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The Basics

In this chapter we will cover the basic concepts of the Development Environment Manager (DEM).

What is a Development Environment?

A set of software tools used for a specific development project is called a Development Environment. These tools for example can be the build system, debugger, test framework, etc...

A Container Image

To put it simply, a container image is a set of software components alongside its dependencies, which can be run in a container.

A Tool Container Image

The idea is to build the tools from a Development Environment into their own respective images, so they can run isolatedly.

Development Environment Descriptor

Each Development Environment has a descriptor. A descriptor, like a blueprint, indicates which tools are required in the project, and the place their container images are stored.

Dev Env descriptor

Container Engine

The container engine is responsible for running the container images. The DEM uses the Docker Container Engine to run the tool images.

Registry and Repository

A registry serves as a storage for the tool images, where they can be kept without occupying space on the developer's computer. This storage enables convenient sharing of images with others, ensuring uniform tool usage among all collaborators on the same project. When an image is uploaded to a registry, it initiates the creation of a repository. This repository is responsible for keeping track of the various versions of the image.


An image repository stores the different versions of the same image.
An image registry is a collection of image repositories.

The DEM also uses registries in the background to store the tool images. To list the currently available registries use the dem list-reg command. The dem add-reg and dem del-reg commands can be used to add or delete registries.


The DEM supports the Docker Hub and Docker Registry

If you'd like to request support for other registry types, please create a new descussion.

Development Environment Catalogs

A catalog is a collection of Development Environment descriptors.
The DEM can handle multiple catalogs. To list the currently available ones use the dem list-cat command. The dem add-cat and dem del-cat commands can be used to add or delete catalogs.


axem has its own catalog, which is available by default.

The users can browse these catalogs, and download a copy of the Development Environment descriptor to their local catalog.


Development Platform

The registries, the catalogs, and the whole development infrastructure are part of the Development Platform.