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There are lots of situations in which I change some files in my module in the developer mode but the changes didn't take place in frontend until I run php bin/magento setup:upgrade

Just wanted to know when should we run setup:upgrade command and what's the purpose of it in Magento 2?

Its just so strange for me, because every time I'm doing some changes, they won't be visible until after I run the setup:upgrade command. Even if I delete the var/cache, its still not visible. Anyone know any reason for this?

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If you enabled one or more modules, then you will need to run magento setup:upgrade to update the database schema.

By default, magento setup:upgrade clears compiled code and the cache. Typically, you use magento setup:upgrade to update components and each component can require different compiled classes.

magento setup:upgrade --keep-generated

The optional --keep-generated option should be used only in limited circumstances by experienced system integrators. --keep-generated should never be used in a development environment.

Improper use of this optional parameter can cause errors during code execution.

UPDATE (07/10/17)

As the topic creator asked me:

But its just so strange for me, because everytime I'm doing some changes, they won't be visible until after I run the setup:upgrade command. Even if I delete the var/cache, its still not visible. Do you know any reason for this?

var/cache in Magento 2 is not enough to makes changes visible like Magento 1. In Magento 2, you will need to clears var/generation (and var/di if you compiled code) after you made changes inside your code, especially whenever you change something inside the constructor.

You will also need to clear var/view_preprocessed if you change something inside your template file (.phtml)

The rest will goes to var/cache and var/full_page_cache

Hope this helps.

  • Sir, Thanks for your answer. But its just so strange for me, because everytime I'm doing some changes, they won't be visible until after I run the setup:upgrade command. Even if I delete the var/cache, its still not visible. Do you know any reason for this? – Michel Gokan Apr 25 '16 at 8:12
  • Maybe you're not clearing enough directories. Maybe the setup:upgrade command is clearing them for you. Look at this page for reference. I am assuming your module is enabled; if not, that also causes issues. – Steve Johnson Apr 26 '16 at 13:31
  • @MichelGokan I updated the answer. – Toan Nguyen Jul 10 '17 at 3:33
  • Do we need to run the setup:upgrade after disabling extensions? – Webninja Jan 18 '18 at 15:31
  • @Webninja Yes, we do. – Toan Nguyen Jan 18 '18 at 23:04
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When you enable modules, change modules version you will need to run magento setup:upgrade to update the database schema.

In other cases when you add new data in your class constructors, you need to run magento setup:upgrade because it clear var/generation folder. To understand it, remove write and read permissions for var folder and run the command magento setup:upgrade

You will get an error message like this
Command line user does not have read and write permissions on var/generation directory. Please address this issue before using Magento command line. meaning that this command is clearing folder var/generation. If you want to get your changes without executing magento setup:upgrade command, you need to clear these three folders

rm -rf var/cache/* var/page_cache/* var/generation/*

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