Introduction & Concepts

Why use spin?

Spin is created to simplify the replication of your production environment and enable you to manage your infrastructure dependencies from a single file.

The days of "make sure to update this on your machine" are over. Commit once, and deploy that change to everyone.

How spin works

Spin simply is a "wrapper script" that shortens the syntax of official Docker commands. Spin dramatically improves the developer experience of while using Docker without abandoning a standardized protocol.

Docker overrides

The most powerful concept we embrace is the use of Docker Overrides. This allows you to have multiple files and override your base file, depending what environment you are in.

For example, let's say our project directory has these three files:

├── docker-compose.yml

We can use docker-compose.yml as our base file, then as our "override". This will essentially merge the files.

To do that, we need to run:

docker compose -f docker-compose.yml -f up

This will call the files in order and "merge" them together:

Docker Overrides Diagram

Our Expected Result for Development

version: 3.8
    image: serversideup/php:8.1-fpm-nginx
        PRODUCTION: "false"
    image: node:lts

Cool, but that's a lot to type every morning when you jump on the computer!

Spin simplifies the development workflow

Instead of typing 65 characters everytime or having people come up with their own whacky aliases, spin simplifies and follows the Docker standard:

spin up

There are tons of benefits to this:

That's much easier to type than 65 characters!
Spin follows the same Docker syntax
It's easy to onboard people to your team (people don't need to relearn custom aliases for your team if they are already familiar with Docker)

That's not all, there are a ton of other actions that you can run to simplify your development workflow. See the "Command Reference" section on the documentation navigation.

Do I run spin in production?

It is recommended to NOT install spin on a production system. You can use Docker Swarm Mode to run your servers in production. If you're running CI, just use the longer commands directly from Docker (docker-compose -f docker-compose.yml -f

Spin focuses on simplifying the human experience. A CI runner doesn't mind typing in longer commands every single time. 😃

Can I use spin if I don't run Docker in "Swarm Mode" in production?

Of course! Although you might be missing the full benefits of running full Docker in production, using Spin in development may help solve a lot of problems for managing a fleet of development machines.

Where is spin installed?

We offer two areas where Spin can be installed:

At the user level

Users can install this on their system without root permissions being requested. The benefit with this installation is that users will be able to use spin from anywhere on their system. As long as the alias is configured in their bash profile and there is a docker-compose.yml and in the folder, spin will work.

The other major advantage is spin will intelligently check for updates to make sure everyone is always on the latest version.

See the installation instructions on how to install spin on the system at the user level.

At the project level

On larger projects or open source projects, having everyone configure their machines with a system dependency can be a nightmare. Instead of having each user go through steps manually, you can include spin as a dependency via npm/yarn or composer.

This will give the project manager control of the exact version of spin to run on everyone's machine.

Edit this page on GitHub Updated at Wed, Jul 6, 2022