The Compose specification
Go to file
aevesdocker 59ca2cc488 review edit
Signed-off-by: aevesdocker <>
2023-11-10 11:11:33 +01:00
.github split compose 2023-03-13 10:21:05 +01:00
_layouts Generate Github Pages from the spec 2021-02-26 14:28:58 +00:00
assets Generate Github Pages from the spec 2021-02-26 14:28:58 +00:00
images Remove temporary logo 2020-04-06 11:24:01 +02:00
schema update compose-spec schema for build.ulimits 2023-11-08 17:12:00 +01:00
.editorconfig cmd: update schema to account for empty overrides 2023-03-21 14:33:34 +01:00
.gitignore add Windows drive prefix to temp directory path to be sure Makefile works with Git Bash 2023-05-16 13:41:43 +02:00 split compose 2023-03-13 10:21:05 +01:00 review comments 2023-06-21 15:13:03 +01:00 Tiny typo fix 2023-09-14 10:18:20 +10:00 further review edits 2023-06-27 09:34:44 +01:00 editorial review edits 2023-06-23 10:18:10 +02:00 more small fixes 2023-11-10 11:11:33 +01:00 ENGDOCS-1710b 2023-10-06 08:04:21 +02:00 fix volumes link 2023-11-06 08:46:56 +01:00 introduce inline content for configs 2023-11-07 10:17:36 +01:00 ENGDOCS-1729 2023-10-16 12:06:51 +02:00 docs: update examples to use "example" namespace 2023-08-31 10:03:44 +02:00 docs: update examples to use "example" namespace 2023-08-31 10:03:44 +02:00 review comments 2023-06-23 10:18:10 +02:00 ENGDOCS-1691 2023-09-27 13:16:29 +01:00 ENGDOCS-1560 (#399) 2023-08-09 12:18:11 +01:00 sentence rewording and review edits 2023-06-26 14:41:08 +01:00 update changelog 2020-05-14 08:20:47 +02:00 Add code of conduct 2020-04-06 11:24:56 +02:00 Fix external links 2023-06-26 14:03:06 +02:00
Dockerfile ENGDOCS-1305 2023-06-23 12:08:22 +01:00 Reformat GOVERNANCE document 2020-04-06 11:24:45 +02:00
Gemfile Generate Github Pages from the spec 2021-02-26 14:28:58 +00:00
Gemfile.lock Bump nokogiri from 1.13.6 to 1.14.3 2023-05-09 09:46:03 +02:00
LICENSE Initialize specification document 2020-01-08 11:17:10 +01:00
Makefile add Windows drive prefix to temp directory path to be sure Makefile works with Git Bash 2023-05-16 13:41:43 +02:00
NOTICE Add NOTICE file 2020-06-18 14:51:55 +02:00 Add aevesdocker as an official maintainer 2023-07-09 22:18:17 +02:00 Add podman-compose to README 2023-03-27 09:58:54 +02:00 Fix VISION document table 2020-04-01 18:48:57 +02:00
_config.yml Generate Github Pages from the spec 2021-02-26 14:28:58 +00:00 add support for build ulimits 2023-11-08 16:48:59 +01:00 review edit 2023-11-10 11:11:33 +01:00 add a 'restart' action to watch attribute in the develop section 2023-10-17 10:45:53 +02:00 Simpler approach building 2023-03-21 16:42:40 +01:00
markdown-include.json split compose 2023-03-13 10:21:05 +01:00 more small fixes 2023-11-10 11:11:33 +01:00

Compose Specification


The Compose specification establishes a standard for the definition of multi-container platform-agnostic applications. The specification can be found here.

  • ToC {:toc}

Use cases

To provide more context on the Compose specification the following section gives example use cases for each part of the specification.

Development tools

Developers can use a Compose file to specify a container-based application that will run as a set of containers on a local container engine. The Compose implementation in this scenario could offer some specific features (local volume binding, live-reload) to better address development needs. The application definition and Compose model is the same used as that used for other use cases. Platform features expected by the specification (like configs and secrets) can be mocked with local resources.

Kubernetes deployment

Kubernetes container orchestration relies on a set of abstract concepts and APIs to manage networking services, container deployments and their lifecycles. While this offers flexibility to address many operator use cases, it makes simple use cases, like the developer use case, more complicated to express than they need to be. Projects like Kompose or Okteto Stacks show how the simpler Compose model can be translated into Kubernetes API payloads and make the Compose file the source of truth for development and deployment.

Cloud providers

Some cloud providers offer proprietary container hosting solutions based on in-house orchestrators and custom APIs. The Compose specification offers a simple model that can be mapped to these hosting solutions so that users can reuse Compose files that they already have and so that they do not need to learn custom configuration file formats. Platform specific features can be added either using Compose extensions or a dedicated configuration file along side the Compose file.


Development happens on GitHub for the specification. Issues are used to track bugs and actionable items. Longer discussions can happen on the mailing list.

The specification and code is licensed under the Apache 2.0 license found in the LICENSE file.


Docker Compose is the Reference Implementation of the Compose Specification.

Compose Specification is also implemented by:

Status Work in progress
Created 2020-01-02