Boost Docker Development Environment

License: BSL-1.0

Language: Shell

Boost Docker Development Environment (BDDE)

Provides a docker container for linux development of Boost that is easy to use.

This container provides all of the required and optional dependencies necessary to build boost completely, including documentation.


Branch Docker Hub Travis
master Build Status Build Status

Future Plans

  • Cross-compilation with gcc on the linux container. The goal is to work towards providing more continuous integration coverage options allowing systems such as Travis CI to simulate a sparc or vax build.

  • Support for a Visual Studio 2017 Build Tools environment is planned, enabling Windows containerized builds with all of the required and optional dependencies prepared.

Linux Development

Linux development is possible on any platform with a linux-capable docker container environment. The linux build container includes:

  1. All of the required and optional dependencies for boost repositories.
  2. All of the documentation build dependencies.
  3. A known good version of clang, currently 6.0. clang does not support side-by-side installation.
  4. Many known good versions of gcc, currently: 4.8.2, 5.x, 6.x, 7.3.0, 8.2.0.
  5. Both libstdc++ and libc++ are provided.
  6. Components for static code analysis (cppcheck, ubsan, valgrind).

BDDE will either use BOOST_ROOT, or determine it automatically based on your current working directory inside a boost source tree.

BDDE creates a docker container with the boost sources mounted into /boost, using a regular user named boost with a sudo password of boost. The use of a regular user ensures there are no root dependencies for building boost.


Pull or build the linux docker image:

user@ubuntu:~/bdde$ make image

Add the bin/linux path to your environment for example:

user@ubuntu:~/bdde$ export PATH=$(pwd)/bin/linux:$PATH

If you do not have the boost source tree locally, obtain it:

user@ubuntu:~$ bdde-clone

The entire boost source collection is downloaded into BOOST_ROOT, and the develop branch is checked out. Each sub-repository in libs/ and 'tools/' will be set to a detached head, with the git commit synchronized with the top level.

Now navigate to a location within your boost source tree and use bdde to jump into a docker container at that location where you can start a build.

user@ubuntu:~$ cd ~/boost
user@ubuntu:~/boost$ bdde

Now you are in the docker container. Anything you do inside the /boost directory will be preserved. Anything you do outside of the /boost directory is destroyed when you exit the docker container shell prompt.

Boost provides its own build system, Boost.Build, previously known as Boost Jam. You need to build it one time using the bootstrap shell script.

boost@47ee8d52a242:/boost$ ./


BDDE makes it easy to jump into and out of the docker build container. When you run bdde from a subdirectory in your BOOST_ROOT, the shell within the container is set to the same working directory. For example:

user@ubuntu:~/boost/libs/uuid$ bdde

The top level boost directory is added to your path inside the container allowing you to run b2 without using relative paths back to BOOST_ROOT. To build something inside the docker container shell, follow this example:

boost@47ee8d52a242:/boost/libs/uuid$ b2 -q -j3 variant=debug cxxstd=11

More information on building boost with Boost.Build can be found at:


BDDE provides a convenience to make it easy to run anything under UBSAN, for example an entire project:

boost@47ee8d52a242:/boost/libs/uuid$ ubsan -q -j3 cxxstd=03

or just one test:

boost@47ee8d52a242:/boost/libs/uuid$ cd test
boost@47ee8d52a242:/boost/libs/uuid/test$ ubsan -q -j3 cxxstd=11 test_uuid

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James E. King III

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