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Running the app with Docker


This document details how to run the Vets API application locally via a Docker based setup.

ClamAV Antivirus Configuration


Prior to EKS, ClamAV (the virus scanner) was deployed in the same process as Vets API. With EKS, ClamAV has been extracted out into it’s own service. Locally you can see the docker-compose.yml config for clamav.

Note: Running clamav natively, as we did in Vets API master still needs to be configured. For the time being, please run via docker:

Please set the clamav intitalizer initializers/clamav.rb file to the following:

## If running via docker
if Rails.env.development?
  ENV["CLAMD_TCP_HOST"] = "clamav"
  ENV["CLAMD_TCP_PORT"] = "3310"

First make sure to follow the common base setup.

Mocking ClamAV Locally

There is an additional choice to "mock" a successful clamav response if you want to receive a quick scanning response for local development. If you choose this path, please set the clamav mock setting to true in the local settings.yml. This will mock the clamav response in the virus_scan code.

  mock: true


A Makefile provides shortcuts for interacting with the docker images.

You can see all of the targets and an explanation of what they do with:

make help

To run vets-api and its redis and postgres dependencies run the following command from within the repo you cloned in the above steps.

make up

You should then be able to navigate to http://localhost:3000/v0/status in your browser and start interacting with the API. Changes to the source in your local directory will be reflected automatically via a docker volume mount, just as they would be when running rails directly.

The Makefile has shortcuts for many common development tasks. You can still run manual docker-compose commands, but the following tasks have been aliased to speed development:

Running tests

  • make spec - Run the entire test suite via the docker image (alias for rspec spec). Test coverage statistics are in coverage/index.html.

  • make guard - Run the guard test server that reruns your tests after files are saved. Useful for TDD!

Running tests in parallel

  • make spec_parallel_setup - This sets up the parallel tests databases. First the existing test database is dropped and reset, then the rest of the test databases are cloned off the standard one

  • make spec_parallel - Run the entire test suite in parallel. A spec folder path can optionally be given as an argument to run just the spec folder in parallel

Running linters

  • make lint - Run the full suite of linters on the codebase.

  • make security - Run the suite of security scanners on the codebase.

  • make ci - Run all build steps performed in CI.

Running a rails interactive console

  • make console - Is an alias for rails console, which runs an IRB like REPL in which all of the API's classes and environmental variables have been loaded.

Running a bash shell

To emulate a local install's workflow where you can run rspecrake, or rails commands directly within the vets-api docker instance you can use the make bash command.

$ make bash
Creating network "vetsapi_default" with the default driver
Creating vetsapi_postgres_1 ... done
Creating vetsapi_redis_1    ... done
# then run any command as you would locally e.g.
root@63aa89d76c17:/src/vets-api# rspec spec/requests/user_request_spec.rb:26


As a general technique, if you're running vets-api in Docker and run into a problem, doing a make rebuild is a good first step to fix configuration, gem, and other various code problems.

make up fails with a message about missing gems

Could not find %SOME_GEM_v0.0.1% in any of the sources
Run `bundle install` to install missing gems.

There is no need to run bundle install on your system to resolve this. A rebuild of the vets_api image will update the gems. The vets_api docker image installs gems when the image is built, rather than mounting them into a container when it is run. This means that any time gems are updated in the Gemfile or Gemfile.lock, it may be necessary to rebuild the vets_api image using the following command:

  • make down - Stops all docker services.

  • make rebuild - Rebuild the vets_api image.

  • make docker-clean - Removes all docker images and volumes associated with vets-api.

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