[Fixed]-Client side JS (e.g. AngularJS) + Django REST Backend: Deploy onto single PaaS?


I’m in the exact same boat with AngularJS as my client and django-rest-framework as my service. I also have the same type of git setup where the server and client code are siblings in the same repository. I don’t have any experience with Heroku and I’m new to beanstalk but I was able to deploy my site and it’s working on AWS beanstalk.

With beanstalk there are two ways I know of to deploy your code.

  1. Use eb and git described here.
    • Works well if you want to push your source code directly.
  2. Create your own zip to upload to beanstalk via the AWS management console. Amazon has a walkthrough on it here.
    • Route I chose so I can ‘grunt build’ my client and zip with server code before deploying.

I automated the zip creation using a python script. Amazon’s walkthrough provides an example python zip. You have to structure it properly, mine looks roughly like this

  /app/     <-- my django-rest-framework project (settings.py, wsgi.py, etc.)
  /restapi/ <-- my django-rest-framework application (my api)
  /static/  <-- AngularJS results of 'grunt build' put here

I know you didn’t specifically ask but the .config file inside .ebextensions/ took me way too long to get working. It can be formatted as YAML or JSON (can be confusing at first as every blog shows it differently). This blog helped me out quite a bit just be careful to use container_commands: and not commands:. I lost a few hours to that…

  command: "django-admin.py syncdb --noinput"
  leader_only: true
  "DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE": "app.settings"
  "WSGIPath": "app/wsgi.py"
  "StaticFiles": "/static/=static/"
  "/static/": "static/"
  "AWS_SECRET_KEY": "<put your secret key here if you want to reference from env variable>"
  "AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID": "<put your access key here>"
  "AWS_S3_Bucket": "<put your bucket here>"

In the zip you create (if you follow the beanstalk guides on django) the client code in your /static/ folder is automatically pushed to s3 when you deploy.

This setup isn’t perfect and I plan on fine tuning things but it’s working. Here are some downsides I ran into that I haven’t solved yet:

  • Since I put my client code in the static/ folder my site sits under mysite.com/static/. Ideally I’d want it to be served as the root at mysite.com with my django-rest-framework content under mysite.com/api/
  • If you use the self describing api on beanstalk by default the assets won’t be pushed since they sit in your python directory and not with your source code.

UPDATE 4-17-2014

I further refined this setup so I no longer have to go to mysite.com/static/ to load my index.html. To do so I used a django class based view to map index.html to the root of my site. My urls.py looks like

urlpatterns = patterns('',
  (r'^$', TemplateView.as_view(template_name="index.html")),

and in my settings.py I configured TEMPLATE_DIRS as follows

  os.path.join(os.path.dirname(__file__) , '../static').replace('\\','/')

I use ../static because my static directory is a sibling of my app directory.

The last piece was to update my Gruntfile.js so ‘grunt build’ prefixes all the relative URLs in my angular code with the static folder. I used grunt-text-replace for this. It’s the last task that runs after my code is sitting minified in a /dist folder. The downside to this approach is I’ll have to update this task if I ever add static content to a new subfolder besides scripts, bower_components, styles, etc.

replace: {
    replace_js_templates: {
        src: ['dist/scripts/*.js'],
        overwrite: true,                 // overwrite matched source files
        replacements: [{
            from: /templateUrl:\s*"/g,
            to: 'templateUrl:"static/'
    replace_index: {
        src: ['dist/index.html'],
        overwrite: true,                 // overwrite matched source files
        replacements: [{
            from: /(src|href)="(bower_components|styles|scripts)/g,
            to: '$1="static/$2'

Now django will serve my index.html page but everything else in my /static/ directory can benefit from a CDN.


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