Incompatible hardware is a common cause of application failures for distributed teams. Most teams depend on containerization tools like Docker to prevent these failures. But is there any way to automate the deployment of Docker images more efficiently and intuitively?

In this article, I will show you how simple it is to do this by combining CircleCI and Microsoft Azure to build a CI/CD pipeline for a Dockerized Spring Boot project.


In addition to a basic understanding of Java and Spring Boot, you will need the following to get the most from this tutorial:

Cloning the demo project

Clone the sample project by running the following command. The sample project is an exchange rate API with three endpoints namely:

S/N Endpoint Method Function
1. /currency GET Get all currencies supported by the API
2. /rates GET Get all the exchange rates for all the supported currencies
3. /rates/{currency} GET Get the exchange rates for a single currency
git clone

Next, go to the root of the new folder created by the previous command (i.e spring-docker-api). Set up and run the project by running the following commands.

cd spring-docker-api

mvn -B -DskipTests clean package

mvn spring-boot:run

The mvn -B -DskipTests clean package command will clear the target directory if existed, builds the project and skip test during the build. Finally, the mvn spring-boot:run command will run the project on the default port.

By default, your application will be served to port 8080. Navigate to in order to review the JSON response.

Running application locally

Dockerizing the project

In the root of the project, create a new file named Dockerfile. Note that this file has no extension. Add the following to the newly created Dockerfile.

FROM openjdk:18

COPY . /app

RUN ./mvnw  -B -DskipTests clean package


CMD ["java", "-jar", "target/exchangeRates-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT.jar"]

The FROM key specifies the base image for the container (OpenJDK). Next, the working directory is set using the WORKDIR key. All the files in the project will be copied to the app and then using the maven wrapper script a new JAR file will be built. Next, port 8080 is exposed for external connections and the command to run the application is specified using the CMD key.

To build the container, run the following command.

docker build -t exchange-rate-api .

If you are on a MacBook Pro with an Apple M1 Pro chip, kindly use the following command to build your image.

docker build --platform=linux/amd64 -t exchange-rate-api .

This command used the --platform argument to specify the target architecture that will run the image on Azure. This is a known issue and you can read more about it here.

Once the build process is completed, you can restart the application using the following command - if you did not stop the application previously, you can do so now to avoid port conflicts.

docker run -it -p 8080:8080 exchange-rate-api

This command maps port 8080 on the container to port 8080 on your workstation and runs the image. Go to again for the JSON response.

Deploying to Azure

Deploying the application to Azure involves two steps. First, you will build a docker image of your application and push it to the Azure Container Registry. Once that is completed you will create a new Web App which is based on the Docker image you created.

Creating an Azure Container Registry

If you do not have one already, create an account on Azure. Navigate to the Azure portal dashboard and click Create a resource.

Create Azure Service

Then select Containers > Container Registry to create a new registry.

Create azure registry

On the registry creation page, input the required details for the registry, similar to what we have below.

Create container registry

Click Review + Create and you will be redirected to a page where you can review the registry information. Once you are good with it, click Create to set up a new registry instance.

Obtaining Access Key from the Registry

In this section, you will enable Docker access in the Azure container registry. This is crucial to the deployment process as it enables you to remotely log in to the Azure container registry through the CLI and be able to push images to it.

To do that, once the registry resources have been created successfully, open it and locate the Access Keys link under the Settings section.

Obtaining Access Key

This will show you the registry name and login server. Enable the Admin user using the toggle button. Once enabled, copy the username and any of the passwords, preferably the first one. Keep this safe as it will be used later in the tutorial.

Pushing the Docker image to Azure Registry

The next step is to tag the image you created in the previous step, before pushing it to the registry. For the tag, use the login server and registry name as shown in the command below.

docker tag exchange-rate-api

The next step is to log in to the Azure container registry created earlier and push the container image to it. Issue the following command from the terminal for that purpose:

docker login -u DOCKER_USER -p DOCKER_PASS

Replace the following placeholders with appropriate values:

  • DOCKER_USER: The username obtained for the container registry
  • DOCKER_PASS: The password from the container registry.

Once you are logged in, use the following command to push the image to the Azure registry.

docker push

This will deploy the image to the Azure registry:

View Azure Registry

Creating an Azure Web App for the container

Next, you will create an Azure Web App and connect it with the container image. Navigate to the Azure portal homepage and click Create a resource.

Then select Containers > Web App for Containers to create a new web app service instance.

Create Container Web App

You will be redirected to the Create Web App page. Select an Azure subscription and a resource group, create a new resource group if you have not done that, and name your Web App as preferred. I have named mine spring-docker-api-demo. Docker container should be selected by default, otherwise, select it.

Create Web app

Next, click on the Docker tab and select the image source and its respective docker image.

