yet another blog.

October 30, 2007

How to debug django web application with autoreload.

Filed under: Uncategorized — bear330 @ 8:02 am


If you are a django newbie and want to develop django application in pydev, see this article first: Configuring pydev to work with django.

This post will focus on how to debug django without –noreload option.

Configuring pydev to work with django this article mentioned that:

“If you want to keep the auto-reloader and still debug, you’ll have to use the remote debugger that comes with the extensions to debug, as it does not rely on having the process started from Eclipse. Check for more details.”

I tried it and feel it is a very bad way to debug django application. I use auto reload feature because its dynamic and convenient. But if follow the article to do that, I must insert a line: “import pydevd; pydevd.settrace()” in my source code to set a breakpoint. How silly of this way? If I want to trace the source code in django itself, I must modify the source code of django just for a breakpoint. What if I forget to remove this line…?

Ok, you can give it up that, debug django with –noreload option, not really bad, right? This is true if your web application do not need to login. Every time my partner debug its code, he must change the code, restart django server and login again, then to see the result and do real debug. Restart and login again is a redundant operation in debugging and very wasting time (I know I can use some automation tool such as Selenium to reduce my pain, but it is also inconvenient). The django’s charming productivity is gone.

After some digging into source code of django and pydev, I found a easy way to debug django in pydev with autoreload feature. This way is also using pydev extension’s remote debugger, but the annoy operation which inserts a “import pydevd; pydevd.settrace()” is no more needed. You can set a breakpoint like before and debug it with autoreload feature. The django’s productivity is back!

How to do that? This is simple, you must modify your and insert these code:
(This code requires pydevd module, please see Configuring pydev to work with django to know where to find it.)

    if settings.DEBUG and (command == "runserver" or command == "testserver"):

        # Make pydev debugger works for auto reload.
            import pydevd
        except ImportError:
            sys.stderr.write("Error: " +
                "You must add org.python.pydev.debug.pysrc to your PYTHONPATH.")

        from django.utils import autoreload
        m = autoreload.main
        def main(main_func, args=None, kwargs=None):
            import os
            if os.environ.get("RUN_MAIN") == "true":
                def pydevdDecorator(func):
                    def wrap(*args, **kws):
                        return func(*args, **kws)
                    return wrap
                main_func = pydevdDecorator(main_func)

            return m(main_func, args, kwargs)

        autoreload.main = main

This code overrides the django’s autoreload behavior to make pydev can communicate with it. The knowledge behind it is a little complex, so I don’t explain it in here.

If you want to debug without –noreload, you must start remote debugger first, then run django server in pydev (no matter debug mode or not). Eclipse will suspend while it run on your breakpoints. You can modify code and do not need to restart django server to debug it. Try it!


  1. Thanks a lot of this mini guide. It was very helpful. Everything works as expected, but I keep getting this warning when doing a normal “ runserver” in eclipse while the pydev remote debug server is running:

    sys.settrace() should not be used when the debugger is being used.
    This may cause the debugger to stop working correctly.
    If this is needed, please check:
    to see how to restore the debug tracing back correctly.
    Call Location:
    File “/Applications/eclipse/plugins/org.python.pydev.debug_1.3.10/pysrc/”, line 743, in settrace

    Despite the warning, things are working very well so it’s not really a big deal.

    Thanks again!

    Comment by Duc Nguyen — November 26, 2007 @ 12:53 am | Reply

  2. You can run with “run as python run” option, not “debug as python run”. This warning won’t appear anymore.

    The “debug as …” is only needed when you want to set breakpoint in or the code executed before auto reload thread.

    In my original post, everything is ok in eclipse, but command line. I do some modification for this to make runserver work well in command line mode.

    def inReloadThread():
    “”” is called in reload thread or not?
    @return True if we are in reload thread.
    return os.environ.get(“RUN_MAIN”) == “true”

    if settings.DEBUG and (command == “runserver” or command == “testserver”):

    # Make pydev debugger works for auto reload.
    usePydevd = True
    import pydevd
    except ImportError:
    if not inReloadThread():
    “You must add org.python.pydev.debug.pysrc ”
    “to your PYTHONPATH for debugging in Eclipse.\n\n”)
    usePydevd = False

    if usePydevd:
    from django.utils import autoreload
    m = autoreload.main
    def main(main_func, args=None, kwargs=None):
    if os.environ.get(“RUN_MAIN”) == “true”:
    def pydevdDecorator(func):
    def wrap(*args, **kws):
    return func(*args, **kws)
    return wrap
    main_func = pydevdDecorator(main_func)

    return m(main_func, args, kwargs)

    autoreload.main = main

    Please enjoy this.
    I am very happy this code is helpful for you.

    Comment by bear330 — December 1, 2007 @ 5:55 am | Reply

  3. Hi, I was unable to get this to work. Where did you place the code in

    In the first line, “if settings.DEBUG and (command == “runserver” or command == “testserver”):”, there is no “command” in

    I got rid of this (since I was only running this from Eclipse). After that, it would not connect to the debugger because the port is randomized each time, but the code is using a hardcoded value. I rememdied this with the following hack:

    import os
    import re
    # HACK: Get remote debugger port from ppid
    fd = os.popen(‘ps wwo command -p %d’ % os.getppid())
    re_port = re.compile(r’–port\s*(\d+)\s*’)
    port = int([1]).groups()[0])

    I finally got it running with this, but now I get the same warning as comment #1 and none of my breakpoints work. The debugger works fine if I use –noreload with the default, but I would really like to get this working with autoreload.

