Microsoft is letting programmers manage the cloud's hottest technology -- in 'Minecraft'

Developers love Docker, the superhot software from the $US1 billion startup that shares the same name, because it lets them package their code up in a tidy metaphorical box that makes it easier to shunt around and run anywhere.

Today, at a Dockercon event in Barcelona, Microsoft showed off a way to make that metaphor a little more literal with “Dockercraft” — a free download that lets developers manage their Docker containers in “Minecraft,” the smash hit game that Microsoft bought for $US2.5 billion.

Dockercraft was first showed off at June’s Dockercon in San Francisco as a joke, but today Microsoft released it as open source on GitHub — meaning that it’s a free download to which any programmer in the world can tweak and improve to their liking.

The video tells the tale: 

It’s not really practical to run around in Minecraft to manage Docker containers, versus other, more robust tools that are actually, you know, not based on a video game. And you’ll need to buy the full $US26.99 version of Minecraft for the PC to use Dockercraft.

But it is a cool little project from Microsoft, which has spent much of the last year hyping up the fact that its Azure cloud computing platform supports Docker with a bunch of tools designed to make life easier for the developers who love it. In fact, thanks to Docker, Microsoft is working with some of its most bitter enemies to help 
define a standard for software containers.

For its part, Docker is a hot startup that recently raised $US95 million in a round that reportedly valued it at over $US1 billion, a tough valuation milestone to reach for any enterprise company.

Docker solomon hykesDockerDocker Founder and CTO Solomon Hykes

Developers like Docker because it lets them write code on their laptop and then have it run exactly the same way in data centres and big public cloud environments, without having to worry about having to tweak anything to make it run differently.

Docker-the-company makes its cash by providing a set of premium enterprise services and support on top of the free Docker-the-technology software containers.

 

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