Dev Containers

Dev Containers


Development containers are an open source specification for defining development environments.

envbuilder is an open source project by Coder that runs dev containers via Coder templates and your underlying infrastructure. It can run on Docker or Kubernetes.

There are several benefits to adding a devcontainer-compatible template to Coder:

  • Drop-in migration from Codespaces (or any existing repositories that use dev containers)
  • Easier to start projects from Coder. Just create a new workspace then pick a starter devcontainer.
  • Developer teams can "bring their own image." No need for platform teams to manage complex images, registries, and CI pipelines.

How it works

A Coder admin adds a devcontainer-compatible template to Coder (envbuilder). Then developers enter their repository URL as a parameter when they create their workspace. envbuilder clones the repo and builds a container from the devcontainer.json specified in the repo.

Developers can edit the devcontainer.json in their workspace to rebuild to iterate on their development environments.

Example templates

Devcontainer parameter screen

Your template can prompt the user for a repo URL with Parameters.


You may need to authenticate to your container registry, such as Artifactory, or git provider such as GitLab, to use envbuilder. See the envbuilder documentation for more information.


To improve build times, dev containers can be cached. Refer to the envbuilder documentation for more information.

Other features & known issues

Envbuilder is still under active development. Refer to the envbuilder GitHub repo for more information and to submit feature requests.

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