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Creating images on-the-fly


In situations where there is no pre-existing Docker image, Testcontainers can create a new temporary image on-the-fly from a Dockerfile. For example, when the component under test is the Docker image itself, or when an existing base image needs to be customized for specific test(s).

Simply pass a configured instance of ImageFromDockerfile as a constructor parameter to GenericContainer. Testcontainers will docker build a temporary container image, and will use it when creating the container.

Dockerfile from String, file or classpath resource

ImageFromDockerfile accepts arbitrary files, strings or classpath resources to be used as files in the build context. At least one of these needs to be a Dockerfile.

public GenericContainer dslContainer = new GenericContainer(
    new ImageFromDockerfile()
            .withFileFromString("folder/someFile.txt", "hello")
            .withFileFromClasspath("test.txt", "mappable-resource/test-resource.txt")
            .withFileFromClasspath("Dockerfile", "mappable-dockerfile/Dockerfile"))

The following methods may be used to provide the Dockerfile and any other required build context files:

  • withFileFromString(buildContextPath, content)
  • withFileFromClasspath(buildContextPath, classpathPath)
  • withFileFromPath(buildContextPath, filesystemPath)
  • withFileFromFile(buildContextPath, filesystemFile)


In older versions of Testcontainers (before 1.3.0) it was necessary to explicitly declare each file that needed to be present in the Docker build context. This can be replaced with the following syntax:

new ImageFromDockerfile()
    .withFileFromPath(".", RESOURCE_PATH),

Where RESOURCE_PATH is the path to a directory containing a Dockerfile and any files that it needs to refer to. Doing this is equivalent to docker build RESOURCE_PATH on the command line.

To mimic docker build ., RESOURCE_PATH would simply be set to . as well.

Dockerfile DSL

If a static Dockerfile is not sufficient (e.g. your test needs to cover many variations that are best generated programmatically), there is a DSL available to allow Dockerfiles to be defined in code. e.g.:

new GenericContainer(
        new ImageFromDockerfile()
                .withDockerfileFromBuilder(builder ->
                                .run("apk add --update nginx")
                                .cmd("nginx", "-g", "daemon off;")

See ParameterizedDockerfileContainerTest for a very basic example of using this in conjunction with JUnit parameterized testing.

Automatic deletion

Temporary container images will be automatically removed when the test JVM shuts down. If this is not desired and the image should be retained between tests, pass a stable image name and false flag to the ImageFromDockerfile constructor.

Retaining the image between tests will use Docker's image cache to accelerate subsequent test runs.

By default the no-args constructor will use an image name of the form testcontainers/ + random string:

  • public ImageFromDockerfile()
  • public ImageFromDockerfile(String dockerImageName)
  • public ImageFromDockerfile(String dockerImageName, boolean deleteOnExit)

Alternative Dockerfiles

Normally Docker will automatically build an image from any /Dockerfile that it finds in the root of the build context. To override this behaviour, use .withDockerfilePath("./Name-Of-Other-Dockerfile").

Build Args

Build Args may be used to allow lightweight parameterization.

To specify build args, use .withBuildArg("varname", "value") or provide a Map of args using .withBuildArgs(map).