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Workspaces - are merely docker containers, that's why managing workspaces is easy and intuitive - it is enough to know only docker commands, no need to learn any new tools.

In order to avoid confusion, the following convention is adopted:

command to execute outside of the workspace

command to execute inside the workspace (after entering running docker container)

To start a workspace simply execute in terminal

docker run --name space-1 -d -p 8020-8035:8020-8035 alnoda/mkdocs-magicspace

(It is recommended to run workspace in the daemon mode)

Open http://localhost:8020

Workspace has its own UI, which includes quiklaunch (home) page and documentation pages. From the quiklaunch you can open any workspace tool. Documentation pages you modify in order to document the project, workspace use and setup.

Workspace terminal

There are several ways how to work with terminal of the the mkdocs-magicspace:

Base-Workspace terminal

(Browser-based terminals always work under the user you started the workspace with, the default is non root user "abc")

If you want to enter running workspace container from your terminal execute:

docker exec -it space-1 /bin/zsh

If you don't want to use z-shell

docker exec -it space-1 /bin/bash

This way allows to ssh into the workspace as a root user at any time, even if the workspace itself was not starter as root user (the default user is abc)

docker exec -it --user=root space-1 /bin/zsh

You can work in Ubuntu terminal now. Execute the followinng command to know your workspace user


Multiple workspaces

Every workspace requires range of ports. If one workspace is up and running, the ports 8020-8035 are taken.

mkdocs-magicspace itself uses 9 ports (8020-8028), but it is recommended to map several extra ports just in case. Having extra ports, you can always launch new applications on these ports, and they will be immediately exposed outside of the workspace.

In order to start another workspace, you either need to stop currently runnning workspace, or to run another workspace on the different port range.

If you are planning to run more than one workspace at the same time, you can run another workspace with the different port range, for example

docker run --name space-2 -d -p 8040-8055:8020-8035 -e ENTRY_PORT=8040 alnoda/mkdocs-magicspace

Notice that in addition we need to set environmental variable ENTRY_PORT, which should be equal to the first port in the new range. Workspace UI usues this variable to know the new port range, and redirects to the proper addresses of the workspace applications' UIs.

Open more ports

We started workspace container with a port range mapped "-p 8020-8035". If you are planning to expose more applications from inside of a container, add additional port mapping, for example

docker run --name space-1 -d -p 8020-8035:8020-8035 -p 8080:8080 alnoda/mkdocs-magicspace
You can add multiple port mappings:
docker run --name space-1 -d -p 8020-8035:8020-8035 -p 8080:8080 -p 443:443 alnoda/mkdocs-magicspace

NOTE: It is not a problem if you don't expose any ports, but later on realise you need them - you will just create new image, and run it exposing the required port (look in the section Create new image)

Docker in docker

It is possible to work with docker directly from the workspace (using workspace terminal).

docker run --name space-1 -d -p 8020-8035:8020-8035 -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock alnoda/mkdocs-magicspace

NOTE: in order to use docker in docker you need to or enter into the workspace container as root

docker exec -it --user=root space-1 /bin/zsh

Run on remote server

Because workspace is just a docker image, running it in any other server is as easy as running it on local laptop.

Running on remote server makes it much simpler to collaborate, because you can just share credentials to the workspace with your peers, and they will be able to use it. You can also run applications that should run permanently, and run jobs on schedule.

Unsecure remote workspace

The simplest deployment of the workkspace requires only 3 steps:

  • get virtual server on your favourite cloud (Digital Ocean, Linode, AWS, GC, Azure ...)
  • install docker on this server
  • ssh to the remote server and start workspace
docker run --name space-1 -d -p 8020-8035:8020-8035 -e WRK_HOST="<ip-of-your-remote-server>" alnoda/mkdocs-magicspace

NOTE: When running workspace on the remote server, add envronmental variable -e WRK_HOST="<ip-of-your-remote-server>". Workspace UI needss this variable to know how redirect properly to the workspace applications' UIs.

Open in your browser <ip-of-your-remote-server>:8020

If docker-in-docker is required, then

docker run --name space-1 -d -p 8020-8035:8020-8035 -e WRK_HOST="<ip-of-your-remote-server>" -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock alnoda/mkdocs-magicspace

This way launches workspace in cloud, but such workspace is not secure, everyone who knows IP of your server will be able to use it.

Secure remote workspace

You might want to restrict access to the workspace, and secure encrypted communication with the workspace

Kkdocs-MagicSpace contains utility that will generate everything needed to launch the workspace in cloud in a secure way, with authentication and with TLS.

If you want to run workspace on the remote server securely, start mkdocs-magicspace on your local laptop first, open its terminal and use utility /home/abc/utils/ to generate create docker-compose project with TLS certificates. Simply execute

python /home/abc/utils/ --workspace="mkdocs-magicspace" --port="8020" --host="" --user="user1" --password="pass1"

NOTE: you have to specify the correct host (IP of the server you want to run the workspace on), and user and password of your choice.

You see folder /home/abc/utils/remote is created. Copy this folder to the remote server (any location). Ssh to the server, cd into the directory you copied and execute docker-compose up -d.

That's it, you workspace is running securely on the remote server, using self-signed TLS certificates for encrypted https communication between you laptop and the remote workspace, and authentication is added.

Use Workspace

Among the common actions you'd do in the workspace are

  • installation of new applications and runtimes
  • edit files, write code, scripts
  • build, compile and execute code
  • start/stop applications and services
  • schedule tasks and scripts
  • process data

Install applications

Use workspace workspace terminal to install new applications. Install with sudo apt install. The default abc user is allowed to install packages.