Docker Tab

Click Review + Create and you will be redirected to a page where you can review the web app details. Once you are good with it, click Create to set up a new Azure web app.

Once the process is completed, you can visit the URL generated for your application, you will be able to view the app as deployed to Azure. The URL is in this format https://<APP_NAME> Ensure that you replace the APP_NAME placeholder as defined above. You will see a page similar to the following:

App deployed

Enabling continuous deployment

To ensure that the app will receive the update each time your Docker image is updated, you need to enable continuous deployment for the web app service. To do that, click on the web app name and then click on Deployment Center under the Deployment section and scroll down. Under the settings tab and turn on continuous deployment by checking the radio button. Click Save to persist the changes.

Enable continuous deployment

With continuous deployment selected, the web app will trigger a new deployment of the application each time the Docker image is rebuilt on Azure Container Registry.

Next, you need to add the pipeline configuration for CircleCI to automate testing and run the appropriate commands to build and push the container image to Azure.

At the root of your project, open the config.yml file within the .circleci folder and update its content with the following:

version: 2.1
  docker: circleci/docker@2.1.4
      - image: cimg/openjdk:19.0.1
      - checkout
      - run:
          name: Build
          command: mvn -B -DskipTests clean package
      - run:
          name: Test
          command: mvn test

      name: docker/docker
      tag: "3.6"
      - checkout
      - docker/install-docker-tools
      - setup_remote_docker:
          version: 20.10.14
          docker_layer_caching: true

      - run:
          name: "Build and push Docker image"
          command: |
            docker login -u $DOCKER_USER -p $DOCKER_PASS
            docker build -t .
            docker push

      - build-and-test
      - deploy-docker-image:
            - build-and-test

Let’s look through the configuration and understand what is going on.

The CircleCI configuration always starts with the version. For this article, we use version 2.1.

The next part of the configuration specifies two different jobs:

  • build-and-test
  • deploy-docker-image

The build-and-test job uses the CircleCI Open JDK docker image as the base image, checks out our project from GitHub, installs the project’s dependencies, builds the application, and runs the tests.

The deploy-docker-image job creates a Docker image for the code pulled from the GitHub repository and updates the Azure Container Registry with the latest version of the container. The requires key specifies that the deploy-docker-image should not run until the build-and-test job is complete.

Connecting the application to CircleCI

The next step is to set up a repository on GitHub and link the project to CircleCI. Review Pushing a project to GitHub for instructions.

Log in to your CircleCI account. If you signed up with your GitHub account, all your repositories will be available on your project’s dashboard.

Click Set Up Project next to your spring-docker-api project.

Select project

You will be prompted to enter the name of the branch where your code is housed on GitHub. Click Set Up Project once you are done.

Setup project

Your first workflow will start running.

The deploy-docker-image job will fail because we are yet to provide our Azure Container Registry credentials.

To fix that, you will need to add username and password environment variables. Click Project Settings.

Click the Environment Variables button on the left sidebar and create these variables:

  • The DOCKER_USER variable is the username obtained for the container registry
  • The DOCKER_PASS variable is the password from the container registry

Env Variables

Go back to the dashboard. Click Rerun Workflow from Start.

Your workflow will run successfully.

Workflow runs successfully

To make sure that everything works properly, let’s make an update to the application. For this, we’ll add a new supported currency to the application.

Update the expectedCurrencies array in src/test/java/com/example/exchangeRates/ to match the following.

final String[] expectedCurrencies = {"EUR", "GBP", "NGN", "USD", "YEN", "CFA"};

In the same vein, update the supportedCurrencies array in src/main/java/com/example/exchangeRates/service/

final String[] supportedCurrencies = {"EUR", "GBP", "NGN", "USD", "YEN", "CFA"};

Next, commit and push the changes to your GitHub repository.

git commit -am "Add support for CFA"

git push origin main

Head back to your CircleCI dashboard and you will see that a new build has been completed.

New build completed

You can also open the appropriate URL in your browser to see the rates for the new currency.

Release updates


In this article, we looked at how to Dockerize a Spring Boot API and implement a CI/CD pipeline for the application. I also showed you how simple it is to release updates once the pipeline is in place. This makes the process of managing an application more efficient as the team can focus more on the application instead of the infrastructure for managing the application.

I hope that you found this tutorial helpful. Check here for the complete source code for the project.

Oluyemi is a tech enthusiast with a background in Telecommunication Engineering. With a keen interest in solving day-to-day problems encountered by users, he ventured into programming and has since directed his problem solving skills at building software for both web and mobile. A full stack software engineer with a passion for sharing knowledge, Oluyemi has published a good number of technical articles and blog posts on several blogs around the world. Being tech savvy, his hobbies include trying out new programming languages and frameworks.

Read more posts by Olususi Oluyemi