Have you ever deployed an app to a platform like Heroku? How awesome it is to git push some code and see it running without worrying about the infrastructure it is going to run on? Now imagine that idea applied to any type of project, regardless of whether they are web apps or not. This is what Devstep is all about.

At Devstep's heart, there is a self suficient Docker image that leverages the buildpack abstraction for automatic detection and installation of project dependencies. The image comes with a script that takes your app's source as an input and installs everything that is required for hacking on it.

Be it a CLI tool, a plugin for some framework or a web app, it doesn't matter, Devstep can do the heavy lifting of preparing an isolated and disposable environment using as close to "zero configuration" as possible so that Developers can focus on writing and delivering working software.


Configuring a base system from scratch to hack on a project (using Docker or not) is not an easy task for many people. Yes, there are plenty of platform specific images available for download on Docker Hub but because Devstep's base image provides an environment that is similar to Heroku's, it should be capable of building and running a wide range of applications / tools / libraries from a single image without the need to worry about writing Dockerfiles.

With Devstep's CLI, we can also reduce the disk space and initial configuration times by (optionally) caching packages on the host machine using a strategy similar to vagrant-cachier's cache buckets, where project dependencies packages are kept on the host while its contents are extracted inside the container.


Devstep can be used to build development environments in at least two different ways: from the provided CLI or from Dockerfiles. To run the images built, you can use the provided devstep hack command, use other tools (like docker-compose) or just docker run them by hand.

What's included on the base Docker image?

That image is based on Heroku's cedar:14 image which makes up for the Cedar-14 stack. So everything that is available to it (and as a consequence, available to Heroku apps) will be available for fgrehm/devstep environments.

On top of heroku/cedar:14, we:

For more information please have a look at the Dockerfile.

Supported buildpacks

Why standard Heroku buildpacks are not used?

Because development environments have a few different needs than production environments and not all projects are web apps. For example, PHP apps are likely to have opcache enabled on production to improve app's performance but have it disabled during development and it is a good practice to have Ruby on Rails assets precompiled on production. But I did my best to stay as close as possible to the official buildpacks.

That's it for a brief introduction, from here you can have a look at the getting started guide for a quick start on how to use Devstep.