django-newcache 0.2.3

Improved memcached cache backend for Django

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BSD License 
Eric Florenzano
ROOT \ Internet \ HTTP (WWW)
django-newcache is an improved memcached cache backend for Django. It provides two major advantages over Django's built-in cache backend:

 * It supports pylibmc.
 * It allows for a function to be run on each key before it's sent to memcached.

It also has some pretty nice defaults. By default, the function that's run on each key is one that hashes, versions, and flavors the key. More on that later.
How to Install

The simplest way is to just set it as your cache backend in your, like so:

CACHE_BACKEND = 'newcache://'

Note that we've passed an additional argument, binary, to the backend. This is because pylibmc supports using binary mode to talk to memcached. This is a completely optional parameter, and can be omitted safely to use the old text mode. It is ignored when using python-memcached.

Default Behavior

Earlier we said that by default it hashes, versions, and flavors each key. What does this mean? Let's go through each item in detail.

Keys in memcached come with many restrictions, both on their length and on their contents. Practically speaking, this means that you can't put spaces in your keys, and they can't be very long. One simple solution to this is to create an md5 hash of whatever key you want, and use the hash as your key instead. That is what we do in newcache. It not only allows for long keys, but it also lets us put spaces or other characters in our key as well.

Sometimes it's necessary to clear the entire cache. We can do this using memcached's flushing mechanisms, but sometimes a cache is shared by many things instead of just one web app. It's a shame to have everything lose its fresh cache just because one web app needed to clear its cache. For this, we introduce a simple technique called versioning. A version number is added to each cache key, and when this version is incremented, all the old cache keys will become invalid because they have an incorrect version.

This is exposed as a new setting, CACHE_VERSION, and it defaults to 1.

Finally, we found that as we split our site out into development, staging, and production, we didn't want them to share the same cache. But we also didn't want to spin up a new memcached instance for each one. So we came up with the idea of flavoring the cache. The concept is simple--add a FLAVOR setting and make it something like 'dev', 'prod', or 'test'. With newcache, this flavor string will be added to each key, ensuring that there are no collisions.

Concretely, this is what happens:

# FLAVOR = 'staging'
# ... would actually call ...

Changing the Default

All of the above is simply the default, you may provide your own callable function to be run on each key, by supplying the CACHE_KEY_MODULE setting. It must provide a get_key function which takes any instance of basestring and output a str.

Last updated on July 24th, 2010


#memcached cache #cache backend #Django #memcached #cache #backend

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