Shortcuts on the CLI

I’m working on a project, over budget and late. To keep the development environment exactly the same as the production environment, I am running a docker stack that I originally generated over at I have one image running the php-fpm executor, and while I’m working, it is the window into the Laravel engine. I’ve set the minimum PHP version to 7.4 to take advantage of the latest language features.

Since MacOS only comes stock with PHP 7.3.11 (cli) (built: Feb 29 2020 02:50:36 ) ( NTS ) I can’t run composer or php artisan commands on my command line: php 7.3.11 dockerp/roject requires php (^7.4). No problem, just hop into the dockerbox and make a non-critical change. I can hear some of you now, “No, stay off the environment. You can make a change that won’t be duplicatable.” Yes, there may be a temporary system dependency that isn’t part of the image, but the chances of really messing this up are low. And in the worst case, you rebuild the image and re-install composer and yarn dependencies. That’s one of the magical things about docker. A few command lines will get you back to a pristine environment.

I’ve been updating my dependencies and refreshing the database, and testing CI scripts long enough that I’m starting to get tired of typing in
docker run -it --rm -v"$(PWD):/application:delegated" node:14 bash or
docker run -it --rm -v"$(PWD):/application:delegated" project/php:7.4 bash to grab an interactive shell inside the container. And it’s always the same, but it’s different. The variable in what to type is the container name. Simple. If I can make this run a command, I want my command to be named run. I can pass to it the name of the image, so I might run ubuntu:bionic or run phpdockerio/php74-fpm:latest.

Let’s check to see if run is taken:

$ type run 
bash: type: run: not found

Good. It’s available. I will put my file in my ~/bin/ folder so it will be in my path. You might need to create it though, so $ mkdir ~/bin will make the directory. If you did create the folder, it might not be in your $PATH yet. I have seen some shell setup scripts check for the existence of ~/bin before adding it to your path. If it’s not in your path, open another terminal or console. I need to create a file, so I’ll use my handy vi ~/bin/run. Actually, I’ll use nano, but whatever you want. The file will have the following lines:

docker run -it --rm -v"$(PWD):/application:delegated" $1 bash

The first line, the hashbang identifies the application that will be used to parse this file. For a simple one-line script, or the “copy, move, rename” scripts you hear so much about don’t need a hashbang, the script will be run in whatever shell you’re currently using, whether it be sh, bash, zsh, or any of the shells available. However, it doesn’t hurt to be this specific. There are differences between some commands in different shells, but we probably won’t see any today. However, if you ever do find that difference, you will have a repeatable way of predetermining the result. The second line is the command that is run when I enter run with the image name substituted in the command by the $1: the first program argument. If I ever decide I need another argument, I can substitute it with a $2. I made the $pwd variable lower case so I can use the same command on linux or mac. One of them is quite case sensitive, the other not so much.

Save and exit the file, and let’s give it a whirl. Remember that if you didn’t restart your shell, this would be a good time to do it. We’ll wait for you. The reason we placed it in ~/bin is that the directory is automatically searched when a command is entered from the command line. You can view it by echo $PATH to see the hierarchy. Whichever file is found first is used. The highest priority directories for system commands appear first in the $PATH string. Then its followed by utilities, and your home and other specific directories. In most cases, unless you know what you’re doing, save your files in ~/bin. It is the only directory that you have full executable privileges, and no one else but the system god can write to. Got your new terminal open yet?

$ run ubuntu:latest
zsh: permission denied: run

So what happened to “it’s in your path?” It’s there, the error command tells us exactly that: permission denied. Well that makes sense, where do you think writing a file would make it executable? I need to apply permissions to the file to allow it to be a series of commands to be run by the system. obviously, typing chmod more than twice would make it worthwhile to shortening that command. I need a cx command to chmod +x. I’ve already typed it twice, and I’m sick of it. I also have a hangnail on my index finger. Damn quarantine. I’m going to nano ~/bin/cx. Feel free to use vi or pico if you want. lol

chmod +x $1

Again, defining the interpreter with the hashbang, this will call chmod +x (that’s two more times) with the first argument after cx (so much easier). Now I have a command to make a command executable. Except it’s not executable. Here’s how I fix that:

$ sh ~/bin/cx ~/bin/cx

And boom. I use the sh shell to run the ~/bin/cx command on ~/bin/cx. Since ~/bin/cx is the first argument sent to ~/bin/cx, ~/bin/cx will be passed to chmod +x giving it the privilege it needs to become executable. To prove it:

$ cx ~/bin/run

No news is good news, so we know the command ran. Now I can do something as wacky as

$ cd ~/bin; run ubuntu:latest
root@15531bbe4ff5:/# cd /application
root@15531bbe4ff5:/application# ls -ltra
total 2372
-rwxrwxrwx 1 root root     81 Nov 27  2016 lilypond
-rwxrwxrwx 1 root root     113 May 19  2017 startsocat
-rwxrwxrwx 1 root root  243262 Jun  7  2017 dateTimeZoneData.php
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1936645 Mar  4 21:00 composer
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root      75 May 27 04:30 run
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root      24 May 27 04:30 cx
drwxrwxrwx 8 root root     256 May 27 04:30 .
drwxr-xr-x 1 root root    4096 May 27 04:31 ..

