Blair Nangle

Debugging a Docker Compose Spring Boot app with IntelliJ

Just show me the code.


Using IntelliJ, debug a running Spring Boot app that was launched with Docker Compose (and create a bare-bones, reliable example).


Following the JetBrains tutorial resulted in a bloated solution that worked inconsistently.


  • Create a separate Docker Compose file for the debug configuration: docker-compose-debug.yml
  • Note the additional port exposure and environment variables
  • Also note that for this simple example we are fine to share a Dockerfile between standard and debug configurations
  • Create a “Remote JVM Debug configuration” (if you cloned the associated repo, this should already be present in IntelliJ):


  • Run the Docker Compose file—I have created a convenience script,, that ensures source code changes are always included
  • Attach the aforementioned debugger:


  • Add a breakpoint:


  • Hit the endpoint to see it work! E.g.,
curl -v localhost:8080