Test your Python3 code in VSCode with a Docker container

With great code, comes great testing (or so we hope).

This blog post will require the following:

1. VSCode installed.

2. Docker extension in VSCode.

3) Docker for Mac or Windows.

4. A Mac or Windows device.

5. Tissues to wipe your tears of joy from how exciting containers & Python are.

Today we're going to talk about testing our Python code in a Docker container. There can be instances where this doesn't work and a VM would be better for your purposes. However, if you're building distributed systems/applications, you want to know how your code will interact in a containerized environment. This is also a really good practice if you're going over some training material. Whenever I go over training material, whether that be learning some new in Python, testing code, or even testing the way an application integrates with a system, I want something fast, easy, and smooth. It takes time to spin up a VM and test when we can just use a container. Let's get started!

First things first. Let's ensure we have our Docker image. For the purposes of this blog post, we'll use Centos 7. Run docker pull centos:7 from your terminal (or PowerShell window if you're on a Windows box).

Now that we have our image, let's head over to VSCode.

If you don't already have the Docker extension for VSCode, please install it and reload VSCode.

Once the Docker extension is installed, you will see the Docker icon on the left pane in VSCode. You should see 3 options:

1. Images

2. Containers

3. Registries

If this is your first time using Docker on your machine, you won't have has many images as I do. You should however see your centos:7 image pop up from prior instruction in this post. If you don't, please run docker image ls to see if you image exists. If not, do another docker pull as previously discussed in this post.

Next we want to go ahead and build our Dockerfile. Our Dockerfile will contain the contents of Python3. This is to ensure we have a pre-made image of what we need to properly test our Python code. Below is an example Docker file that I created. Please feel free to use this.

A few things to note before we run the below:

1. A Dockerfile should be named "Dockerfile" for the purposes of docker build (the command we will use to build our image) picking up the docker file

2. The Dockerfile should be saved in it's own directory. This is because wherever you run your Docker image from will parse everything else in the directory. It's cleaner, smoother, and faster to have a directory with your Dockerfile

FROM centos:7 MAINTAINER Michael

RUN yum -y update

RUN yum -y install yum-utils

RUN yum -y groupinstall development

RUN yum -y install https://centos7.iuscommunity.org/ius-release.rpm

RUN yum -y install python36u

Let's open up our terminal and run the following:

docker build -t pythondev:1.0 /path/to/dockerfile

In my case, my Dockerfile is in my desktop under the "Dockerimage" directory.

What we're running is installing several packages, so it may take up to 3-4 minutes to finish building the image.

If we had back over to VSCode, we'll see our brand new Docker image! Let's go ahead and run it by right clicking and running "run interactive".

Now that our container is up, we're ready to go and start testing!

I wrote a very simple Python script that will bring back everything in our root directory with permissions and dates accessed.

import os

def containerTest():

   os.system("ls -la /")

if __name__ == '__main__':


Next, let's run vi pythontest.py and copy/paste our code into our container.

Now that our code exists in our container, we're ready to run!

There we go! We have built our Python container test image, ran our code, and successfully tested our containerized environment to ensure our code would work properly.

With this, there is a lot to keep in mind. You want to make sure in a production environment that you have proper source control and you're pulling your code from a proper location. Once you've tested your code and you're ready to commit it to up to your source, always do so. This is imperative to staying production ready and always ensuring your are testing the proper code.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed!

Test your Python3 code in VSCode with a Docker container
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