During development, you will typically want to keep your module uncompressed so that you can quickly add or adjust those resources that can be automatically reloaded. Any changes you make to queries, reports, HTML views and web parts will automatically be noticed and the contents of those files will be reloaded without needing to restart the server.

Typically you will develop a module on a test server and then move it to the production server once the development is complete. Moving the module can be done either by copying the uncompressed module directory and its subdirectories and files from the test server to the production server, or by compressing the module directory into a .module file and copying that to the production server. Which technique you choose will probably depend on what kind of file system access you have between the servers. If the production server's drive is mounted on the test server, a simple directory copy would be sufficient. If FTP is the only access between the test and production servers, sending a compressed file would be easier.

An easy way to compress the module directory is to use the JAR utility, which can also be automated via a Gradle build task. Use the standard JAR options and name the target file "<module-name>.module".

Deploy the .module file to the <labkey-home>/externalModules/ directory on your production server. You may have to create the externalModules directory. (Here we are assuming that you are not building the server from source. If you are building from source, then you can incorporate your module in a variety of directories.) A server running in production mode will not recognize a new module -- a manual server restart is required in this case. But a production server will monitor existing modules for changes. When it loads the module, it will automatically expand the .module into a directory with the same base name (overwriting the existing directory and files), and load the newly-updated module's resources. Also a module must be enabled in the folder you are working/testing in.

Most files in a module can be updated while the production server is running (sql queries, html views, trigger scripts, assay domains and views) without restarting. Some files cannot be updated while the server is running (SQL scripts, assay provider definitions, compiled Java code, etc) and require a manual restart of the server.

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