Scott Hanselman

Trying out new .NET Core Alpine Docker Images

November 22, '17 Comments [6] Posted in Docker | DotNetCore | Open Source
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Docker ContainersI blogged recently about optimizing .NET and ASP.NET Docker files sizes. .NET Core 2.0 has previously been built on a Debian image but today there is preview image with .NET Core 2.1 nightlies using Alpine. You can read about the announcement here about this new Alpine preview image. There's also a good rollup post on .NET and Docker.

They have added two new images:

  • 2.1-runtime-alpine
  • 2.1-runtime-deps-alpine

Alpine support is part of the .NET Core 2.1 release. .NET Core 2.1 images are currently provided at the microsoft/dotnet-nightly repo, including the new Alpine images. .NET Core 2.1 images will be promoted to the microsoft/dotnet repo when released in 2018.

NOTE: The -runtime-deps- image contains the dependancies needed for a .NET Core application, but NOT the .NET Core runtime itself. This is the image you'd use if your app was a self-contained application that included a copy of the .NET Core runtime. This is apps published with -r [runtimeid]. Most folks will use the -runtime- image that included the full .NET Core runtime. To be clear:

- The runtime image contains the .NET Core runtime and is intended to run Framework-Dependent Deployed applications - see sample

- The runtime-deps image contains just the native dependencies needed by .NET Core and is intended to run Self-Contained Deployed applications - see sample

It's best with .NET Core to use multi-stage build files, so you have one container that builds your app and one that contains the results of that build. That way you don't end up shipping an image with a bunch of SDKs and compilers you don't need.

NOTE: Read this to learn more about image versions in Dockerfiles so you can pick the right tag and digest for your needs. Ideally you'll pick a docker file that rolls forward to include the latest servicing patches.

Given this docker file, we build with the SDK image, then publish, and the result is about 219megs.

FROM microsoft/dotnet:2.0-sdk as builder  

RUN mkdir -p /root/src/app/dockertest
WORKDIR /root/src/app/dockertest

COPY dockertest.csproj .
RUN dotnet restore ./dockertest.csproj

COPY . .
RUN dotnet publish -c release -o published

FROM microsoft/dotnet:2.0.0-runtime

WORKDIR /root/
COPY --from=builder /root/src/app/dockertest/published .
ENV ASPNETCORE_URLS=http://+:5000
EXPOSE 5000/tcp
CMD ["dotnet", "./dockertest.dll"]

Then I'll save this as Dockerfile.debian and build like this:

> docker build . -t shanselman/dockertestdeb:0.1 -f dockerfile.debian

With a standard ASP.NET app this image ends up being 219 megs.

Now I'll just change one line, and use the 2.1 alpine runtime

FROM microsoft/dotnet-nightly:2.1-runtime-alpine

And build like this:

> docker build . -t shanselman/dockertestalp:0.1 -f dockerfile.alpine

and compare the two:

> docker images | find /i "dockertest"
shanselman/dockertestalp 0.1 3f2595a6833d 16 minutes ago 82.8MB
shanselman/dockertestdeb 0.1 0d62455c4944 30 minutes ago 219MB

Nice. About 83 megs now rather than 219 megs for a Hello World web app. Now the idea of a microservice is more feasible!

Please do head over to the GitHub issue here https://github.com/dotnet/dotnet-docker-nightly/issues/500 and offer your thoughts and results as you test these Alpine images. Also, are you interested in a "-debian-slim?" It would be halfway to Alpine but not as heavy as just -debian.

Lots of great stuff happening around .NET and Docker. Be sure to also check out Jeff Fritz's post on creating a minimal ASP.NET Core Windows Container to see how you can squish .(full) Framework applications running on Windows containers as well. For example, the Windows Nano Server images are just 93 megs compressed.


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Docker and Linux Containers on Windows, with or without Hyper-V Virtual Machines

November 20, '17 Comments [26] Posted in Docker | Win10
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Containers are lovely, in case you haven't heard. They are a nice and clean way to get a reliable and guaranteed deployment, no matter the host system.

If I want to run my my ASP.NET Core application, I can just type "docker run -p 5000:80 shanselman/demos" at the command line, and it'll start up! I don't have any concerns that it won't run. It'll run, and run well.

