.env files and "export"

Are there any instances where using “export” in a .env file is necessary? For example, export DEBUG=True as opposed to DEBUG=True.

I realize I’ve been using export in my .env files on macOS more out of habit than actual deep understanding. And it’s worked just fine so far! But on Windows using export causes issues because it’s not Linux. So revisiting the deeper use of “export” in places like this article and this one I’m wondering if there are known use cases for export and the Windows equivalent in .env files in Django development.

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I don’t put the export in the .env file, just the vars…


And so on.

I then have a loadenv alias that does this:

export $(grep -v ^# .env | xargs)

Skipping any comment lines, format the file for the shell (xargs puts the declarations on a single line) and then export the result of that.

Folks may jump in with their favourite tool — Heresy! Use X! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: — but that’s about as basic as it gets, which is how I like it.

(There will be a billion different answers to this question.)

Update: this SO answer gives more-or-less the same for PowerShell

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There isn’t a .env spec afaik, just various libraries that can parse certain syntax. Afaiu the ability to write export before a line is just a convenience, so you can source .env in your shell, and is otherwise skipped when parsing the file.

Carlton’s one liner is a fine alternative.

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Thank you both. That confirms what I was thinking!