Django won't refresh staticfiles

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This is annoying. I have a javascript file referenced on a django template:

 <script src="{% static 'js/login.js' %} "></script>

I made some changes to that js file. Then, I refresh the page and I can't see the changes happen.

If I remove the javascript from the file and put it in the HTML, it works correctly, but if I try to do it using the external js file then it doesn't. I have tried closing the server and running runserver several times, I've also tried changing from Firefox to Chrome. It makes no sense at all. Please help me understand, I can get away with including all the js inside the HTML but it bothers me that I can't do it the normal way anymore.

More details about this error (the #$&%# weirdest thing I've found):

The javascript is something like this:

old_sentence = "Dig that hole, forget the sun"  // this is what I want to change

new_sentence = "Run, rabbit, run"  // this is the new sentence, it just won't show up.

So, I changed the js and restart the server, still the html shows the old sentence. Then I deleted the reference to the login.js file and put all the js inside script tags in the HTML, of course, the new sentence appears. Then I include the login.js file, comment out the js inside the html BUT I delete all the content inside the login.js file, making it an empty file... but the old sentence still shows up. Therefore the old login.js file must be cashed somewhere I don't know. Then I open Chrome and try it all again, same problem.

What can it be? is there an option to force django to refresh staticfiles? I thought restarting the server was enough. .. should I reboot my computer? :/ lol.

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It sounds like both your browsers have the javascript file cached. In Chrome you can clear the cache by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Del and ticking just 'Cached images and files'. Firefox probably has a similar shortcut.

You can take a look at this question on tips to disable caching of static files on your development server altogether.

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You need to bust the browser cache. This template tag will output a time based uuid when DEBUG=True. Otherwise it will look for a PROJECT_VERSION environment variable. If that is not found it will output a static version number.

import os
import uuid
from django import template                                                                                                              
from django.conf import settings                                                                                                         

register = template.Library()                                                                                                            

def cache_bust():                                                                                                                        

    if settings.DEBUG:                                                                                                                   
        version = uuid.uuid1()                                                                                                           
        version = os.environ.get('PROJECT_VERSION')                                                                                       
        if version is None:                                                                                                              
            version = '1'                                                                                                                

    return '__v__={version}'.format(version=version)

You would use in a template like this:

{% load cache_bust %}

<link rel="stylesheet" href="{% static "css/project.css" %}?{% cache_bust %}"/>

and here is the resulting output:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="/static/css/project.css?__v__=7d88de4e-7258-11e7-95a7-0242ac130005"/>

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I have also struggled with this problem for hours. I have tried to inject random string using Javascript, but this method seems stupid and ugly-looking. One possible way to handle this problem is to introduce a custom tag. See this document for details:

Specifically, you need to create a package called templatetags in whatever apps you have created (or create a new one if you want). And you create any file in this package, and write something like this:

from django import template
from django.utils.crypto import get_random_string
from django.templatetags import static

register = template.Library()

class StaticExtraNode(static.StaticNode):

    def render(self, context):
        return super().render(context) + '?v=' + get_random_string(32)

def do_static_extra(parser, token):
    return StaticExtraNode.handle_token(parser, token)

def static_extra(path):
    return StaticExtraNode.handle_simple(path)

then you can use tag {% static_no_cache '.../.../path...' %} to create a path with random arguments!

I hope this would help!

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Instead of using complicated solutions you can add extra parameter to your includes in the templates.

For static includes:

<script src="{% static 'js/polls/polls.js' %}?version=1"></script>

For direct includes:

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="/site_media/css/style.css?version=1" />  

Note the ?version=1 in the code. Every time you're modifying the css/js file, change this version in the template, so browser will be forced to reload the file.

And if you want to avoid caching at all for some unknown reason, you may use the current timestamp instead of version:

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="/site_media/css/style.css?{% now "U" %}" />

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  • have you tried running python collectstatic? It sounds like you are modifying your working copy of the javascript and it is referencing the collected/out-of-date file.
  • Did you try Ctrl-F5 to refresh page with cache clearing ?
  • Thanks for your comments and your time. I already found the error, it was indeed a weird one. I found that django is pointing local environment staticfiles to the AWS Bucket that I use on deployment. So... running collectstatic is part of the solution I guess, the rest is re-configuring my staticfiles settings and somehow solving the AWS Bucket problem.
  • If you are using uwsgi with django, you may need to restart uwsgi to avoid getting old content being served
  • The first option won't work on the development environment. That last point is a good tip though, I was changing the actual file name until now, but that's much better :)
  • How would you add the random parameter to <script src="{% static 'js/login.js' %} "></script>?
  • Why would you want to clear all static files? Doesn't that mean you would have to reupload them?
  • This ruined my server! It deleted my entire git repository. Why is this the selected answer?
  • I tried your first method and it deleted all my static files -.-
  • No way , as a good programmer you don't want clients to refresh in this way :(
  • He's on a dev server using runserver. Static files are directly loaded from their original location, so collectstatic won't change anything.