmp/debugpy --wait-for-client --listen runserver --nothreading --noreload"

Select “Run and Debug” in vscode and use the following launch instruction in your .vscode/launch.json file:


Alternative B: Using vscode extension

Alternatively, you can develop using the vscode remote containers extension. In this approach you need to:

  • Install the extension in your vscode: ms-vscode-remote.remote-containers

  • On your command pallet, select: “Remote-Containers: Reopen in Container

  • If it’s the first time, vscode will take care of building the images. This might take some time.

  • Then a new vscode window will open, and it’ll be connected to your docker container.

  • The message “Dev Container: Debug Docker Compose” will appear in the bottom-left corner of that window.

  • In the vscode terminal, you’re going to see something similar to root@77e80acc89b8:/usr/src/geonode#.

  • To run your application, you can use the integrated terminal (./ runserver or the vscode “Run and Debug” option. For launching with “Run and Debug”, use the following instruction file:


For more information, take a read at vscode remote containers help page.