Thank you for your feedback!

From what I know, you can use it locally without docker at all or use it with docker-compose and mapping if you wish to.
I did it like this because I wanted it to work without the need for the user to install anything on their computer (as I've made a c# and a java version too, it seemed easier to preinstall everything to have a clone and go github).

You can use VSCode with IRIS and IRIS Python / Embedded Python, for that I recommend you to check https://github.com/grongierisc/interoperability-embedded-python which is a proof of concept aiming to show how the iris interoperability framework can be used with embedded python while coding inside a container.

If you have any more questions don't hesitate !