Getting started on Docker for Mac

The following will help you get started running a riff function with Knative on Docker Community Edition for Mac.


  1. install the latest release of docker for mac
  2. configure the cluster and enable kubernetes
  3. install Knative using the riff CLI
  4. create a function
  5. invoke the function

install docker

Kubernetes and the kubectl CLI are now included with Docker Community Edition for Mac. We recommend downloading the latest stable version.

download Docker edge for mac

configure the VM

Once Docker is installed and running, use the Preferences feature in the Docker menu to open advanced settings and configure your VM with 8GB of memory. Click on Apply & Restart. configure Docker VM

enable Kubernetes

Now enable Kubernetes, and wait for the cluster to start. enable Kubernetes

If you previously had minikube or GKE configured, switch your kubectl context to “docker-for-desktop”.

set context to docker-for-desktop

install the riff CLI

The riff CLI is available to download from our GitHub releases page. Once installed, check that the riff CLI version is 0.2.0 or later.

riff version
  riff cli: 0.2.0 (1ae190ff3c7edf4b375ee935f746ebfd1d8eaf5c)

At this point it is useful to monitor your cluster using a utility like watch. To install on a Mac

brew install watch

Watch pods in a separate terminal.

watch -n 1 kubectl get pod --all-namespaces

install Knative using the riff CLI

Install Knative, watching the pods until everything is running (this could take a couple of minutes). The --node-port option replaces LoadBalancer type services with NodePort.

riff system install --node-port

You should see pods running in namespaces istio-system, knative-build, knative-serving, and knative-eventing as well as kube-system when the system is fully operational.

NAMESPACE          NAME                                          READY     STATUS      RESTARTS   AGE
docker             compose-7447646cf5-x5fpz                      1/1       Running     0          2m
docker             compose-api-6fbc44c575-wj7ks                  1/1       Running     0          2m
istio-system       istio-citadel-84fb7985bf-jhr4g                1/1       Running     0          1m
istio-system       istio-cleanup-secrets-dqsrc                   0/1       Completed   0          1m
istio-system       istio-egressgateway-bd9fb967d-xwsd7           1/1       Running     0          1m
istio-system       istio-galley-655c4f9ccd-c9nv5                 1/1       Running     0          1m
istio-system       istio-ingressgateway-688865c5f7-zbflv         1/1       Running     0          1m
istio-system       istio-pilot-6cd69dc444-vh4b4                  2/2       Running     0          1m
istio-system       istio-policy-6b9f4697d-dhztf                  2/2       Running     0          1m
istio-system       istio-sidecar-injector-8975849b4-7l5v4        1/1       Running     0          1m
istio-system       istio-statsd-prom-bridge-7f44bb5ddb-7pxtw     1/1       Running     0          1m
istio-system       istio-telemetry-6b5579595f-gwvk2              2/2       Running     0          1m
istio-system       knative-ingressgateway-77b757d468-gwgt7       1/1       Running     0          21s
knative-build      build-controller-fcbf489cf-pn4xq              1/1       Running     0          22s
knative-build      build-webhook-7b4c9f7859-ws68j                1/1       Running     0          22s
knative-eventing   eventing-controller-796dff6c45-h69l9          1/1       Running     0          20s
knative-eventing   stub-clusterbus-dispatcher-5d5f6676b8-bxwhb   2/2       Running     0          17s
knative-eventing   webhook-77c768d6bd-s6t6k                      1/1       Running     0          20s
knative-serving    activator-c9f797bcc-7mvgw                     2/2       Running     0          21s
knative-serving    autoscaler-6c84dffc9c-vf9fq                   2/2       Running     0          21s
knative-serving    controller-86595ccbc8-jlvrr                   1/1       Running     0          21s
knative-serving    webhook-5c75665c54-42ndf                      1/1       Running     0          21s
kube-system        etcd-docker-for-desktop                       1/1       Running     0          1m
kube-system        kube-apiserver-docker-for-desktop             1/1       Running     0          1m
kube-system        kube-controller-manager-docker-for-desktop    1/1       Running     0          1m
kube-system        kube-dns-86f4d74b45-frdz7                     3/3       Running     0          2m
kube-system        kube-proxy-vcsnv                              1/1       Running     0          2m
kube-system        kube-scheduler-docker-for-desktop             1/1       Running     0          1m

initialize the namespace and provide credentials for pushing images to DockerHub

Use the riff CLI to initialize your namespace (if you plan on using a namespace other than default then substitute the name you want to use). This will create a serviceaccount and a secret with the provided credentials and install a buildtemplate. Replace the ??? with your docker username.

export DOCKER_ID=???
riff namespace init default --dockerhub $DOCKER_ID

You will be prompted to provide the password.

create a function

This step will pull the source code for a function from a GitHub repo, build a container image based on the node function invoker, and push the resulting image to your dockerhub repo.

riff function create square \
  --git-repo  \
  --image $DOCKER_ID/square \

If you’re still watching pods, you should see something like the following

NAMESPACE          NAME                 READY     STATUS      RESTARTS   AGE
default            square-00001-6qkjg   0/1       Init:3/4    0          11s

The 4 “Init” containers may take a while to complete the first time a function is built, but eventually that pod should show a status of completed, and a new square deployment pod should be running 3/3 containers.

NAMESPACE          NAME                                          READY     STATUS      RESTARTS   AGE
default            square-00001-6qkjg                            0/1       Completed   0          55s
default            square-00001-deployment-5f68cff465-dxfcj      3/3       Running     0          32s

invoke the function

riff service invoke square --text -- -w '\n' -d 8


curl -H 'Host:' -H 'Content-Type: text/plain' -w '\n' -d 8

delete the function

riff service delete square

uninstalling and reinstalling istio

One caveat with Docker for Mac is that it handles Kubernetes NodePorts differently from minikube. If you need to upgrade Knative, we recommend resetting the Kubernetes cluster first, and then reinstalling Knative. Not resetting Kubernetes can result in the knative-ingress becoming unreachable after a reinstall. Fortunately cached docker images are preserved when you reset Kubernetes.

reset Kubernetes using Preferences/Reset