Reference documentation

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This section includes the reference documentation for the Docker platform’s various APIs, CLIs, and file formats.

File formats

File format Description
Dockerfile Defines the contents and startup behavior of a single container
Compose file Defines a multi-container application

Command-line interfaces (CLIs)

CLI Description
Docker CLI The main CLI for Docker, includes all docker commands
Compose CLI The CLI for Docker Compose, which allows you to build and run multi-container applications
Daemon CLI (dockerd) Persistent process that manages containers

Application programming interfaces (APIs)

API Description
Engine API The main API for Docker, provides programmatic access to a daemon
Registry API Facilitates distribution of images to the engine
Template API Allows users to create new Docker applications by using a library of templates.

Drivers and specifications

Driver Description
Image specification Describes the various components of a Docker image
Registry token authentication Outlines the Docker registry authentication scheme
Registry storage drivers Enables support for given cloud providers when storing images with Registry