Deploy a Dart server with self-defined Dockerfile


If the language you are coding in isn't on our pre-configured containerization template list or you wish to have more control on the containerization process, write your own Dockerfile and Skygear will follow instructions inside to build your container image.

In this quick start guide, we will build a simple server written in Dart, which unfortunately isn't one of our pre-configured templates yet.


Before you start this section, please ensure you have skycli installed and configured properly.

Create a Skygear app

Create a directory called dartserver and go inside:

$ mkdir dartserver && cd $_

Create app with one command

Enter the skycli app creation command and give the new app a name. It's better to prefix you app name with your name or alias like your GitHub ID, since Skygear cluster is shared among everyone who has an account and it's likely someone has already taken the app name dartserver.

Upon app creation success, app information such as its API endpoint and key will be listed. They are essential for API calling which we will be performing at later stages. You can either jot them down now or find them at Skygear's Developer Portal.

$ skycli app create
? What is your app name? <your_name>-dartserver
App name: <your_name>-dartserver.
Creating app...
Your API endpoint: https://<your_name>
Your Client API Key: <API Key>.
Your Master API Key: <Master Key>.
Created app successfully!

Write some Dart code

Well, we have the Dart code ready. Paste the below command block into you terminal, which will create a main.dart with a simple "Hello World!" API implemented.

$ echo 'import "dart:io";
Future main() async {
// #docregion bind
var server = await HttpServer.bind(
// #enddocregion bind
print("Listening on localhost:${server.port}");
// #docregion listen
await for (HttpRequest request in server) {
request.response.write("Hello World!");
await request.response.close();
// #enddocregion listen
' > main.dart

Every request sent to port 4040 will receive a "Hello World!" response.

Test out the API

Install Dart and run the server:

$ dart main.dart

Then curl the API. You should receive the "Hello World!" response if the server is running normally:

$curl localhost:4040
Hello World!

Dockerfile writing time

Similarly, directly paste the below command block into your terminal and you will have a Dockerfile created.

$ echo 'FROM google/dart
ADD${TINI_VERSION}/tini /tini
RUN chmod +x /tini
ENTRYPOINT ["/tini", "--"]
COPY . .
RUN dart2native main.dart -o a.out
CMD ["./a.out"]

A Dockerfile describes how a private filesystem of a container should be assembled and carry instructions on how a container is run based on the image built from it. Think of it as a step-by-step recipe on how an image is built, where the container instances can be started based on the image.

The Dockerfile we have here describes how our dart server should be converted to an image.

A library called tini is included, to prevent spawns of zombie processes and provide default signal handlers in container instances.

At line 9, the dart server code main.dart is compiled to a.out. The latter file which functions exactly like the former is then executed at line 10. Containers deployed from the image built from this will have our dart server running on them.

Both the image building and container deploying processes are taken care of by Skygear, all you need to do is upload your Dockerfile. For more information on Dockerfile, please refer to its official doc.

Write a Skygear.yaml

We are now one step away from deploying. Create a file called skygear.yaml so that your file tree in dartserver looks like this:

└── dartserver
├── Dockerfile
├── main.dart
└── skygear.yaml

Paste the following content into it.

app: <your_name>-dartserver # your Skygear app name
- name: server # an arbitrary name of the service
type: http-service # type of the service
context: . # root directory of your source code
path: / # the path for the service
port: 4040 # the listening port of the service

The value given at line 1 is the name of app you have created on Skygear. This has nothing to do with the name of your local directory or program.

Every item under deployments, i.e line 3-7 in our yaml file, is a service registered under an app. Files in our local directory dartserver, indicated as . since skygear.yaml resides in it, are uploaded and deployed as a service called server. Port 4040 where our Dart server responses with a "Hello World!" message is mapped to the service server under the path /.

Deploy the Skygear app

Be sure you are in the dartserver directory, as skycli will look for a skygear.yaml during deployment.

$ skycli app deploy

It's likely that you are going to see a list of logs. The deployment is finished when you receive the message "Deployment completed".

Test out the app on Skygear

curl https://<your_name>
Hello World!%

(__TODO__ update endpoint)


We have now deployed a simple Dart server with our containerization instructions. No matter how intuitive or complex you application is, the same applies as you will just have to write a self-defined Dockerfile. Skygear will interpret the Dockerfile when supplied and finish up all the deployment chores for you.

Useful tips

  • To exclude deploying specific files, create a .skyignore file. It works the same as .dockerignore.