Caching placeholders and #cache

(cache)

Dynamic placeholder - no cache

(cache.dynamic)

The template:

Dynamic variable:  $voom

The command line and the output:

% voom='Voom!' python x.py --env
Dynamic variable:  Voom!

The generated code:

write('Dynamic variable:  ')
write(filter(VFS(SL,"voom",1))) # generated from '$voom' at line 1, col 20.
write('\n')

Just what we expected, like any other dynamic placeholder.

Static placeholder

(cache.static)

The template:

Cached variable:  $*voom

The command line and output:

% voom='Voom!' python x.py --env
Cached variable:  Voom!

The generated code, with line numbers:

 1  write('Cached variable:  ')
 2  ## START CACHE REGION: at line, col (1, 19) in the source.
 3  RECACHE = True
 4  if '19760169' not in self._cacheData:
 5      pass
 6  else:
 7      RECACHE = False
 8  if RECACHE:
 9      orig_trans = trans
10      trans = cacheCollector = DummyTransaction()
11      write = cacheCollector.response().write
12      write(filter(VFS(SL,"voom",1))) # generated from '$*voom' at line 1,
            # col 19.
13      trans = orig_trans
14      write = trans.response().write
15      self._cacheData['19760169'] = cacheCollector.response().getvalue()
16      del cacheCollector
17  write(self._cacheData['19760169'])
18  ## END CACHE REGION

19  write('\n')

That one little star generated a whole lotta code. First, instead of an ordinary {VFS} lookup (searchList) lookup, it converted the placeholder to a lookup in the {._cacheData} dictionary. Cheetah also generated a unique key ({‘19760169’}) for our cached item - this is its cache ID.

Second, Cheetah put a pair of if-blocks before the {write}. The first (lines 3-7) determine whether the cache value is missing or out of date, and sets local variable {RECACHE} true or false. This stanza may look unnecessarily verbose - lines 3-7 could be eliminated if line 8 was changed to

if '19760169' not in self._cacheData:
  • but this model is expandable for some of the cache features we’ll

see below.

The second if-block, lines 8-16, do the cache updating if necessary. Clearly, the programmer is trying to stick as close to normal (dynamic) workflow as possible. Remember that {write}, even though it looks like a local function, is actually a method of a file-like object. So we create a temporary file-like object to divert the {write} object into, then read the result and stuff it into the cache.

Timed-refresh placeholder

(cache.timed)

The template:

Timed cache:  $*.5m*voom

The command line and the output:

% voom='Voom!' python x.py --env
Timed cache:  Voom!

The generated method’s docstring:

"""
This is the main method generated by Cheetah
This cache will be refreshed every 30.0 seconds.
"""

The generated code:

 1  write('Timed cache:  ')
 2  ## START CACHE REGION: at line, col (1, 15) in the source.
 3  RECACHE = True
 4  if '55048032' not in self._cacheData:
 5      self.__cache55048032__refreshTime = currentTime() + 30.0
 6  elif currentTime() > self.__cache55048032__refreshTime:
 7      self.__cache55048032__refreshTime = currentTime() + 30.0
 8  else:
 9      RECACHE = False
10  if RECACHE:
11      orig_trans = trans
12      trans = cacheCollector = DummyTransaction()
13      write = cacheCollector.response().write
14      write(filter(VFS(SL,"voom",1))) # generated from '$*.5m*voom' at
            # line 1, col 15.
15      trans = orig_trans
16      write = trans.response().write
17      self._cacheData['55048032'] = cacheCollector.response().getvalue()
18      del cacheCollector
19  write(self._cacheData['55048032'])
20  ## END CACHE REGION

21  write('\n')

This code is identical to the static cache example except for the docstring and the first if-block. (OK, so the cache ID is different and the comment on line 14 is different too. Big deal.)

Each timed-refresh cache item has a corrsponding private attribute {.__cache########__refreshTime} giving the refresh time in ticks (=seconds since January 1, 1970). The first if-block (lines 3-9) checks whether the cache value is missing or its update time has passed, and if so, sets {RECACHE} to true and also schedules another refresh at the next interval.

The method docstring reminds the user how often the cache will be refreshed. This information is unfortunately not as robust as it could be. Each timed-cache placeholder blindly generates a line in the docstring. If all refreshes are at the same interval, there will be multiple identical lines in the docstring. If the refreshes are at different intervals, you get a situation like this:

"""
This is the main method generated by Cheetah
This cache will be refreshed every 30.0 seconds.
This cache will be refreshed every 60.0 seconds.
This cache will be refreshed every 120.0 seconds.
"""

The docstring tells only that “something” will be refreshed every 60.0 seconds, but doesn’t reveal { which} placeholder that is. Only if you know the relative order of the placeholders in the template can you figure that out.