And there is my ~/bin directory attached to /application in an ubuntu:latest container. Awesome. Exit the container and enter $ cd - at the command prompt to go back where you came from, presumably a project root. I whip out my new toy and

$ run node:14
root@3fce8c00b8cf:/# cd /application/
root@3fce8c00b8cf:/application# yarn install
yarn install v1.22.4
[1/4] Resolving packages...
[2/4] Fetching packages...

Alt text

info "fsevents@1.2.13" is an optional dependency and failed compatibility check. Excluding it from installation.
[3/4] Linking dependencies...
[4/4] Building fresh packages...
Done in 3724292.49s.
root@3fce8c00b8cf:/application# npm run dev

> @ dev /application
> npm run development

> @ development /application
> cross-env NODE_ENV=development node_modules/webpack/bin/webpack.js --progress --hide-modules --config=node_modules/laravel-mix/setup/webpack.config.js
98% after emitting SizeLimitsPlugin

 DONE  Compiled successfully in 32504ms                                                                                              4:33:13 PM

                                                                                              Asset      Size   Chunks             Chunk Names
                                                                                       /css/app.css   253 KiB  /js/app  [emitted]  /js/app
                                                                                         /js/app.js   8.1 MiB  /js/app  [emitted]  /js/app
   fonts/vendor/@fortawesome/fontawesome-free/webfa-brands-400.eot?c1868c9545d2de1cf8488f1dadd8c9d0   130 KiB           [emitted]  
   fonts/vendor/@fortawesome/fontawesome-free/webfa-brands-400.svg?0cb5a5c0d251c109458c85c6afeffbaa   699 KiB           [emitted]  
   fonts/vendor/@fortawesome/fontawesome-free/webfa-brands-400.ttf?13685372945d816a2b474fc082fd9aaa   130 KiB           [emitted]  
 fonts/vendor/@fortawesome/fontawesome-free/webfa-brands-400.woff2?a06da7f0950f9dd366fc9db9d56d618a  74.8 KiB           [emitted]  
  fonts/vendor/@fortawesome/fontawesome-free/webfa-brands-400.woff?ec3cfddedb8bebd2d7a3fdf511f7c1cc  87.7 KiB           [emitted]  
  fonts/vendor/@fortawesome/fontawesome-free/webfa-regular-400.eot?261d666b0147c6c5cda07265f98b8f8c  33.6 KiB           [emitted]  
  fonts/vendor/@fortawesome/fontawesome-free/webfa-regular-400.svg?89ffa3aba80d30ee0a9371b25c968bbb   141 KiB           [emitted]  
  fonts/vendor/@fortawesome/fontawesome-free/webfa-regular-400.ttf?db78b9359171f24936b16d84f63af378  33.3 KiB           [emitted]  
fonts/vendor/@fortawesome/fontawesome-free/webfa-regular-400.woff2?c20b5b7362d8d7bb7eddf94344ace33e  13.3 KiB           [emitted]  
 fonts/vendor/@fortawesome/fontawesome-free/webfa-regular-400.woff?f89ea91ecd1ca2db7e09baa2c4b156d1  16.4 KiB           [emitted]  
    fonts/vendor/@fortawesome/fontawesome-free/webfa-solid-900.eot?a0369ea57eb6d3843d6474c035111f29   198 KiB           [emitted]  
    fonts/vendor/@fortawesome/fontawesome-free/webfa-solid-900.svg?ec763292e583294612f124c0b0def500   876 KiB           [emitted]  
    fonts/vendor/@fortawesome/fontawesome-free/webfa-solid-900.ttf?1ab236ed440ee51810c56bd16628aef0   198 KiB           [emitted]  
  fonts/vendor/@fortawesome/fontawesome-free/webfa-solid-900.woff2?b15db15f746f29ffa02638cb455b8ec0  77.6 KiB           [emitted]  
   fonts/vendor/@fortawesome/fontawesome-free/webfa-solid-900.woff?bea989e82b07e9687c26fc58a4805021   101 KiB           [emitted]  

Now I can enter a docker environment that is identical to the deployment environment , and manually run commands that are automated for deployment with a minimal of key presses. Unfortunately for JavaScript developing, an npm run watch in this container will not proxy the docker-compose web server, because they are on different networks. I’ll fix that deficiency in an upcoming post.

However, it works with any image. This blog is powered by Jekyll so I can view it locally when writing, by first creating a webserver: docker run -d -p 80:80 -v"$(pwd)/_site:/usr/share/nginx/html" nginx:alpine. Then, I can have Jekyll watch for file changes, so I can see it at http://localhost:80 and make sure it looks good before I deploy it.

$ run ruby:latest
  root@edfd0db95fa8:/# cd /application ; bundle config set path '/vendor/bundle'; bundle install; bundle exec jekyll build --watch
  Fetching gem metadata from
  Fetching public_suffix 4.0.5
  Installing public_suffix 4.0.5
  Fetching addressable 2.7.0
  Installing addressable 2.7.0
  Using bundler 2.1.4
  Fetching colorator 1.1.0
  Installing colorator 1.1.0
  Bundle complete! 8 Gemfile dependencies, 34 gems now installed.
  Bundled gems are installed into `/vendor/bundle`
  Post-install message from i18n:

                      done in 2.703 seconds.
   Auto-regeneration: enabled for 'app'

Hopefully this will help out someone as much as it helps me to write it. If this helps, or you want to know more, reach out to me, or file an issue.

Weather in Charlotte, NC