Some containers naysayers say , sure, we could do the same thing with Virtual Machines, but even today, a VHD (virtual hard drive) is rather an unruly thing and includes a ton of overhead that a container doesn't have. Containers are happening and you should be looking hard at them for your deployments.

docker run shanselman/demos

Historically on Windows, however, Linux Containers run inside a Hyper-V virtual machine. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on what your goals are. Running Containers inside a VM gives you significant isolation with some overhead. This is nice for Servers but less so for my laptop. Docker for Windows hides the VM for the most part, but it's there. Your Container runs inside a Linux VM that runs within Hyper-V on Windows proper.

HyperV on Windows

With the latest version of Windows 10 (or 10 Server) and the beta of Docker for Windows, there's native Linux Container support on Windows. That means there's no Virtual Machine or Hyper-V involved (unless you want), so Linux Containers run on Windows itself using Windows 10's built in container support.

For now you have to switch "modes" between Hyper V and native Containers, and you can't (yet) run Linux and Windows Containers side by side. The word on the street is that this is just a point in time thing, and that Docker will at some point support running Linux and Windows Containers in parallel. That's pretty sweet because it opens up all kinds of cool hybrid scenarios. I could run a Windows Server container with an .NET Framework ASP.NET app that talks to a Linux Container running Redis or Postgres. I could then put them all up into Kubernetes in Azure, for example.

Once I've turned Linux Containers on Windows on within Docker, everything just works and has one less moving part.

Linux Containers on Docker

I can easily and quickly run busybox or real Ubuntu (although Windows 10 already supports Ubuntu natively with WSL):

docker run -ti busybox sh

More useful even is to run the Azure Command Line with no install! Just "docker run -it microsoft/azure-cli" and it's running in a Linux Container.

Azure CLI in a Container

I can even run nyancat! (Thanks Thomas!)

docker run -it supertest2014/nyan

nyancat!

Speculating - I look forward to the day I can run "minikube start --vm-driver="windows" (or something) and easily set up a Kubernetes development system locally using Windows native Linux Container support rather than using Hyper-V Virtual Machines, if I choose to.


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Announcing Visual Studio and Kubernetes – Visual Studio Connected Environment

November 15, '17 Comments [14] Posted in
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I've been having all kinds of fun lately with Kubernetes, exploring building my own Kubernetes Cluster on the metal, as well as using a managed Kubernetes cluster in Azure with AKS.

Today at the Connect() conference in NYC I was happy to announce Visual Studio Connected Environment. How would one take the best of Visual Studio and the best of managed Kubernetes and create something useful for development teams?

Ecosystem momentum behind containers is amazing right now with support for containers across clouds, operating systems, and development platforms. Additionally, while microservices as an architectural pattern has been around for years, more and more developers are discovering the advantages every day.

You can check out videos of the Connect() conference at https://www.microsoft.com/connectevent, but you should check out my practice video where I show a live demo of Kubernetes in Visual Studio:

The buzzword "cloud native" is thrown around a lot. It's a meaningful term, though, as it means "architecture with the cloud in mind." Applications that are cloud-native should consider these challenges:

  • Connecting to and leveraging cloud services
    • Use the right cloud services for your app, don't roll your own DB, Auth, Discovery, etc.
  • Dealing with complexity and staying cognizant of changes
    • Stubbing out copies of services can increase complexity and hide issues when your chain of invocations grows. K.I.S.S.
  • Setting up and managing infrastructure and dealing with changing pre-requisites
    • Even though you may have moved to containers for production, is your dev environment as representative of prod as possible?
  • Establishing consistent, common environments
    • Setting up private environments can be challenging, and it gets messier when you need to manage your local env, your team dev, staging, and ultimately prod.
  • Adopting best practices such as service discovery and secrets management
    • Keep secrets out of code, this is a solved problem. Service discovery and lookup should be straightforward and reliable in all environments.

A lot of this reminds us to use established and mature best practices, and avoid re-inventing the wheel when one already exists.

The announcements at Connect() are pretty cool because they're extending both VS and the Azure cloud to work like devs work AND like devops works. They're extending the developers’ IDE/editor experience into the cloud with services built on top of the container orchestration capabilities of Kubernetes on Azure. Visual Studio, VS Code and Visual Studio for Mac AND and through a CLI (command line interface) - they'll initially support .NET Core, node.js and Java on Linux. As Azure adds more support for Windows containers in Kubernetes, they'll enable .NET Full Framework applications. Given the state of Windows containers support in the platform, the initial focus is on green field development scenarios but lift-shift and modernize will come later.

It took me a moment to get my head around it (be sure to watch the video!) but it's pretty amazing. Your team has a shared development environments with your containers living in, and managed by Kubernetes. However, you also have your local development machine which then can reserve its own spaces for those services and containers that you're working on. You won't break the team with the work you're doing, but you'll be able to see how your services work and interact in an environment that is close to how it will look in production.

