Version 1 (modified by Paul Collier, 8 years ago) (diff)


This is the original Django GSoC proposal. There have been quite a few

revisions since, but I'm posting this first for reference.


This addition to Django's ORM adds simple drop-in caching, compatible with

nearly all existing QuerySet methods. It emphasizes

performance and compatibility, and providing configuration options with sane

defaults. All that is required for basic functionality is a suitable

CACHE_BACKEND setting and the addition of .cache() to the appropriate

QuerySet chains. It also speeds up the lookup of related objects, and even

that of generic relations.

Proposed Design

The QuerySet class grows two new methods to add object caching:

    cache(timeout=None, prefix='qscache:', smart=False)

timeout defaults to the amount specified in CACHE_BACKEND.

prefix is in addition to CACHE_MIDDLEWARE_KEY_PREFIX.

Cache keys are calculated with the content-type id and instance id, to

accomodate generic relations.

Internally, QuerySet grows some new attributes that affect how SQL is

generated. When in effect, they cause the query to only retrieve primary

keys of selected objects. in_bulk() uses the cache directly, although

cache misses will still require database hits, as usual. Methods such as

delete() and count() are largely unaffected by cache(), but

methods such as distinct() are a more difficult case and will require

some design decisions. Using extra(select=...) is also a possibly

unsolvable case.

If values() has been used in the query, cache() takes precedence

and creates the values dictionary from cache. If a list of fields is

specified in values(), cache() will still perform the equivalent of a

SELECT *. Perhaps another option could be added to allow retrieval

of only the specified fields, which would break any regular cached lookup

for that object.

select_related() is supported by the caching mechanism. The appropriate

joins are still performed by the database; if joins were calculated with

cached object foreign key values, cache misses could be very costly.

    cache_generic(field, timeout=None, prefix='qscache:', smart=False)

field is the name of the generic foreign key field.

Without database-specific trickery it is non-trivial to perform SQL JOINs

with generic relations. Currently, a database query is required for each

generic foreign key relationship. The cache framework, while unable to

reduce the initial number of database hits, greatly alleviates load when

lists of generic objects are required. Using this method still loads

generic foreign keys lazily, but more quickly, and also uses objects cached

with cache().

To achieve as much transparency as possible, the QuerySet methods quietly

establish post_save and post_delete signal listeners the first time a

model is cached. Object deletion is trivial. On object creation or

modification, the preferred behaviour is to create or update the cached key

rather than simply deleting the key and letting the cache regenerate it;

the rationale is that the object is most likely to be viewed immediately after

and caching it at post_save is cheap. However, specific cases may not be

as accomodating. This is likely subject to debate or may need a global setting.

To reduce the number of cache misses, additional "smart" logic can be added.

For example, the first time a model is registered to the cache signal listener,

its model instances are expected to be uncached. In this case, rather than

fetching only primary keys, the objects are retrieved as normal (and cached).

By storing the expiration time, this can also take effect whenever the

cached objects have likely timed out. All "smart" functionality is enabled

using the smart keyword argument.

Implementation Notes

  • All caching code lives in a contrib app at first. A custom QuerySet class

derives from the official class, overriding where appropriate. A Manager

class with an overriden get_query_set() is used for testing, and

additional middleware, etc. are located in the same folder. Near or upon

completion, the new code can be merged to trunk as Django proper. Hopefully

the code will not be too invasive, but quite a few QuerySet methods will

have to be hijacked.

  • If the transaction middleware is enabled, it is desirable to have the cache

only update when the transaction succeeds. This is simple in implementation

but will couple the transaction middleware to the cache if not designed

properly. An additional middleware class can be created to handle this

case; however, it will have to stipulate placement immediately after the

TransactionMiddleware in, and might be confused with the

existing CacheMiddleware.


First Month

  • Write preliminary tests. Initial implementation of cache() for single

objects. Support almost all typical QuerySet methods.

  • Devise a generic idiom for testing cache-related code. Work on agregates;

implement select_related(), values(), in_bulk() cases, and

cache_generic() method.

Second Month

  • Work on signal dispatching, cache coherency. Write more tests and preliminary


  • Write "smart" cache logic. Explore other possible optimizations.
  • Add transaction support. Design decision needed about extra middleware.
  • Implement extra features if possible (distinct(), extra(select=...), ...)

Last Month

  • Write up documentation, extensive tests, and example code. Possibly move from

contrib into the main cache module.

  • Refactor, especially if the new QuerySet has been released. Continue

merging with changes to trunk and testing.

  • Allow for wiggle room, QuerySet refactoring work, cleanup, etc.
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