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Run docker commands inside docker container

Considering that you have a docker container that runs an operating system, you could install docker inside it in order to use docker commands. Lets take for example the below Dockerfile. This will use the windows server core image and will install docker on it.

FROM mcr.microsoft.com/dotnet/framework/sdk:4.8-windowsservercore-ltsc2022
RUN Invoke-WebRequest -UseBasicParsing https://download.docker.com/win/static/stable/x86_64/docker-20.10.18.zip -OutFile docker.zip; `
Expand-Archive -Force docker.zip -DestinationPath $Env:ProgramFiles; `
Remove-Item -Force docker.zip

As a result the administrator could execute docker commands by taking a prompt on the container. However not all commands will work if you do not perform the below volume binding. When you spin up a new container using the image that you created with the Dockerfile you should also use the below command. This way you could use docker commands like docker build, docker push etc. 

-v \\.\pipe\docker_engine:\\.\pipe\docker_engine
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Install python silently on Windows container and add to PATH

A container is a standard unit of software that packages up code and all its dependencies so the application runs quickly and reliably from one computing environment to another.

In this article we will examine how we can silently install python on a container running windows and add it to path. By doing so we can run python scripts inside our container and perform various tests, or even create webservices that will be hosted as containers inside a Cloud provider.

In order to host python inside a windows system I am using the below Dockerfile. A file named configuration.ps1 could exist inside your building directory and contain other instructions like modules installation. If you do not want this step you can remove the last two lines of the Dockerfile.

FROM mcr.microsoft.com/dotnet/framework/sdk:4.8-windowsservercore-ltsc2019
 RUN Invoke-WebRequest -UseBasicParsing https://www.python.org/ftp/python/3.10.7/python-3.10.7-amd64.exe -OutFile python.exe; `
    Start-Process python.exe -Wait -ArgumentList /PrependPath=1, /quiet; `
    Remove-Item -Force python.exe
COPY ./configuration.ps1 .
CMD .\configuration.ps1

When python is installed inside your container you will need to add it on PATH in order to use the verb python. This is done by appending the installation directory on windows PATH.

In order to do you will need to get an interactive session with your container.

docker exec -it container_name powershell

With the below command you can find where is the python installation located. You will need to change python version to the one that you installed. If you had installed the version 3.5 then you would need to change 3.10 to 3.5.

py -3.10 -c "import sys; print(sys.executable[:-10])"

The last step would be to set this location in the PATH. You can do that using the command below.

setx path "%path%;C:\Users\ContainerAdministrator\AppData\Local\Programs\Python\Python310\"

Then you can just press python and voilà.