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I'm in the very earlier stages of learning magento and trying to create a new theme for my client.

I'm slowly getting to grips with the cusomisations but at the moment I'm having to clear the caches, delete files and reindex to see my changes..Is there a way I can streamline this? It seems a very long winded way just to see a little change... I've put Magento in Developer mode by doing-

bin/magento deploy:mode:set developer

And the env.php

'MAGE_MODE' => 'developer',

Does seem to make a difference though

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No, its do not make a difference.

But if in your .htaccess file defined MAGE_MODE it overrides setting from the configuration.

For .htaccess you will need set like following

SetEnv MAGE_MODE developer

Also, if you did run setup:static-content:deploy command you ned cleanup pub/static folder, because this command copy files instead make symlink

When you change to developer or production mode, we clear the contents of following directories when you change modes:

var/cache

var/di

var/generation

var/view_preprocessed

pub/static

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