On my last post I described how to use a single ARG with a list of packages to be installed on an alpine image.

But what happens when your Dockefile contains a multitude of BUILD ARGS that you wish to pass along the build from a single file that contains them.

Let’s check an rather simple Dockerfile what I’m trying to explain here.

FROM python:latest
ARG ARG_1=first_argument
ARG ARG_2=second_argument
ARG ARG_3=third_argument
ARG ARG_4=fourth_argument
ARG ARG_12=first_second_argument
ARG ARG_22=second_second_argument
ARG ARG_32=third_second_argument
ARG ARG_42=fourth_second_argument
ARG ARG_13=first_third_argument
ARG ARG_23=second_third_argument
ARG ARG_33=third_third_argument
ARG ARG_43=fourth_third_argument

If you wan’t to override all this arguments using the --build-arg would require you to have the following command (or similar)

docker build -t custom:stuff --build-arg ARG_1=1st --build-arg ARG_2=2nd --build-arg ARG_3=3rd ...
#you get the point

Now imagine you would want to have those build args defined in a file similar to a .env or env_file that you wish to use in order to have different multiple builds, for staging production etc.. , as that would be much more pratical.

–build-arg with multiple arguments from file with bash

This could obvisouly be achieved on many other terminal interpreters, for simplicity and since my main OS is usually Linux with bash as interpreter, I’ve done it in bash

Now let’s create a file named build.args with the following contents


Now, how to use this build.args to build an image and its respective build args from this file.

docker build -t custom:stuff $(for i in `cat build.args`; do out+="--build-arg $i " ; done; echo $out;out="") .

It might not be the simplest single line command to read, but when using on CI/CD pipeline for instance, you could have multiple build environments from multiple files, while also avoiding a train of --build-arg in the shell.

André Ilhicas dos Santos

Devops Padawan, curious about systems automation, learning new languages, paradigms tools each day.

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