Developing with the CLI

You can use the wercker CLI during local development of your applications and microservices.

Similar to the wercker web platform, the wercker cli will spin up services in containers alongside the code you are writing. This not only increases development/production parity but also allows you to test experimental changes before you commit them.

wercker dev

The wercker dev command executes the dev pipeline designed for live development. Whereas the wercker build command a copy of your code is built inside a container in order to mitigate side effects, the dev command directly mounts your local directory inside the container.


During local development you often times want to reload your environment on code changes. The internal/watch step is a long-running step that does exactly that and goes hand in hand with the wercker dev command.

In order to use wercker dev and internal/watch you create a dev section in your wercker.yml file:

box: nodesource/trusty
    - npm-install
    - internal/watch:
        code: node app.js
        reload: true

In this example we set up a dev pipeline in which one initial step, npm-install is run to prepare the container’s environment and install the necessary dependencies.

Next, we use the internal/watch step to launch the application and through reload: true we reload the environment on file changes.

We run the development pipeline as follows:

wercker dev --publish 5000

We expose the port on which the application is listening such that we can see it action by browsing to your Docker host). If you are using boot2docker the IP is usually but we tell you the IP address of the host once the step is run.


Often times you want to inspect the state of a container between steps or tweak services running inside a container. The internal/shell step drops you into a shell of the running container and enables to you to look around and tweak things.

As with the internal/watch step, internal/shell goes hand in hand with the dev pipeline.

The example below showcases the internal/shell step when checking log entries:

box: nodesource/trusty
  - npm-install
  - internal/shell:
      cmd: /bin/sh  #defaults to /bin/bash
      code: |
        # some code to automatically run in your shell session
        # before you start interacting
        cd /var/log


To see which flags can be used to configure your development environment, please see options and flags.