The interesting thing about it (you can’t imagine how much I love dropping everything I am doing to go look at “interesting things”) is that when I viewed the code in Visual Studio, it was the right code. After looking at the code both in the browser console and in Visual Studio, I realized that the BundlerMinifier.Core extension package had stopped working. The context menu was gone, and .min.js files were not being regenerated. When I ran the app locally, using the plain code, the bug was fixed. When I ran it on the staging server, using the minimized code, it came back — a zombie.
I did what I usually do and searched the Web, and found this post from someone else describing the same problem, and associating it with the latest Visual Studio update (that I had installed recently). It’s always reassuring to learn that I am not the only one, but it would have been nice to read of a solution too. So I was on my own.
I won’t go through everything I tried — I always prefer to forget that part as quickly as possible afterward — but I eventually wandered into the Extensions->Manage Extensions menu, located BundlerMinifier.Core, and noticed that it was a “roaming” extension (like most of the others) with an option to not roam any more. So I clicked the button to not roam, exited and restarted VS, and tried again. The context menu was back, and the file minimized as expected.
I would like to explain to you why this worked, but I have no idea. I posted this so that others running into this problem will have a better chance of finding a solution, although I don’t know if it is a general fix or not, and I don’t know the implications of the change I made. It comes with no guarantee. Now I need to get back to testing!