Lab #14: Create an image with SHELL instruction


Tested Infrastructure

Platform Number of Instance Reading Time
Play with Docker 1 5 min


1- Install Docker latest version.
2- Shell instruction syntax

SHELL ["executable", "parameters"]

3- Create the Dockerfile with instruction.

FROM windowsservercore

# Executed as cmd /S /C echo default
RUN echo default

# Executed as cmd /S /C powershell -command Write-Host default
RUN powershell -command Write-Host default

# Executed as powershell -command Write-Host hello
SHELL ["powershell", "-command"]
RUN Write-Host hello

# Executed as cmd /S /C echo hello
SHELL ["cmd", "/S"", "/C"]
RUN echo hello

The following example is a common pattern found on Windows which can be streamlined by using the SHELL instruction:

RUN powershell -command Execute-MyCmdlet -param1 "c:\foo.txt"

The command invoked by docker will be:

cmd /S /C powershell -command Execute-MyCmdlet -param1 "c:\foo.txt"

RUN ["powershell", "-command", "Execute-MyCmdlet", "-param1 \"c:\\foo.txt\""]

While the JSON form is unambiguous and does not use the un-necessary cmd.exe, it does require more verbosity through double-quoting and escaping. The alternate mechanism is to use the SHELL instruction and the shell form, making a more natural syntax for Windows users, especially when combined with the escape parser directive:

# escape=`

FROM windowsservercore
SHELL ["powershell","-command"]
RUN New-Item -ItemType Directory C:\Example
ADD Execute-MyCmdlet.ps1 c:\example\
RUN c:\example\Execute-MyCmdlet -sample 'hello world'

  1. output
PS E:\docker\build\shell> docker build -t shell .
Sending build context to Docker daemon 3.584 kB
Step 1 : FROM windowsservercore
 ---> 5bc36a335344
Step 2 : SHELL powershell -command
 ---> Running in 87d7a64c9751
 ---> 4327358436c1
Removing intermediate container 87d7a64c9751
Step 3 : RUN New-Item -ItemType Directory C:\Example
 ---> Running in 3e6ba16b8df9

Directory: C:\

Mode                LastWriteTime         Length Name
----                -------------         ------ ----
d-----         6/2/2016   2:59 PM                Example

 ---> 1f1dfdcec085
Removing intermediate container 3e6ba16b8df9
Step 4 : ADD Execute-MyCmdlet.ps1 c:\example\
 ---> 6770b4c17f29
Removing intermediate container b139e34291dc
Step 5 : RUN c:\example\Execute-MyCmdlet -sample 'hello world'
 ---> Running in abdcf50dfd1f
Hello from Execute-MyCmdlet.ps1 - passed hello world
 ---> ba0e25255fda
Removing intermediate container abdcf50dfd1f
Successfully built ba0e25255fda
PS E:\docker\build\shell>

Next » Lab #16: Entrypoint Vs RUN