Timed-refresh placeholder with braces

(cache.timed.braces)

This example is the same but with the long placeholder syntax. It’s here because it’s a Cheetah FAQ whether to put the cache interval inside or outside the braces. (It’s also here so I can look it up because I frequently forget.) The answer is: outside. The braces go around only the placeholder name (and perhaps some output-filter arguments.)

The template:

Timed with {}:  $*.5m*{voom}

The output:

Timed with {}:  Voom!

The generated code differs only in the comment. Inside the cache-refresh if-block:

write(filter(VFS(SL,"voom",1))) # generated from '$*.5m*{voom}' at line 1,
    #col 17.

If you try to do it this way:

Timed with {}:  ${*.5m*voom}      ## Wrong!

you get:

Timed with {}:  ${*.5m*voom}

${ is not a valid placeholder, so it gets treated as ordinary text.

#cache

(cache.directive)

The template:

#cache
This is a cached region.  $voom
#end cache

The output:

This is a cached region.  Voom!

The generated code:

 1  ## START CACHE REGION: at line, col (1, 1) in the source.
 2  RECACHE = True
 3  if '23711421' not in self._cacheData:
 4      pass
 5  else:
 6      RECACHE = False
 7  if RECACHE:
 8      orig_trans = trans
 9      trans = cacheCollector = DummyTransaction()
10      write = cacheCollector.response().write
11      write('This is a cached region.  ')
12      write(filter(VFS(SL,"voom",1))) # generated from '$voom' at line 2,
            # col 27.
13      write('\n')
14      trans = orig_trans
15      write = trans.response().write
16      self._cacheData['23711421'] = cacheCollector.response().getvalue()
17      del cacheCollector
18  write(self._cacheData['23711421'])
19  ## END CACHE REGION

This is the same as the {$*voom} example, except that the plain text around the placeholder is inside the second if-block.

#cache with timer and id

(cache.directive.timer)

The template:

#cache timer='.5m', id='cache1'
This is a cached region.  $voom
#end cache

The output:

This is a cached region.  Voom!

The generated code is the same as the previous example except the first if-block:

RECACHE = True
if '13925129' not in self._cacheData:
    self._cacheIndex['cache1'] = '13925129'
    self.__cache13925129__refreshTime = currentTime() + 30.0
elif currentTime() > self.__cache13925129__refreshTime:
    self.__cache13925129__refreshTime = currentTime() + 30.0
else:
    RECACHE = False

#cache with test: expression and method conditions

(cache.directive.test)

The template:

#cache test=$isDBUpdated
This is a cached region.  $voom
#end cache

(Analysis postponed: bug in Cheetah produces invalid Python.)

The template:

#cache id='cache1', test=($isDBUpdated or $someOtherCondition)
This is a cached region.  $voom
#end cache

The output:

This is a cached region.  Voom!

The first if-block in the generated code:

RECACHE = True
if '36798144' not in self._cacheData:
    self._cacheIndex['cache1'] = '36798144'
elif (VFS(SL,"isDBUpdated",1) or VFS(SL,"someOtherCondition",1)):
    RECACHE = True
else:
    RECACHE = False

The second if-block is the same as in the previous example. If you leave out the {()} around the test expression, the result is the same, although it may be harder for the template maintainer to read.

You can even combine arguments, although this is of questionable value.

The template:

#cache id='cache1', timer='30m', test=$isDBUpdated or $someOtherCondition
This is a cached region.  $voom
#end cache

The output:

This is a cached region.  Voom!

The first if-block:

RECACHE = True
if '88939345' not in self._cacheData:
    self._cacheIndex['cache1'] = '88939345'
    self.__cache88939345__refreshTime = currentTime() + 1800.0
elif currentTime() > self.__cache88939345__refreshTime:
    self.__cache88939345__refreshTime = currentTime() + 1800.0
elif VFS(SL,"isDBUpdated",1) or VFS(SL,"someOtherCondition",1):
    RECACHE = True
else:
    RECACHE = False

We are planning to add a {‘varyBy’} keyword argument in the future that will allow separate cache instances to be created for a variety of conditions, such as different query string parameters or browser types. This is inspired by ASP.net’s varyByParam and varyByBrowser output caching keywords. Since this is not implemented yet, I cannot provide examples here.