    Comment by impulse — December 8, 2007 @ 10:24 am | Reply

  4. Ignore my previous comment. I wasn’t using the PyDev extensions remote debugger. It’s working now.

    Comment by impulse — December 8, 2007 @ 11:29 am | Reply

  5. works like a charm 🙂
    Thanks a lot!

    Comment by Duc Nguyen — December 13, 2007 @ 7:38 am | Reply

  6. very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

    Comment by Idetrorce — December 16, 2007 @ 3:03 am | Reply

  7. I desperately want to get this working, but I’m having trouble repeating everyone’s success from almost a year ago. First, I have the same confusion as Duc Nguyen: I don’t know where to drop in this code. When I put it at the top level of my there is no “command” variable defined.

    Second, even when I leave out the conditional and always run this code, I get the error “No module named pydevd” when it tries to execute the “import pydevd” line. I swear I have this properly in my PYTHONPATH. Indeed, from the Python console, I can import pydevd without any problems.

    Any hints for either problem?

    Comment by digi — September 29, 2008 @ 4:24 pm | Reply

  8. I am very sorry to put a vague code here. The command variable is:

    if len(sys.argv) > 1:
    command = sys.argv[1]

    And you must make pydevd available for your project. In my .pydevproject file, I make it as external source folder:

    <pydev_pathproperty name=”org.python.pydev.PROJECT_EXTERNAL_SOURCE_PATH”>
    <path>C:\Program Files\Eclipse 3.4\plugins\org.python.pydev.debug_1.3.20\pysrc</path>

    You can set up this by Properties->PyDev – PYTHONPATH page or simply put these lines in your .pydevproject file.

    If you still have any problem, feel free to let me know.

    Comment by bear330 — September 30, 2008 @ 11:24 am | Reply

    • Hi bear330,

      I have the following in my .pydevproject file.


      however, when I run my script with the following code at the beginning, it still saying I don’t have pysrc in my PYTHONPATH.

      REMOTE_DBG = True

      # append pydev remote debugger
      if REMOTE_DBG:
      # Make pydev debugger works for auto reload.
      # Note pydevd module need to be copied in XBMC\system\python\Lib\pysrc
      import pysrc.pydevd as pydevd
      # stdoutToServer and stderrToServer redirect stdout and stderr to eclipse console
      pydevd.settrace(‘localhost’, stdoutToServer=True, stderrToServer=True)
      except ImportError:
      sys.stderr.write(“Error: ” +
      “You must add org.python.pydev.debug.pysrc to your PYTHONPATH.”)

      My eclipse is
      Eclipse SDK

      Version: 3.6.1
      Build id: M20100909-0800

      any idea?

      Comment by peizhao — February 18, 2011 @ 11:03 pm | Reply

      • sorry, the debug code should change to

        import pydevd

        it works now.

        Comment by peizhao — February 18, 2011 @ 11:15 pm

  9. Belated thanks for the clarification! This definitely helps me understand your solution.

    Comment by Chris DiGiano — October 31, 2008 @ 5:57 pm | Reply

  10. On Ubuntu pydevd source folder is located


    Comment by MIkko Ohtamaa — December 29, 2008 @ 10:44 am | Reply

  11. […] should be.  I’ve uploaded that to snippet to django snippets.  It was originally posted here in 2007, so I’ve copied it to Django snippets in case that post […]

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  13. Thanks for the hack. I had to make a few changes to get this to work with Django 1.1 (since the “inner_run” method now takes no arguments as opposed to the earlier system where it took the *args and **kwargs). I posted the changes at

    Comment by Raja — December 6, 2009 @ 5:07 am | Reply

  14. Hi all,
    I have been following along with this. Having updated my code to reflect “if len(sys.argv) > 1:
    command = sys.argv[1]”, I now get an error related to when I run the debug:

    AttributeError: ‘NoneType’ object has no attribute ‘path’

    coming specifically from line 148. I’m pretty sure that I have pydevd correctly set up and have it attached to my PYTHONPATH okay. I’m running python 2.6. Has anybody any ideas?

    Thanks in advance,
    G (pretty new to all this)

    Comment by Gerry — December 9, 2009 @ 6:08 pm | Reply

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  21. I am receiving “NameError: name ‘sys’ is not defined”
    Here is my

    #!/usr/bin/env python
    from import execute_manager
    import settings # Assumed to be in the same directory.
    except ImportError:
    import sys
    sys.stderr.write(“Error: Can’t find the file ‘’ in the directory containing %r. It appears you’ve customized things.\nYou’ll have to run, passing it your settings module.\n(If the file does indeed exist, it’s causing an ImportError somehow.)\n” % __file__)

    if __name__ == “__main__”:

    if len(sys.argv) > 1:
    command = sys.argv[1]

    if settings.DEBUG and (command == “runserver” or command == “testserver”):

    # Make pydev debugger works for auto reload.
    import pydevd
    except ImportError:
    sys.stderr.write(“Error: ” +
    “You must add org.python.pydev.debug.pysrc to your PYTHONPATH.”)

    from django.utils import autoreload
    m = autoreload.main
    def main(main_func, args=None, kwargs=None):
    import os
    if os.environ.get(“RUN_MAIN”) == “true”:
    def pydevdDecorator(func):
    def wrap(*args, **kws):
    return func(*args, **kws)
    return wrap
    main_func = pydevdDecorator(main_func)

    return m(main_func, args, kwargs)

    autoreload.main = main


    Comment by eros — October 12, 2011 @ 12:58 am | Reply

  22. […]  How to debug django web application with autoreload.: How to debug django web application with autoreload in Eclipse pydev plugin. […]

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