Integrate a Brunch workflow with Django.

django, brunch
pip install django-brunch==1.0.4


Brunch with Django

Integrate a Brunch workflow with Django.

This replaces the runserver management command with a version that fires up a brunch watch process alongside the Django development server to automatically recompile css and javascript. The brunch process is not interrupted when the Django server reloads, but it will die when you shut down the Django server.


  • Run the Django development web server and brunch watch with one command in one window
  • Leaves Brunch completely decoupled from Django, so there is no interdependency between the two. This is simply a convenience module.
  • Can optionally enable the brunch server so that brunch plugins like auto-reload-brunch will do live reloading of app assets such as CSS and Javascript upon saving. Set up brunch to also watch your templates and/or views to get live-reloading on modification of anything.


  • Brunch >= 2.0
  • Django == 1.11, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2

Integrate brunch in your Django project

Note: These instructions assume you have installed Brunch globally as directed by If you prefer to only have brunch installed locally in node_modules/ then modify all of these instructions to run brunch with npx brunch instead of brunch.

  1. Initialize brunch in your Django project directory. This skeleton will create a brunch-config.js and package.json file in the root of your project directory.

    cd myproject
    brunch new -s
  2. Put your CSS and JS files in app/, images and other files in app/assets/

  3. Test brunch. This will output to public/

    brunch build
  4. Add brunch's output directory public/ to the STATICFILES_DIRS list so that Django will find the files that Brunch will create. Remove any existing reference to app/ since we now only want to include assets output by brunch.

        os.path.join(BASE_DIR, "public"),
  5. Link the brunch output in your templates

    <link rel="stylesheet" href="{% static "app.css" %}"/>
    <script src="{% static "app.js" %}"></script>

Install the Django Module

  1. Install 'django-brunch' from PyPI

    pip install django-brunch
  2. Add brunch to INSTALLED_APPS, but BEFORE django.contrib.staticfiles so that it overrides the runserver command:

  3. Configure django-brunch in your file. At a minimum, BRUNCH_DIR must be defined. This needs to be an absolute path to the directory where your brunch-config.js or file lives.

  4. Run runserver like you normally would. A brunch process will be started alongside the Django development web server in the directory you provided with BRUNCH_DIR. One terminal, both processes!

    ./ runserver

Live Reloading

By default, the 'brunch-config.js' that is installed from django-brunch-skeleton will enable auto-reloading upon modification of files in app/ and template/ as long as you enable BRUNCH_SERVER in your Django settings. Add your individual app static and template directories to paths.watched to get the same for all of your apps.

Building for production

Building for production will be much the same, with just one extra step to do before you run collectstatic. You need to have brunch build a final production version of your assets.

brunch build --production
./ collectstatic


BRUNCH_DIR (required)

This should be an absolute path to the location of your brunch directory; where your brunch-config.js or file lives. This is used as the working directory of the brunch command.


BRUNCH_DIR = os.path.join(BASE_DIR, "brunch")

BRUNCH_CMD (optional)


BRUNCH_CMD = ("/usr/bin/env", "brunch")

This is the location of your brunch CLI command. It is passed to subprocess.Popen so it needs to either be a string or a sequence type (list, tuple). It is recommended that this is a tuple or list of arguments so that we can spawn it without involving shell parsing. If it is a string AND the string has a space or other shell characters, then you will need to set BRUNCH_SHELL to True as well, so that Popen knows to spawn a shell to parse the command.

If you install brunch as a local dependency in the local node_modules directory, then you'll probably want something like this:

BRUNCH_CMD = ("/usr/bin/npx", "brunch")

Or if you have an older version of Node.js / npm:

BRUNCH_CMD = os.path.join(BASE_DIR, "brunch", "node_modules", ".bin", "brunch")

BRUNCH_SHELL (optional)



If your BRUNCH_CMD requires a shell to parse, then set this to True. This is passed directly to subprocess.Popen's shell argument. For example, this needs to be True if your BRUNCH_CMD has a space in it or any other kind of special shell syntax.

BRUNCH_SERVER (optional)



If this is enabled, then the brunch watch command will be started with the --server argument. This will instruct Brunch to start up its internal server alongside Django's. This shouldn't be needed in a lot of cases, however one very useful time for this is if you're using the "auto-reload-brunch" plugin in brunch. If you are, then enabling the brunch server will allow it to inform the browser of changes to your assets and do live reloads.

Example project

To run the example Django project, follow these steps

  1. Create a new virtualenv (assuming virtualenvwrapper)

    mkvirtualenv django-brunch-example
  2. Clone the github repository and install requirements

    git clone
    cd django-brunch/example
    pip install -r requirements.txt
    npm install
  3. Migrate if needed

    ./ migrate
  4. Run the server and brunch

    ./ runserver
  5. Log in to http://localhost:8000 and see them working together. Modify the stylesheet in app/style/site.css and save it to live reloading in action. If you need to get in to the admin, the username and password are 'admin'.


Inspiration for how to integrate Brunch with Django comes from how the Phoenix Framework does it by default in a new Phoenix project. I used their example as a model for the highly customized brunch-config.js that departs from brunch conventions a bit.


  • Add hook in collectstatic to automatically run brunch build --production before collecting files
  • Add command-line --disable-brunch to the runserver command in cases where you might not want to fire it up. Right now you have to disable brunch in INSTALLED_APPS in your to turn it off.
  • Add a initbrunch management command that clones down django-brunch-skeleton and copies files over safely into an existing Django project. Perhaps pre-initialize the brunch-config.js based on existing Django static configuration.
  • Add a bit of javascript to brunch-config.js to allow globs in the paths.watched array, so you can just specify something like **/templates and **/static to get all app assets automatically without having to automatically add them.