Running the local server in development mode

Geographic visualisation tool for bat recordings with GAUNO data, eg from Wildlife Acoustics

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Running the local server in development mode

To run with a server that responds instantly to changes in files, whether backend, frontend or static, you’ll need to use the Django development server.

To configure this, follow the steps in Running the local server fully once is a good idea to make sure that everything’s working before you start tweaking.

Once you’ve done that, stop the server with a few control-C’s and continue below:

Firstly, run up the docker environment without starting the Apache server:

host$ ./ bash
### Checking for rebuild...
Sending build context to Docker daemon  4.655kB
Step 1/19 : FROM ubuntu:18.04
 ---> 7698f282e524
Step 19/19 : CMD /root/
 ---> Using cache
 ---> 71b5da5d7b46
Successfully built 71b5da5d7b46
Successfully tagged pyserver:latest

### Running container, mounting current directory at /var/www
(venv) root@3b654280392e:/var/www# 

This won’t fetch any libraries, import any audio files or start a web server; it’ll just open the container with a bash shell, with the virtualenv activated.

IMPORTANT The virtualenv inside the container is transient; it’ll need rebuilding when you start the container. It’s found in /var/venv on the container.

While developing, you’ll probably want to create a different virtualenv native to your host, to hold libraries for code completion. Mixing up the two is a great way of getting confused.

To build the project or import files, consult the command-line setup section of

The command you’ll need to get the dependencies and set up files for the development environment is make rebuild.

Run a web server in the container

To run a server, you have two choices:

Run the django development server, which will respond instantly to most file changes, but fails to play the audio in some browsers (it doesn’t supply the Range headers that Safari insists on for WAVs)

DJANGO_DEBUG=1 make runserver

To run apache, which won’t respond to file changes but better simulates the production environment:

DJANGO_DEBUG=1 /usr/sbin/apache2ctl -D FOREGROUND

Both of these should make the site available on your host at

Manually built files

There are a few files that aren’t managed directly by the development server:

  • The LESS file at tracemap/static/tracemap/css/recordings.less needs to be recompiled after editing. make site_css can do that.

  • The URL router used by the javascript frontend also has to be manually rebuilt if tracemap/ Use make collect_static for that.

If you’ve run the make install phase on your host as well as in the container, these can be run in either location.

To get a second shell in the container without stopping the webserver (to run any make or tasks), run docker exec -it batbox bash