How to use Dockerfiles to build an App Platform app

Because App Platform doesn’t allow me to run composer config before composer install is executed, I have been told that I should use the other method of building an app: Dockerfiles (

The problem is…there is no documentation. Nevermind that DO boasts about “robust documentation” and has had App Platform in the wild for well over a year. 😒

Anyway, I’d really like to get this to work, but I have no idea where to begin or what to do. The only thing I know is that I need a dockerfile.

DO support pointed me to this community, but my searches haven’t yielded anything valuable…perhaps because I’m not entirely sure what I should be searching for.

Thanks in advance for any help you might be able to provide. 🤓

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Greg M
DigitalOcean Employee
DigitalOcean Employee badge
March 31, 2022

Hello, I’m attaching the App Spec Reference here if you haven’t already seen it:

Under the component type that you’re interested in building (service, worker, job… etc) you can find dockerfile_path

You would then put the Dockerfile path relative to the root directory of the repository in that field.

Here is an example of a dockerfile based app:

Here is an example of the app spec for the above example:

To deploy that, you would use doctl with the following: doctl apps create --spec /path/to/app/spec

Alternatively you can use a registry such as Dockerhub or DigitalOcean Container registry. Here is a link to documentation for that:

Happy Coding! Greg