For example, in order to install Emacs text editor open workspace terminal, and execute

sudo apt install emacs

Schedule jobs with Cron

Schedule execution of any task with cron - a time-based job scheduler in Unix-like computer operating systems.

Open workspace terminal, and execute

crontab -e

(chose [1] nano as editor on the first time) In the end of the opened file add line

* * * * * echo $(whoami) >> /home/cron.txt

This will print every minute username to file /home/cron.txt . (Hit Ctrl+X to exit nano)

Hint: example of cron job definition:

.---------------- minute (0 - 59)   
|  .------------- hour (0 - 23)
|  |  .---------- day of month (1 - 31)
|  |  |  .------- month (1 - 12) OR jan,feb,mar,apr ...
|  |  |  |  .---- day of week (0 - 6) (Sunday=0 or 7) OR sun,mon,tue,wed,thu,fri,sat
|  |  |  |  |
*  *  *  *  *  command to be executed

NOTE you can disconnect from the image and close terminal - cron will continue working.

Instead of cron you might want to use Cronicle - a tool with Web UI, and a great list of features that will provide you with the dashboard, list of executions and statistics, even let you ser limis on resources for each jobs, and create depenndencies between jobs.


Python and Pip are installed. To use python console, open workspace terminal and execute


install python package with pip, for

pip install pandas

If you are planning to work with python, we recommend to install IPython, that provides a rich toolkit to help you make the most of using Python interactively. Install and start ipython

pip install ipython


We recommend to use nodeenv to create different node environments.

For example, open workspace terminal, create folder npmgui, and activate environment with node v. 12.18.3 and npm v.6.0.0

cd /home
mkdir npmgui; cd npmgui
nodeenv --node=12.18.3 --npm=6.0.0 env

Let's install package and start node application

. env/bin/activate && npm i -g npm-gui

Open your browser on http://localhost:8030/

NOTE: If you close terminal, the application will stop. See how to start applications that reamin live after closing a workspace terminal

Run applications and services inside the workspace

If you want application to keep running after workspace terminal is closed start it with "&!" at the end.

For example, in the last section we started npm-gui tool with command npm-gui If you close the workspace terminal, this application witll stop running. To keep it running after terminal is closed, execute

npm-gui &!

Now, if you disconnect from the workspace and close terminal, the application will continue running in the workspace, untill workspace is stopped.

Manage workspaces

Workspace is just a docker container. You can start, stop, delete and do anything you can do with docker images and containers.

There are two concepts to keep in mind: images and containers. Images are workspace blueprints. For example, alnoda/mkdocs-magicspace - is an image. When you execute this command

docker run --name space-1 -d -p 8020-8035:8020-8035 alnoda/mkdocs-magicspace
you create container called space-1 from the image alnoda/mkdocs-magicspace. You can create any number of containers, but you need to map different ports to each of them.

Container - is your workspace. You can start, stop and delete them. You can run multiple workspace containers at the same time, or work with one workspace at a time.

From the workspace (which is a container) you can create new image. This is called commit docker image. Essentially, this means "take my workspace and create new image with all the changes I've done in my workspace"

Start and stop workspaces

The workspace started in daemon mode will continue working in the background.

See all the running docker containers

docker ps

Stop workspace

docker stop space-1 
Workspace is stopped. All the processes and cron jobs are not running.

See all docker conntainers, including stopped

docker ps -a

Start workspace again. Processes and cron jobs are resumed.

docker start space-1 

Delete workspace container (all work will be lost)

docker rm space-1 

Create new workspace image

Having made changes, you can commit them creating new image of the workspace. In order to create new workspace image with the name "space-image" and version "0.2" execute

docker commit space-1 space-image:0.2

Run new workspace with

docker run --name space2 -d space-image:0.2

The new workspace accommodates all the changes that you've made in your space-1. Hence you can have versions of your workspaces. Create different versions before the important changes.

Manage workspace images

See all docker images

docker images

Delete workspace image entirely

docker rmi -f alnoda/mkdocs-magicspace

NOTE: you cannot delete image if there is a running container created from it. Stop container first.

Save and load workspace images

After you commit workspace container, and create new image out of it, you can push it to your docker registry or save it in a file.

Save workspace in a file

Assuming you created new image space-image:0.4 from your workspace, you can save it as a tar file

docker save space-image:0.4 > space-image-0.4.tar

We can delete the image with

docker rmi -f space-image:0.4

And restore it from the tar file

docker load < space-image-0.4.tar

Push workspace to a registry

A better way to manage images is docker registries. You can use docker registries in multiple clouds. They are cheap annd very convenient.
Check out for example, Registry in DigitalOcean or in Scaleway container registry. There are more.

Pushing image to registry is merely 2 extra commands: 1) tag image; 2) push image

You will be able to pull image on any device, local or cloud.

Move workspace to the cloud

Ease of running workspace in cloud, and ability to move workspaces between local machine and remote server - is one of the main features of the workspace, and the reasonn why the workspace is entirely in docker.

It is often a case that experiment, which started on personal notebook require more computational resources, must be running for a long period of time, or executed periodically. All of these cases are the reasons to move a workspace to the cloud server. Usually it is a hassle, but this workspace can be moved to the remote server easily.

The easiest way to move workspace to the cloud is to get your private docker registry. Then moving a workspace from a laptop to a remote server is only 3 commands:

  1. Commit workspace to the a image
  2. Push workspace to your docker registry
  3. ssh to remote server, and run workspace there

If you don't want to use container registry, then there are 2 steps more involved:

  1. Commit workspace to the a image
  2. Save image to file
  3. Copy file to remote server. There are many options:
    • Launch filexchange workspace on the remote server
    • Use cyberduck
    • use scp
  4. Load workspace image from file on the remote server
  5. Start workspace on the remote server