Run the application

Buildpacks-built images can contain multiple process types.

Build a multi-process app

For this example we will use the hello-processes buildpack from our samples repo so make sure you have it cloned locally.

Let’s build the app.

pack build multi-process-app \
    --builder cnbs/sample-builder:alpine \
    --buildpack samples/java-maven \
    --buildpack samples/buildpacks/hello-processes/ \
    --path samples/apps/java-maven/

If you inspect the app image with pack, you will see multiple process types defined:

pack inspect-image multi-process-app

The output should look similar to the below:

Inspecting image: multi-process-app

(not present)


Stack: io.buildpacks.samples.stacks.alpine

Base Image:
  Reference: f5898fb2b30c2b66f5a69a424bae6473259fa48b387df35335f04332af7f1091
  Top Layer: sha256:700c764e7c5d5c75e6a0fc7d272b7e1c70ab327c03fbdf4abd9313e5ec3217f7

Run Images:

Rebasable: true

  ID                             VERSION           HOMEPAGE
  samples/java-maven             0.0.1   
  samples/hello-processes        0.0.1   

  TYPE                 SHELL        COMMAND                                                     ARGS
  web (default)        bash         java -jar target/sample-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT.jar
  sys-info             bash         /layers/samples_hello-processes/sys-info/

Notice that the default process type is web. This is because pack will always attempt to set the default process type to web unless the --default-process flag is passed. If we had run the pack build command above with --default-process sys-info, sys-info would be the default process for the app image!

Run a multi-process app

Buildpacks are designed to give you much flexibility in how you run your app. The lifecycle includes a binary called the launcher which is present in the final app image and is responsible for starting your app. By default, the launcher will start processes with bash (these are referred to as non-direct processes). Processes that are started without bash are referred to as direct processes. The launcher will source any profile scripts (for non-direct processes) and set buildpack-provided environment variables in the app’s execution environment before starting the app process.

Default process type

If you would like to run the default process, you can simply run the app image without any additional arguments:

docker run --rm -p 8080:8080 multi-process-app

Default process type with additional arguments

If you would like to pass additional arguments to the default process, you can run the app image with the arguments specified in the command:

docker run --rm -p 8080:8080 multi-process-app

Non-default process-type

To run a non-default process type, set the process type as the entrypoint for the run container:

docker run --rm --entrypoint sys-info multi-process-app

Non-default process-type with additional arguments

You can pass additional arguments to a non-default process type:

docker run --rm --entrypoint sys-info multi-process-app

User-provided shell process

You can even override the buildpack-defined process types:

docker run --rm --entrypoint launcher -it multi-process-app bash

Now let’s exit this shell and run an alternative entrypoint -

docker run --rm --entrypoint launcher -it multi-process-app echo hello "$WORLD" # $WORLD is evaluated on the host machine
docker run --rm --entrypoint launcher -it multi-process-app echo hello '$WORLD' # $WORLD is evaluated in the container after profile scripts are sourced

User-provided shell process with bash script

An entire script may be provided as a single argument:

docker run --rm --entrypoint launcher -it multi-process-app 'for opt in $JAVA_OPTS; do echo $opt; done'

User-provided direct process

By passing -- before the command, we instruct the launcher to start the provided process without bash. Note that while buildpack-provided environment variables will be set in the execution environment, no profile scripts will be sourced (as these require bash):

docker run --rm --entrypoint launcher multi-process-app -- env # output will include buildpack-provided env vars
docker run --rm --entrypoint launcher multi-process-app -- echo hello "$WORLD" # $WORLD is evaluated on the host machine
docker run --rm --entrypoint launcher multi-process-app -- echo hello '$WORLD' # $WORLD is not evaluated, output will include string literal `$WORLD`

No launcher

You can bypass the launcher entirely by setting a new entrypoint for the run container:

docker run --rm --entrypoint bash -it multi-process-app # profile scripts have NOT been sourced and buildpack-provided env vars are NOT set in this shell

To learn more about the launcher, see the platform spec.