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Docker Compose

Tilt can use docker-compose to orchestrate your services (instead of Kubernetes). This doc describes how you can get Tilt’s UX for your Docker Compose project using the same config and tools plus a one-line Tiltfile. (This is simpler than the config for Kubernetes projects described in the Tutorial.)


Tilt provides a better User Experience in two ways:

  • Tilt’s UI shows you status at a glance, so errors can’t scroll off-screen. You can navigate the UI in your terminal and dig into the logs for just one service. (Tilt also has a global log if you do want the full firehose).
  • Tilt handles filesystem watching and updating without requiring manual actions or hand-rolled scripting.

Most of our documentation describes using Tilt to deploy to Kubernetes, but it’s not worth switching to Kubernetes just for Tilt’s UX. For Docker Compose projects, Tilt uses Docker Compose as a backend. This allows you to use your existing configuration, debugging tricks, and muscle memory while getting a better UX.

Tiltfile for Docker Compose

# point Tilt at the existing docker-compose configuration.


Our Docker Compose support is newer than (and largely separate from) Tilt’s Kubernetes support. You may hit more/different bugs, which we want to fix – please file issues or tell us in Slack.

Docker Compose Under The Hood

Tilt uses Docker Compose to run your services, so you can also use docker-compose to examine state outside Tilt.

Use the Tutorial

Now the Tutorial should take 5 minutes to see your project in Tilt’s UX.