PLUS, you can F5 debug from Visual Studio or Visual Studio Code and debug, live in the cloud, in Kubernetes, as fast as you could locally.

Shared Development Environment

This positions Kubernetes as the underlayment for your containers, with the backplane managed by Azure/AKS, and the development experience behaving the way it always has. You use Visual Studio, or Visual Studio code, or the command line, and you use the languages and platforms that you prefer. In the demo I switch between .NET Core/C# and Node, VS and VSCode, no problem.

I, for one, look forward to our containerized future, and I hope you check it out as well!

You can sign up for the preview at http://aka.ms/signup-vsce


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Lightweight bundling, minifying, and compression, for CSS and JavaScript with ASP.NET Core and Smidge

November 8, '17 Comments [16] Posted in ASP.NET | DotNetCore | Open Source
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Yesterday I blogged about WebOptimizer, a minifier that Mads Kristensen wrote for ASP.NET Core. A few people mentioned that Shannon Deminick also had a great minifier for ASP.NET Core. Shannon has a number of great libraries on his GitHub https://github.com/Shazwazza including not just "Smidge" but also Examine, an indexing system, ClientDependency for managing all your client side assets, and Articulate, a blog engine built on Umbraco.

Often when there's more than one way to do things, but one of the ways is made by a Microsoft employee like Mads - even if it's in his spare time - it can feel like inside baseball or an unfair advantage. The same would apply if I made a node.js library but a node.js core committer also made a similar one. Many things can affect whether an open source library "pops," and it's not always merit. Sometimes it's locale/location, niceness of docs, marketing, word of mouth, website. Both Mads and Shannon and a dozen other people are all making great libraries and useful stuff. Sometimes people are aware of other projects and sometimes they aren't. At some point a community wants to "pick a winner" but even as I write this blog post, someone else we haven't met yet is likely making the next great bundler/minifier. And that's OK!

I'm going to take a look at Shannon Deminck's "Smidge" in this post. Smidge has been around as a runtime bundler since the beginning of ASP.NET Core even back when DNX was a thing, if you remember that. Shannon's been updating the library as ASP.NET Core has evolved, and it's under active development.

Smidge supports minification, combination, compression for JS/CSS files and features a fluent syntax for creating and configuring bundles

I'll start from "dotnet new mvc" and then:

C:\Users\scott\Desktop\smidgenweb>dotnet add package smidge
Writing C:\Users\scott\AppData\Local\Temp\tmp325B.tmp
info : Adding PackageReference for package 'smidge' into project 'C:\Users\scott\Desktop\smidgenweb\smidgenweb.csproj'.
log : Restoring packages for C:\Users\scott\Desktop\smidgenweb\smidgenweb.csproj...
...SNIP...
log : Installing Smidge 3.0.0.
info : Package 'smidge' is compatible with all the specified frameworks in project 'C:\Users\scott\Desktop\smidgenweb\smidgenweb.csproj'.
info : PackageReference for package 'smidge' version '3.0.0' added to file 'C:\Users\scott\Desktop\smidgenweb\smidgenweb.csproj'.

Then I'll update appSettings.json (where logging lives) and add Smidge's config:

{
"Logging": {
"IncludeScopes": false,
"LogLevel": {
"Default": "Warning"
}
},
"smidge": {
"dataFolder" : "App_Data/Smidge",
"version" : "1"
}
}

Let me squish my CSS, so I'll make a bundle:

app.UseSmidge(bundles =>
{
bundles.CreateCss("my-css", "~/css/site.css");
});

I refer to the bundle by name and the Smidge tag helper turns this:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="my-css" /> 

into this

<link href="/sb/my-css.css.v1" rel="stylesheet" />

Notice the generated filename with version embedded. That bundle could be one or more files, a whole folder, whatever you need.

