Dockwell Official Launch

Josh Paynter
4 min readJan 26, 2023

coauthored by: Aalok Shah, Kyle Saunders, Sami Messai

About

If you’ve ever used Docker, you’ve likely checked ‘docker stats’ and seen something like this:

This is without question the fastest, simplest way to capture basic container metrics in real time. But in a world where container orchestration can be the focus of an entire career, these basic statistics could never be enough to satisfy the relentless quest for optimization.

There’s already a mountain of literature touching this topic, much of it built up over the last five years or so. Each article elaborates on some aspect of the existing world consensus: more metrics are better, and faster setup is best. For the sake of brevity, we’ll forgo restating what’s been covered so well elsewhere and instead focus on introducing Dockwell — our take on a fast and easy solution to improving the developer experience in this space.

Dockwell is both stylish (by intention) and lightweight. It’s a GUI, deployable to your local machine, to help visualize metrics and troubleshoot any of your local Docker containers.

Traditional Docker Desktop extensions are already available to show some of these metrics quickly, but most lack the charting features to show trends over time, and few lightweight solutions exist to show all containers’ comparable metrics on a single, downloadable chart.

If you are looking for more advanced metrics with customizable configurations, Dockwell automatically spins up Grafana, another more in-depth, open-source visualization tool, as a stand-alone container at launch, and provides a link to your local Grafana instance from the Dockwell landing page.

Our carefully designed interface highlights active containers and dynamically creates metric charts in an easy-to-read format. All containers are also displayed intuitively with their name, status, and other basic information (assigned ports, time running, etc.). Users can start, stop, pause, unpause, and kill stop containers at will, from the Dockwell landing page, to further identify where problems are occurring.

Our charts are designed to display the most relevant container-level metrics over time, with an option to download all stats shown during a given session to your local machine for later analysis.

Dockwell has also simplified the debugging process by displaying each container’s logs, replicating the Docker Desktop CLI functionality from your terminal. A simple dropdown menu allows users to read and refresh the entire log list for any container, at will.

Dockwell is a free, open-source development tool, powerful enough to speed up memory-hogging containers during development, yet simple enough to be deployed quickly and understood instantly. Give it a try today!

Using Dockwell

STEP 1: DOCKER DESKTOP (ENGINE/DAEMON) SETTINGS

For Dockwell to display your container metrics, permission from the host Docker is required

  • Docker Desktop for Mac / Docker Desktop for Windows: Click the Docker icon in the toolbar, select Settings, then select Engine. Click Advanced.
  • Add the following to the Docker Engine JSON:
{
"metrics-addr" : "127.0.0.1:9323",
"experimental" : true
}

Linux and other users can view their OS-specific instructions in the readme file of our GitHub repo - or in the Docker Docs.

STEP 2: DOWNLOAD & UNZIP CONFIGURATION FILES

  • Download the repository as a zip to your local machine and unzip

STEP 3: DOCKER COMPOSE UP

  • Use the terminal (macOS) or command prompt (Windows) to `cd` into the unzipped directory, then start up Docker compose with this command:
docker compose up

You should see the following processes in your terminal:

STEP 4: OPEN THE TOOL IN YOUR LOCAL BROWSER AND ENJOY

Get Involved

You can check out Dockwell on our Github or by visiting our website where you’ll find everything you need to get it up and running. Feel free to submit any issues or contribute as a fellow developer to the open source product on Github.

Follow or check in with the Dockwell creators:

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