Using repo2docker


Docker must be running in order to run repo2docker. For more information on installing repo2docker, see Installing repo2docker.

repo2docker is called with a URL/path to a git repository. It then performs these steps:

  1. Inspects the repository for configuration files. These will be used to build the environment needed to run the repository.
  2. Builds a Docker image with an environment specified in these configuration files.
  3. Runs a Jupyter server within the image that lets you explore the repository interactively (optional)
  4. Pushes the images to a Docker registry so that it may be accessed remotely (optional)

Calling repo2docker

repo2docker is called with this command:

jupyter-repo2docker <URL-or-path to repository>

where <URL-or-path to repository> is a URL or path to the source repository for which you’d like to build an image.

For example, the following command will build an image of Peter Norvig’s Pytudes repository:


Building the image may take a few minutes.

Pytudes uses a requirements.txt file to specify its Python environment. Because of this, repo2docker will use pip to install dependencies listed in this requirement.txt file, and these will be present in the generated Docker image. To learn more about configuration files in repo2docker visit Configuration Files.

When the image is built, a message will be output to your terminal:

Copy/paste this URL into your browser when you connect for the first time,
to login with a token:

Pasting the URL into your browser will open Jupyter Notebook with the dependencies and contents of the source repository in the built image.

Building a specific branch / commit / tag

To build a particular branch and commit, use the argument --ref and specify the branch-name or commit-hash. For example:

jupyter-repo2docker --ref 9ced85dd9a84859d0767369e58f33912a214a3cf


For reproducible research, we recommend specifying a commit-hash to deterministically build a fixed version of a repository. Not specifying a commit-hash will result in the latest commit of the repository being built.

Where to put configuration files

repo2docker will look for configuration files in either:

  • A folder named binder/ in the root of the repository.
  • The root directory of the repository.
If the folder binder/ is located at the top level of the repository,
only configuration files in the binder/ folder will be considered.


repo2docker builds an environment with Python 3.6 by default. If you’d like a different version, you can specify this in your configuration files.

Debugging repo2docker with --debug and --no-build

To debug the docker image being built, pass the --debug parameter:

jupyter-repo2docker --debug

This will print the generated Dockerfile, build it, and run it.

To see the generated Dockerfile without actually building it, pass --no-build to the commandline. This Dockerfile output is for debugging purposes of repo2docker only - it can not be used by docker directly.

jupyter-repo2docker --no-build --debug