How to debug a Flask app


How are you meant to debug errors in Flask? Print to the console? Flash messages to the page? Or is there a more powerful option available to figure out what's happening when something goes wrong?

6/29/2015 3:26:00 PM

Running the app in development mode will show an interactive traceback and console in the browser when there is an error. To run in development mode, set the FLASK_ENV=development environment variable then use the flask run command (remember to point FLASK_APP to your app as well).

For Linux, Mac, Linux Subsystem for Windows, Git Bash on Windows, etc.:

export FLASK_APP=myapp
export FLASK_ENV=development
flask run

For Windows CMD, use set instead of export:

set FLASK_ENV=development

For PowerShell, use $env:

$env:FLASK_ENV = "development"

Prior to Flask 1.0, this was controlled by the FLASK_DEBUG=1 environment variable instead.

If you're using the method instead of the flask run command, pass debug=True to enable debug mode.

Tracebacks are also printed to the terminal running the server, regardless of development mode.

If you're using PyCharm, VS Code, etc., you can take advantage of its debugger to step through the code with breakpoints. The run configuration can point to a script calling, use_reloader=False), or point it at the venv/bin/flask script and use it as you would from the command line. You can leave the reloader disabled, but a reload will kill the debugging context and you will have to catch a breakpoint again.

You can also use pdb, pudb, or another terminal debugger by calling set_trace in the view where you want to start debugging.

Be sure not to use too-broad except blocks. Surrounding all your code with a catch-all try... except... will silence the error you want to debug. It's unnecessary in general, since Flask will already handle exceptions by showing the debugger or a 500 error and printing the traceback to the console.

7/27/2018 4:50:36 AM

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