Get Your Feet Wet with Kitematic by Docker

What is Kitematic

Kitematic is an open source tool that was created to simplify the Docker experience. This lightweight friendly tool is a great option for those who want to start using Docker without learning or using the command line. With this tool, you can pull and use a wide variety of images to work with. You can also create your own images from pre-built ones while specifying a custom configuration, volumes, and ports.   

There is a lot of features in this tool that helps automate some typing.  However, I have found, once you get exposed with Docker and what it can do, you will quickly start using some command line to get that extra depth that is missing.


How do I get it?

Kitematic is part of Docker Toolbox and can get it here.

You will need to install Oracle VirtualBox as Kitmatic uses this technology.

Download it and install it.  Once installed, open Kitmatic.


Kitematic Docker Image



Once Kitematic loads, you are faced with a lot of image options for download. The layout is very intuitive and incredibly easy to use.  At the top of the interface, there is a search bar that allows you to search for several different images either by name of the software or even organization.


Kitematic Docker Image



For this article, we are going to pull an image from our repo, dbshed.  Type dbshed in the search bar.  It will pull back a few images.  Find the image named “sqlserver” and click create.


Kitematic Docker Image



You will see it is loading the image on your docker space. Pending on connection, this should be a quick pull.


Kitematic Docker Image



Once the pull is complete, it will begin to start. Look at the last few lines for any errors that may have occurred.  If you see “Recovery Complete” and it looks like services have started, you should be good.


Kitematic Docker Image



We have set a few environment variables for you to make this start up a little quicker.  You can click on the settings tab in the upper right corner.  You will see the variables set.


Kitematic Docker Image



Now its time to open SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS).  If you don’t have SSMS, you can download it for free.  If you don’t want to install SSMS you can test command line using SQLCmd to verify connectivity. We will continue with SSMS.

Connect to your instance with the IPAddress (comma) Port.  You will see the IPAddress and port in Kitematic on the right bar as indicated in orange above.


Kitematic Docker Image



We are connected!


Kitematic Docker Image



Ready for a little Command line now? Let look at the image and container we have.  Open PowerShell and try a few commands

This will list all the images you have pulled.

PS> docker image ls


This will show you what containers (images) you have started

PS> docker container ls


This will give you details about the container.

PS> docker inspect sqlserver


This will stop the container.  However, you will still have the image and can load the container back at any time.

PS> docker kill sqlserver



As you can see Docker images are very easy to use and provide a lot of support for development and testing alike.  I would encourage you to learn the commands to manage your Docker images and containers with PowerShell.  Knowing the command line will open more advanced features and options with docker.