Managing docker containers from the command line is actually very simple. Even so, there are many admins who much prefer a GUI tool to handle every task. No judging here. But when you need a GUI for your docker containers, where do you turn? One particular GUI tool is Simple Docker UI. This originally started as a Chrome App, but since Google announced it would be deprecating Chrome Apps, the developer opted to migrate this handy tool to a GUI that can be installed on Linux, Mac, and Windows.

Simple Docker UI features:

  • Garbage collection for unused images and containers
  • Remove Images or containers
  • Support for docker Swarm
  • Virtual terminal
  • Search/pull images from the docker Hub
  • Easy container deployment
  • Start/stop/delete/list containers
  • Manage Container Volumes and Environment
  • View docker events

I want to show you how to install this app and connect it to your docker server. I will be installing the UI on Elementary OS and connecting it to a Ubuntu 16.04 server running docker.

The app works via the docker remote API, so the first thing you must do is enable that on your docker server.

Enabling the remote API

The first thing you must do is enable the docker remote API. This is handled on your docker server. Log into your docker server, open up a terminal window, and issue the command:

sudo nano /lib/systemd/system/docker.service

Look for the following line:

ExecStart=/usr/bin/dockerd -H fd:// $DOCKER_OPTS

Modify that line to this:

ExecStart=/usr/bin/dockerd -H fd:// -H tcp://

Save and close that file. Now reload the systemctl daemon with the command:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload

Finally, restart the docker service with the command:

sudo service docker restart

docker user

There is one more issue that must be taken care of on the server. You have to be able to run docker commands without privilege, so add your standard user to the docker group with the command:

sudo usermod -aG docker $USER

Log out and log back in and you should be good to go.

Install the UI

Download the installer file for your system. As I mentioned, I’ll be demonstrating on Elementary OS, so the installation is as simple as running the following command (assuming you’ve saved the .deb file in ~/Downloads):

sudo dpkg -i ~/Downloads/SimpleDockerUI*.deb

Once the installation completes, you can run the GUI with the command SimpleDockerUI.

Using the UI

When you first run the UI, you will land on the Settings tab. This is where you make your connection to the docker server. Enter the IP address of your docker server with port 4243 (which is how we setup the API earlier) and click the Verify! Button (Figure A).

Figure A

Make sure to click the Save button before you move out of this window, otherwise you’ll have to create the connection the next time you open the app. You can have as many connections as you need (so connect Simple Docker UI to all of your docker servers).

At this point you can click on the Images tab, pull an image, click on the image (once it has downloaded), click the Deploy button, configure the container options (Figure B), and click Run to deploy the container.

Figure B

docker containers made easy

You’d be hard-pressed to find a tool that makes working with docker containers any easier than Simple Docker UI. This handy GUI should be considered a must-try for any docker administrator.