![alt text](http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/28/Luwak-Katze_in_Kepahiang.jpg "Civet")
(Picture credit: [Leendertz](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopi_Luwak#mediaviewer/File:Luwak-Katze_in_Kepahiang.jpg))
Civet precompiles asset files (such as Sass, CoffeeScript and ECMAScript 6) in
your Django project when you use the `runserver` command. It will also watch
the file changes for you. Therefore, you can edit your asset files and expect
`runserver` to recompile those files upon save, just like it how restarts the
app server when you make changes to your Python source code
In your `settings.py`, add Civet to your `INSTALLED_APPS` setting.
In Django 1.6 and before, add it right after
`django.contrib.staticfiles`. In Django 1.7 and later, add it
INSTALLED_APPS = (
# 'civet', # Uncomment for Django 1.7 and later
# 'civet', # Uncomment for Django 1.6 and earlier
Then add a `CIVET_PRECOMPILED_ASSET_DIR` setting that tells Civet where to
put the precompiled assets. For example:
CIVET_PRECOMPILED_ASSET_DIR = os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'precompiled_assets')
That's it. Once set up, each time you use `manage.py runserver`, Civet will
first check to see if there are new Sass and CoffeeScript files that need
precompiling. It will also start watch for file changes.
Asset Versions Supported
Civet is known to work with the following compilers:
* Sass 3.2.5+ and Compass 0.12.2+
* CoffeeScript 1.6.3+
* Babel 6.3.17+
"But We Only Use Sass (or CoffeeScript)"
You can choose which compilers Civet uses (and add your own) via a setting:
CIVET_COMPILER_CLASSES = (
By default, Civet looks for `coffee`, `sass`, and `babel` in your `PATH`
environment varible. If you want to use specific paths, you can put these in
# The paths here are just examples
CIVET_COFFEE_BIN = '/opt/local/bin/coffee'
CIVET_SASS_BIN = '/opt/local/bin/sass'
CIVET_BABEL_BIN = '/opt/local/bin/babel'
For Sass, a lot of people use [Bundler](http://bundler.io/) to manage their
Ruby command-line tools. This can be especially useful if you also use
libaries like Compass and want to lock down their versions. Bundler requires
you to set up a `Gemfile`. To use Bundler to run Sass, add this in your
CIVET_BUNDLE_GEMFILE = '/some/where/Gemfile'
Please note that `CIVET_BUNDLE_GEMFILE` and `CIVET_SASS_BIN` must not be set
at the same time. If both are set, Civet will raise an error. Also, by
default, Civet looks for the tool `bundle` in your `PATH`. If you want to
use a specific path, set `CIVET_BUNDLE_BIN` in your `settings.py`.
Finally, if you want to use additional CoffeeScript or Sass compiling options,
add these to your `settings.py`. Here are the default values Civet uses:
CIVET_COFFEE_SCRIPT_ARGUMENTS = ('--compile', '--map')
CIVET_SASS_ARGUMENTS = ()
If you want to, for example, use Compass with Sass, use:
CIVET_SASS_ARGUMENTS = ('--compass',)
You can also define patterns (files or directories) for Civet to ignore by
# As an exmaple, this will cause Civet to ignore files with 'coffee' in the
# name or path.
CIVET_IGNORE_PATTERNS = ['coffee']
This gets extended into the ignore_patterns list defined in
You can also define staticfile directories you want Civet to ignore by setting:
# This will cause Civet to ignore files located in 'bower_components' or
# 'node_modules' even if those folders are included in STATICFILES_DIRS.
CIVET_IGNORE_DIRS = ['bower_components', 'node_modules']
This is particularly useful when using a package manager such as [Bower](http://bower.io/)
or [NPM](https://www.npmjs.com/). These managers often install packages that
include their own build systems, configurations, and files that are incompatible
with how Civet compiles assets.
For ES6, you can specify the NODE_PATH used for babel by setting
To recompile everything, just quit the server, delete the entire
`CIVET_PRECOMPILED_ASSET_DIR` directory, and use the `runserver` command
We have included a sample project in `testsite/` to demonstrate how Civet
works with Django.
We have developed Civet to solve the following problems:
1. It is too cumbersome to ask all our developers to remember using
`coffee -w` and `sass -w` every time they use `runserver`.
2. We want our CoffeeScript and Sass assets to be precompiled. It makes no
sense to compile them on the fly as we serve static assets. Plus, Sass
files that have a lot of includes can take a long time to process.
At one point we had a Sass file that took 6 seconds to compile. We don't
want our developers to wait for 6 seconds every time they reload a page.
3. Django's static file layout requires Sass and CoffeeScript to watch
for separate directories. We simply can't have them watch the top-level
directory and call it a day. It is very cumbersome, however, to have
Sass compiler watch multiple directories, and the option for
multi-directory watch simply doesn't exist in the CoffeeScript compiler.
4. We have a lot of CoffeeScript files, and on OS X that number exceeds the
default maximum number of files that node.js (on which the official
CoffeeScript compiler is based on) can watch. (See
[this issue](https://github.com/joyent/node/issues/2479) for details.)
About the Name
Civet is "a slender nocturnal carnivorous mammal" (according to *New Oxford
American Dictionary*) that also produces
[kopi luwak](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopi_Luwak) by ingesting coffee
beans. I was looking for a cheeky (sassy) project name that has to do with
coffee, and this comes to mind. Disclaimer: I have no idea what kopi luwak
tastes like, and no animal is harmed during the development of this plug-in.
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