Orbs vs custom images

What’s the difference between Orbs and custom images in terms of performance? Will orbs still execute installation of packages or is “Orb” a fancy name for a pre-build image?

Hi @estahn, please see our documentation:

Orbs let you abstract out and encapsulate CircleCI configuration syntax, to save you time and make your config.yml files simpler and more concise.

You could use an orb to build a custom Docker image, but Orbs themselves don’t necessarily have anything to do with custom Docker images.

That said, building a custom Docker image for your jobs is always a good idea IMO :slight_smile:

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Hi @rose, I did read the documentation and it wasn’t all that clear to me. We already have a CircleCI “templating” solution based on some Makefiles + gomplate to share common steps across all our repositories. But it’s good to see some official way to do this now.

I was imagining an Orb to be a pre-built image with all the assets already available. Which avoids settings up custom images and registry management etc.

Anyways, thanks for your explanation.


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Glad I could help! @estahn

To be fair, there’s a lot of overlap here even though they aren’t precisely the same things. For example, we want to create an orb to encapsulate this Dockerfile wizard we created awhile back:

So Orbs can definitely help to easily create custom images!