Her eyou can see Kestral handling the request. Smidge jumps in there and does its thing, then the bundle is cached for the next request!

info: Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.Internal.ControllerActionInvoker[1]
Executing action method Smidge.Controllers.SmidgeController.Bundle (Smidge) with arguments (Smidge.Models.BundleRequestModel) - ModelState is Valid
dbug: Smidge.Controllers.SmidgeController[0]
Processing bundle 'my-css', debug? False ...
dbug: Smidge.FileProcessors.PreProcessManager[0]
Processing file '/css/site.css', type: Css, cacheFile: C:\Users\scott\Desktop\smidgenweb\App_Data\Smidge\Cache\SONOFHEXPOWER\1\bb8368ef.css, watching? False ...
dbug: Smidge.FileProcessors.PreProcessManager[0]
Processed file '/css/site.css' in 19ms
dbug: Smidge.Controllers.SmidgeController[0]
Processed bundle 'my-css' in 73ms
info: Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.Internal.VirtualFileResultExecutor[1]
Executing FileResult, sending file

The minified results are cached wherever you want (remember I said App_Data):

Compressed JS and CSS

This is a SUPER simple example. You can use Smidge's fluent interface to affect how an individual bundle is created and behaves:

bundles.CreateJs("test-bundle-3", "~/Js/Bundle3")
.WithEnvironmentOptions(BundleEnvironmentOptions.Create()
.ForDebug(builder => builder
.EnableCompositeProcessing()
.EnableFileWatcher()
.SetCacheBusterType<AppDomainLifetimeCacheBuster>()
.CacheControlOptions(enableEtag: false, cacheControlMaxAge: 0))
.Build()
);

Smidge is unique in its Custom Pre-Processing Pipeline. Similar to ASP.NET Core itself, if there's anything you don't like or any behavior you want to change, you can.

I'm sure Shannon would appreciate help in Documentation and Open Issues, so go check out Smidge at https://github.com/Shazwazza/Smidge!


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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WebOptimizer - a Bundler and Minifier for ASP.NET Core

November 8, '17 Comments [20] Posted in ASP.NET | DotNetCore | Open Source
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ASP.NET Core didn't have a runtime bundler like previous versions of ASP.NET. This was a bummer as I was a fan. Fortunately Mads Kristensen created one and put it on GitHub, called WebOptimizer.

WebOptimizer - ASP.NET Core middleware for bundling and minification of CSS and JavaScript files at runtime. With full server-side and client-side caching to ensure high performance.

I'll try it out on a default ASP.NET Core 2.0 app.

First, assuming I've installed http://dot.net I'll run

C:\Users\scott\Desktop> cd squishyweb

C:\Users\scott\Desktop\squishyweb> dotnet new mvc
The template "ASP.NET Core Web App (Model-View-Controller)" was created successfully.
This template contains technologies from parties other than Microsoft, see https://aka.ms/template-3pn for details.

SNIP

Restore succeeded.

Then I'll add a reference to the WebOptimizer package. Be sure to check the versioning and pick the one you want, or use the latest.

C:\Users\scott\Desktop\squishyweb> dotnet add package LigerShark.WebOptimizer.Core --version 1.0.178-beta 

Add the service in ConfigureServices and add it (I'll do it conditionally, only when in Production) in Configure. Notice I had to put it before UseStaticFiles() because I want it to get the first chance at those requests.

public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
{
services.AddMvc();
services.AddWebOptimizer();
}

// This method gets called by the runtime. Use this method to configure the HTTP request pipeline.
public void Configure(IApplicationBuilder app, IHostingEnvironment env)
{
if (env.IsDevelopment())
{
app.UseDeveloperExceptionPage();
}
else
{
app.UseWebOptimizer();
app.UseExceptionHandler("/Home/Error");
}

app.UseStaticFiles();

app.UseMvc(routes =>
{
routes.MapRoute(
name: "default",
template: "{controller=Home}/{action=Index}/{id?}");
});
}

After running "dotnet run" I'll request site.css as an example and see it's automatically minimized:

CSS minification automatically

You can control the pipeline with globbing like this:

public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
{
services.AddMvc();
services.AddWebOptimizer(pipeline =>
{
pipeline.MinifyJsFiles("js/a.js", "js/b.js", "js/c.js");
});
}

If I wanted to combine some files into an output "file" that'll be held/cached only in memory, I can do that also. To be clear, it'll never touch the disk, it's just a URL. Then I can just refer to it with a <link> within my Razor Page or main Layout.

services.AddWebOptimizer(pipeline =>
{
pipeline.AddCssBundle("/css/mybundle.css", "css/*.css");
});

WebOptimizer also supports automatic "cache busting" with a ?v= query string created by a TagHelper. It can even compile Scss (Sass) files into CSS. There's plugins for TypeScript, Less, and Markdown too!

WebOptimizer is open source and lives at https://github.com/ligershark/WebOptimizer. Go check it out, kick the tires, and see if it meets your needs! Maybe get involved and make a fix or help with docs! There are already some open issues you could start helping with.


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.