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Fabian Anguiano
Fabian Anguiano

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Serving Dynamically Generated PDFs in Django Production

Serving Dynamically Generated PDFs in Django

In many Django projects, there's a need to generate and serve files dynamically. One common scenario is generating PDFs on-the-fly based on user interactions. Here are various strategies to handle such cases, especially when serving these files with Django both in development (DEBUG=True) and in production (DEBUG=False).

1. Using a dedicated directory for generated files:

Step-by-Step Implementation:

  1. Create a Directory: Set up a directory named generated_pdfs at the root level of your project.

  2. Update

Add the following to your to serve files from the generated_pdfs directory:

from django.views.static import serve
from django.conf import settings
import os

path('generated_pdfs/<path:path>/', serve, {'document_root': os.path.join(settings.BASE_DIR, 'generated_pdfs')}),
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  1. Modify the PDF generation logic:

When saving the dynamically generated PDF, ensure it's saved to the generated_pdfs directory.

  1. Access the PDFs:

After generating a PDF, it can be accessed via: http://localhost:8000/generated_pdfs/<pdf_name>.pdf

2. Using Django's static file handling:

This method involves treating the generated PDFs like any other static file in Django, but it requires running the collectstatic command each time a new file is generated.

Step-by-Step Implementation:

  1. Save the PDF: When generating a new PDF, save it in Django's static directory.

  2. Automate collectstatic after PDF generation:
    To ensure the newly generated PDFs are available immediately, run the collectstatic command after generating a PDF. You can automate this by adding the following logic in your PDF generation view:

from import call_command

# ... Your PDF generation logic ...

# After saving the PDF, run collectstatic
call_command('collectstatic', '--noinput')
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  1. Serving in Production: In a production environment, ensure that you've set up a web server or a CDN to serve the static files.


  1. If you encounter a HTTP 500 error, check the Django development server console logs for detailed error messages.
  2. Ensure the generated_pdfs directory and the files within have the appropriate read permissions.
  3. In the case of conflicting URL patterns, Django evaluates them in order. Ensure that no pattern above the generated_pdfs pattern is catching the request first.

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