Fundamentals of Caching Web Applications

Fundamentals of Caching Web Applications

In this tutorial, i will show you Fundamentals of Caching Web Applications and how to Enable high performant applications with caching.

Web applications have come a long way from the early days. A typical web application development goes through several stages of design, development, and testing before it is ready for release. As soon as your web app gets released, it will be accessed by real-life users on a daily basis. If your web app becomes popular, it will be accessed by at least several million users on a daily basis. Although this sounds exciting, this would incur a lot of running costs.

Apart from cost, complex calculations and R/W operations can take time for completion. This means that your user should wait for the completion of the operation which can be a bad user experience if the wait becomes too long.

System designers use several strategies to rectify these issues. Caching is one of them. Let’s have a better look at caching.

What is Caching in Web Applications?

A web cache is simply a component that is capable of storing HTTP responses temporarily which can be used for subsequent HTTP requests as long as certain conditions are met.

Web caching is a key design feature of the HTTP protocol intended to reduce network traffic while enhancing the presumed responsiveness of the system as a whole. Caches are found at every stage of the content journey from the original server to the browser.

In simple terms, web caching enables you to reuse HTTP responses that have been stored in the cache, with HTTP requests of similar nature. Let’s think of a simple example where a user requests a certain type of product(books) from the server. Assume that this whole process takes around 670 milliseconds to complete. If the user, later in the day, does this same query, rather than doing the same computation again and spending 670 milliseconds, the HTTP response stored in the cache can be returned to the user. This will reduce the response time drastically. In real-life scenarios, this can come under 50 milliseconds.

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