update django database to reflect changes in existing models

As of Django 1.7+, built-in migrations support, allows for database schema migrations that preserve data. That’s probably a better approach than the solution below.

Another option, not requiring additional apps, is to use the built in manage.py functions to export your data, clear the database and restore the exported data.

The methods below will update the database tables for your app, but will completely destroy any data that existed in those tables. If the changes you made to your app model do not break your old schema (for instance, you added a new, optional field) you can simply dump the data before and reload it afterwards, like so:

Django 1.4.15 and earlier

python manage.py dumpdata <your_app> > temp_data.json
python manage.py reset <your_app>
python manage.py loaddata temp_data.json

Django 1.5 and newer

python manage.py dumpdata <your_app> > temp_data.json
python manage.py sqlclear <your_app> | python manage.py dbshell
python manage.py syncdb
python manage.py loaddata temp_data.json

(The reset command was deprecated and then removed in Django 1.5)

If your changes break your old schema this won’t work – in which case tools like South or Django Evolution are great.

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