Pipelines as code with Dagger

By James Thomas

Elevator Pitch

I’ve been a big fan of using Docker in build pipelines for many years. It’s made it easier for me to debug build steps locally, but it doesn’t go far enough. Dagger–a new OSS project from the creators of Docker–aims to take it further; allowing us to build full pipelines that can run locally.


Dagger is really neat. I’ve been keeping an eye on it since it’s first non-alpha release at the beginning of 2022. It’s goal is to allow us to easily build CI/CD pipelines that can be debugged locally, while also taking advantage of a number of benefits it borrows from Docker. Since then I’ve been working with it on my side projects and am becoming more convinced that this is a tool worth using. In my talk I’ll walk through all the cool tricks Dagger has, how it differs from other Pipelines as code approaches, and some of the key gotchas. At the end of my talk you should have a solid idea of whether or not Dagger is something you should consider adding to your toolkit.


I don’t have any technical requirements here. It’ll just be a typical ignite talk slideshow like I’ve given at past DevOpsDays Dallas events. As for why I’m the best person to speak on this subject: I’m probably not THE best. However, I have been working heavily with CI/CD systems for the past 7 years or so, and have been interested in them for the entirety of my 15+ year career. I’ve worked with Jenkins, TeamCity, GitLab, GitHub Actions, Azure DevOps, Travis, Circle CI, and a few others that aren’t around anymore. Build systems are my jam, and I love finding new and interesting ways to streamline the build, deployment, and release process. I get a little giddy when I find ways to shave minutes off of build times. I may have a problem, honestly.