Running CLI program with Docker

Recently, I have a change to work with Wordpress Plugin and I have to make it support i18n. I do not have wp-cli and i do not want to install it, as I am working for a consultant company, My stack has to change quite often from Java to NodeJs, and PHP.

My coworker showed me that I can run CLI program with an Docker image and docker run command.


docker run -it --rm -v "$(pwd)":/var/www/html wordpress:cli i18n make-pot . languages/my-plugin.pot --debug

In order to make the make-pot command work, we have to change location to the root folder of my-plugin


  • -it: Combination of -i and -t.
  • --rm: Automatically remove the container when it exits.
  • -v "$(pwd)":/var/www/html: On docker run, it runs inside an isolated container from our host, so we need to mount the current folder into the docker container, when the command completed, we will have result in our current directory. If we don’t mount, docker will run the command and keep the result in side a auto generated container and we won’t received anything.
  • wordpress:cli : is the docker image, we can search for a lot of images in DockerHub.
  • make-pot . languages/my-plugin.pot: it’s the command will run inside container, the paths . languages/my-plugin.pot are inside container.
  • --debug: to debug the process to generate POT file.


  • When mapping a directory to a container, you should check the WORKDIR of the image. E.g: the wp-cli image has WORKDIR at /var/www/html , also you can change the workdir in docker run command with -w