READynamic, Docker and You

READynamic, Docker and You

Anyone who has installed or worked with the server side of software probably knows that it can be an involved process and time consuming to get the system up and running properly. Users often view this complexity as a disadvantage no matter how excellent or fantastic the software may end up being to them in the end. The goal for any software development should be to try to simplify and ease any pains where possible that users could encounter.

The process to install READynamic application onto a Linux server was not always easy. In days past, it required intimate Linux command line knowledge and there could be many points of failure in the process among the significant amount of steps required. Naturally, this created a dilemma for us. Do we ship with this complexity to users and expect them to be able to get it working where we ourselves have many issues? Or do we find a solution to make this as simple as possible and reduce the time spent troubleshooting issues we have run into? The easy answer is option two.

This is where an awesome piece of open standards software called Docker comes into play. It utilizes a concept called a container. A Docker container is a wrapper that encompasses a core piece of software, READynamic in our case, and contains all the necessary prerequisites to running that software, such as the HTTP server, Ruby on Rails, and MySQL. A container itself is essentially a miniature Linux virtual environment built with the bare bones necessary to run the core piece of software that is needed. Docker is the software that can run this container. Not only does this significantly speed up installation, but it also ensures that the software will run as intended, every time, regardless of what system or environment the  container is installed to. READynamic was once limited to Linux and could now, in theory, be run on any system that Docker supports. Pretty cool, huh?

As mentioned previously, the “Pre-Docker” way of installing READynamic was challenging. An experienced server installer could have done this in as little as one to two hours, barring any failures along the way. However, someone who was completely new to the process might be lucky to have it installed in a full day’s work. With the “Post-Docker’ way of installing, roughly 10 steps are required to install Docker itself and then a single command to download and install the Docker container containing READynamic. From there, you will have a fully functional installation of READynamic that can be accessed in your favorite web browser! Someone with no experience using Docker prior to this could have READynamic installed in under two or three hours. In contrast, an experienced server installer at Datalogics can install READynamic using Docker in under 30 minutes. What was once hard has become a breeze to install.

Docker will become available in the next version of READynamic!

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