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Last pushed: 2 years ago
Short Description
haproxy with docker-gen based configuration and development superpowers
Full Description

Based off of


For development only: this haproxy image runs docker-gen and generates the haproxy configuration based on a template. Haproxy is reloaded abruptly (via pkill) as I could not figure out a way to get it to reload gracefully, but since this only really happens when starting/stopping services in development, it's not a big deal.

Configuration Template

A virtual host is created for each docker-compose service as long as it's marked with a particular label -- by default, this label is backend, but can be specified with the label environment variable passed to the proxy container.

The virtual host routing is done using a very flexible hdr_beg(host) -i {name}. acl in haproxy. This means you can set up a wildcard DNS entry: for example, * (resolving to - and access all your docker-compose started services via {service}


There is a Vagrantfile in this repo that provisions with Docker, and uses the docker-compose file to build this image and start a simple hello service. It uses a private network with a specific IP, so you can vagrant up and then curl >> you get 'hello' service in the compose file! (Private networks are generally better than port forwarding because VirtualBox NAT will shit the bed on you at some point)


What sets this apart from other 'automatic backend' containers is its support for a development instance of a service taking over handling requests for a given service. Two things are required - an IP address of the development machine, and a port that the development instance of the service will be running on at said IP address. Again the Vagrantfile and the docker-compose file have examples of this - the dev_ip is passed in from Vagrant, which gives an address routable from the guest machine "out" to the host machine. The dev_hello variable specifies which port hello would run on the host machine in development mode.

The next 'step' from here is to have inter-service communication also use a wildcard hostname of the gateway and to 'alias' that in the compose file. This is demonstrated in the docker-compose.yml as well.

If you do all these things, you can start up a development instance of a service and make changes, and other services running in Docker will speak to the development instance of the service until you kill that process - at which point communication routes right back to the 'docker' instance.

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