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Prebuild a Workspace

Prebuild a Workspace

Prebuilding a workspace means building a ready-to-use docker image out of the devcontainer.json, its referenced features and optionally a linked Dockerfile. Usually when creating a new workspace, DevPod will first build a docker image based on the configuration and then later use this image to create the development environment. With prebuilds, this step can be omitted and DevPod can directly use the docker image to start the development environment. This can save start up time, especially for more complex development environments.

How does it work?

Based on the devcontainer.json configuration, DevPod will generate a hash in the form of devpod-HASH and use this as a tag for the created docker image. You can then reference docker image repositories, where DevPod will search this tag and if found uses it instead of building the image itself.

To prebuild a workspace, you can run the following command:

# Prebuild the docker image for and save it in image registry
devpod build --repository
Detecting existing Prebuilds

DevPod will only build the workspace if there isn't an existing prebuild found in the specified docker image repository

DevPod will use the current provider for doing this, which means you can also use remote providers to prebuild an image. You can even have a separate provider just for prebuilding images.

Using Prebuilds

Using prebuilds means you specify a docker image repository, where DevPod will search for an image with a specific hash generated from the devcontainer configuration. You can either specify this prebuild repository via a flag during workspace creation or directly in the devcontainer.json.

Prebuild not found

If a prebuild cannot be found in the given repository or credentials are missing locally, DevPod will just skip the repository.

Reference Prebuild Repository as Flag

When creating a new workspace, you can define the prebuild repository via the --prebuild-repository flag:

devpod up --prebuild-repository

Reference Prebuild Repository in devcontainer.json

It's also possible to include the prebuild repository directly in the devcontainer.json, which makes it easy to automate prebuilding through a CI/CD pipeline on changes. You can specify the prebuild repository via:

"name": "my-project",
"customizations": {
"devpod": {
"prebuildRepository": ""