Build your first application

In this section we will show you how you can create a Docker dapp over the iExec infrastructure.


In this guide, we will prepare an iExec app based on an existing docker image and we will run it on iExec decentralized infrastructure.

Tutorial Steps :

Understand what is an iExec decentralized application?

iExec leverage Docker containers to ensure the execution of your application on a decentralized infrastructure. iExec supports Linux-based docker images.

Why using Docker containers?

  • Docker Engine is the most widely used container engine.

  • A Docker container image is a standard unit of software that packages up code and all its dependencies so the application runs quickly and reliably from one computing environment to another. This allows for computations to be run on any worker connected to the decentralized infrastructure.

  • Docker also enables the creation of new layers on top of existing images. This allows for any iExec apps to be easily built on top of existing docker images.

What kind of application can I build on iExec?

Today you can run any application as a task. This means services are not supported for now.

Build your app

Create the folder tree for your application in ~/iexec-projects/.

cd ~/iexec-projects
mkdir hello-world-app
cd hello-world-app
mkdir src
touch Dockerfile

Write the app

For demo purposes, we omitted some development best practices in these examples.

Make sure to check your field's best practices before going to production.

The following examples only feature Javascript and Python use cases for simplicity concerns but remember that you can run on iExec anything which is Dockerizable.

Copy the following content in src/ .

const fsPromises = require("fs").promises;
const figlet = require("figlet");

(async () => {
  try {
    const iexecOut = process.env.IEXEC_OUT;
    // Do whatever you want (let's write hello world here)
    const message = process.argv.length > 2 ? process.argv[2] : "World";

    const text = figlet.textSync(`Hello, ${message}!`); // Let's add some art for e.g.
    // Append some results in /iexec_out/
    await fsPromises.writeFile(`${iexecOut}/result.txt`, text);
    // Declare everything is computed
    const computedJsonObj = {
      "deterministic-output-path": `${iexecOut}/result.txt`,
    await fsPromises.writeFile(
  } catch (e) {

As a developer, make it a rule to never log sensitive information in your application. Execution logs are accessible by:

  • worker(s) involved in the task

  • the workerpool manager

  • the requester of the task

Dockerize your app

Copy the following content in Dockerfile .

FROM node:14-alpine3.11
### install your dependencies if you have some
RUN mkdir /app && cd /app && npm install figlet@1.x
COPY ./src /app
ENTRYPOINT [ "node", "/app/app.js"]

Build the docker image.

iExec expects your Docker container to be built for the linux/amd64 platform. However, if you develop on a MacBook Pro with the M1 processor, the platform is linux/arm64, which is different. To prepare your application, you will need to install buildkit and then prepare your docker image for both platforms.

brew install buildkit
# ARM64 variant for local testing only
docker buildx build --platform linux/arm64 -t <docker-hub-user>/hello-world .
# AMD64 variant to deploy on iExec
docker buildx build --platform linux/amd64 -t <docker-hub-user>/hello-world .
docker build --tag hello-world .

docker build produce an image id, using --tag <name> option is a convenient way to name the image to reuse it in the next steps.

Congratulations you built your first docker image for iExec!

Test your app locally

Basic test

Create local volumes to simulate input and output directories.

mkdir /tmp/iexec_in
mkdir /tmp/iexec_out

Run your application locally (container volumes bound with local volumes).

docker run --rm \
    -v /tmp/iexec_in:/iexec_in \
    -v /tmp/iexec_out:/iexec_out \
    -e IEXEC_IN=/iexec_in \
    -e IEXEC_OUT=/iexec_out \
    hello-world arg1 arg2 arg3

docker run [options] image [args]

docker run usage:

docker run [OPTIONS] IMAGE [COMMAND] [ARGS...]

Use [COMMAND] and [ARGS...] to simulate the requester arguments

useful options for iExec:

-v : Bind mount a volume. Use it to bind input and output directories (/iexec_in and /iexec_out)

-e: Set environnement variable. Use it to simulate iExec Runtime variables

Test with input files

Starting with the basic test you can simulate input files.

For each input file:

  • Copy it in the local volume bound to /iexec_in .

  • Add -e IEXEC_INPUT_FILE_NAME_x=NAME to docker run options (x is the index of the file starting by 1 and NAME is the name of the file)

Add -e IEXEC_INPUT_FILES_NUMBER=n to docker run options (n is the total number of input files).

Example with two inputs files:

touch /tmp/iexec_in/file1 && \
touch /tmp/iexec_in/file2 && \
docker run \
    -v /tmp/iexec_in:/iexec_in \
    -v /tmp/iexec_out:/iexec_out \
    -e IEXEC_IN=/iexec_in \
    -e IEXEC_OUT=/iexec_out \
    -e IEXEC_INPUT_FILE_NAME_1=file1 \
    -e IEXEC_INPUT_FILE_NAME_2=file2 \
    hello-world \
    arg1 arg2 arg3

Test your app on iExec

Push your app to Dockerhub

Login to your Dockerhub account.

docker login

Tag your application image to push it to your dockerhub public repository.

docker tag hello-world <docker-hub-user>/hello-world:1.0.0

replace <docker-hub-user> with your docker user name

Push the image to Dockerhub.

docker push <docker-hub-user>/hello-world:1.0.0

Congratulations, your app is ready to be deployed on iExec!

Deploy your app on iExec

You already learned how to deploy the default app on iExec in the previous tutorial.

Go back to the iexec-project folder.

cd ~/iexec-projects/

You will need a few configurations in iexec.json to deploy your app:

  • Replace app name with your application name (display only)

  • Replace app multiaddr with your app image download URI (should looks like<docker-hub-user>/hello-world:1.0.0)

  • Replace app checksum with your application image checksum (see tip below)

The checksum of your app is the sha256 digest of the docker image prefixed with 0x , you can use the following command to get it.

docker pull <docker-hub-user>/hello-world:1.0.0 | grep "Digest: sha256:" | sed 's/.*sha256:/0x/'

Deploy your app on iExec

iexec app deploy

Verify the deployed app (name, multiaddr, checksum, owner)

iexec app show

Run your app on iExec

iexec app run --workerpool debug-v8-bellecour.main.pools.iexec.eth --watch

Using arguments:

You can pass arguments to the app using --args <args> option.

With --args "dostuff --with-option" the app will receive ["dostuff", "--with-option"] as process args.

Using input files:

You can pass input files to the app using --input-files <list of URL> option.

With --input-files, the iExec worker will download the files before running the app in IEXEC_IN, and let the app access them throug variables:

  • file-A.txt asIEXEC_INPUT_FILE_NAME_1


Once the run is completed copy the taskid from iexec app run output to download and check the result

iexec task show <taskid> --download my-app-result  \
    && unzip -d my-app-result

Congratulations your app successfully ran on iExec!

Access to app and task logs on iExec

Sometimes things don't work out right the first time and you may need to Debug your tasks.

Publish your app on the iExec marketplace

iexec app publish

Congratulations your application is now available on iExec!

What's next?

In this tutorial you learned about the key concepts for building an app on iExec:

  • iExec app inputs and outputs

  • iExec app must produce a computed.json file (required for the proof of execution)

  • using docker to package your app with all its dependencies

  • testing an iExec app locally

  • publishing on dockerhub


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