Upgrading docker-compose on Mac (and using profiles)

March 28, 2021

A few weeks back, I needed to use the “profiles” feature that was annouced as part of docker-compose Release 1.28.0. However, I was running an older version of docker-compose.

Given that the only way to run docker upgrades on MacOS is via Docker for Mac, I thought upgrading my Docker for Mac app would get me the latest version.

Unfortunately, the Docker for Mac app was showing “No updates available”.

To resolve this, I had to manually download the latest installer for Docker for Mac from the Release Page, and run it.

Upon installation completion, the docker-compose version was now at 1.28.5 (latest version), and I could use the “profiles” feature.

(During re-installation, if prompted to “Replace” the existing app, accept it. Data will not be overwritten).

A Note about docker-compose Profiles

The new profiles feature is a great improvement to docker-compose. It enables “tagging” of different services in a docker-compose file, allowing you to only bring up specific services when you run docker-compose up.

Profiles come in handy in applications that may have multiple sub-modules which have different dependencies.

For example, take the docker-compose file below:

version: "3.9"
    image: cassandra:latest
    # ... other Cassandra configs
      - module-a
    image: confluentinc/cp-kafka:latest
    # ... other Kafka configs
      - module-b
    image: mariadb:latest
    # ... other MariaDB configs
      - module-c

It defines a configuration for a multi-module application setup, whereby:

  • Module A needs Cassandra
  • Module B needs Kafka
  • Module C needs Maria DB

When doing development on Module C, it may not be necessary to bring up the Cassandra & Kafka services; therefore, we can bring up only “mariadb” by adding the --profile flag:

$ docker-compose up --profile module-c

Upon execution, only the "mariadb" service will be brought up, allowing you to preserve resources that might have been potentially lying idle.

The docker-compose documentation has an excellent guide on using Profles, check it out to learn more: Using profiles with Compose

In this blog post, we demonstrated how to upgrade your docker-compose on MacOS in case you’re unable to see an update for Docker for Mac.
We also highlighted the docker-compose “profiles” feature, and how you can use it to selectively bring up services.

Happy coding, and stay safe!