Docker App and CNAB

Docker App and CNAB

Docker App is a new tool we spoke briefly about back at DockerCon US 2018. We’ve been working on docker-app to make container applications simpler to share and easier to manage across different teams and between different environments, and we open sourced it so you can already download Docker App from GitHub at In talking to others about problems they’ve experienced sharing and collaborating on the broad area we call “applications” we came to a realisation: it’s a more general problem that others have been working on too.

That’s why we’re happy to collaborate with Microsoft on the new Cloud Native Application Bundle (CNAB) specification. Today’s cloud native applications typically use different technologies, each with their own toolchain. Maybe you’re using ARM templates and Helm charts, or CloudFormation and Compose, or Terraform and Ansible.

There is no single solution in the market for defining and packaging these multi-service, multi-format distributed applications. CNAB is an open source, cloud-agnostic specification for packaging and running distributed applications that aims to solve some of these problems. CNAB unifies the management of multi-service, distributed applications across different toolchains into a single all-in-one packaging format.

The draft specification is available at cnab.ioand we’re actively looking both for folks interested in contributing to the spec itself, and to people interested in building tools around the specification. The latest release of Docker App is one such tool that implements the current CNAB spec. That means it can be used to both build CNAB bundles for Compose (which can then be used with any other CNAB client), and also to install, upgrade and uninstall any other CNAB bundle.