Dependency hell is ubiquitous in the world of software for research, and this affects research transparency and reproducibility. Containerization is one solution to this problem, but it creates new challenges for researchers. Docker is gaining popularity in the research community—but using it efficiently requires solid Dockerfile writing skills.
As a part of the Stencila project, which is a platform for creating, collaborating on, and sharing data-driven content, we are developing Dockter, an open source tool that makes it easier for researchers to create Docker images for their projects. Dockter scans a research project’s source code, generates a Dockerfile, and builds a Docker image. It has a range of features that allow flexibility and can help researchers learn more about working with Docker.