Using containers (Docker/Singularity) in science

Creating your own docker images


Teaching: min
Exercises: 10 min
  • How can I build my own images?

  • Learn how to create Docker images

Creating Docker images

Docker images are created using simple recipe files called Dockerfiles. Let’s create a Dockerfile. Open your favourite editor and type the following text, and save it under the name Dockerfile (no extensions) inside an empty folder.

FROM bids/base_fsl
RUN apt-get update -y && apt-get install -y r-base

Open a terminal in the same directory and run the following command:

docker build -t fsl_with_r .

Don’t forget about the dot at the end! It indicates the directory where Docker will look for a Dockerfile - in our case it’s the current working directory. This should build your image. You can run it like the previous one:

docker run -ti --rm fsl_with_r


  1. Can you run R inside the container?
  2. What happens if you run the build command again?
  3. Could you modify your Dockerfile to include extra R packages?
  4. When you rebuild your image did you notice something unusual?

Key Points