Difference between 'image' and 'build' within docker compose

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Docker Problem Overview

Please help me understand the difference between 'image' and 'build' within docker compose

Docker Solutions

Solution 1 - Docker

  • image means docker compose will run a container based on that image
  • build means docker compose will first build an image based on the Dockerfile found in the path associated with build (and then run a container based on that image).

PR 2458 was eventually merged to allow both (and use image as the image name when building, if it exists).

therobyouknow mentions in the comments:

> dockerfile: as a sub-statement beneath build: can be used to specify the filename/path of the Dockerfile.

version: '3'
      context: ./dir
      dockerfile: Dockerfile-alternate
        buildno: 1

Solution 2 - Docker

build: expects dockerfile path as an argument, it will build an image first and then use the image to create a container.

image: expects existing image name as argument , it will launch container using this image.


version: '3'
    build: .
      - "5000:5000"
    image: "redis:alpine"

service1 will build an image first based on Dockerfile of current path and run container based on this image.

service2 will download "redis:alpine" image from docker hub and run container on downloaded image.


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Content TypeOriginal AuthorOriginal Content on Stackoverflow
QuestionmeallhourView Question on Stackoverflow
Solution 1 - DockerVonCView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 2 - DockerShahid HussainView Answer on Stackoverflow