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Django URL cache invalidation from model saves

Project description

django-dumper provides full site caching, similar to Django’s, along with path based invalidation based on model saves. It will cache every page that is not in DUMPER_PATH_IGNORE_REGEX forever. So for it to be effective, all of your pages must be invalidated when neccesary, by specifying in your models which paths should be invalidated those models are saved.


django-dumper was created to scratch a rather specific itch. I was having trouble reducing load times on pages where there were lots of images. By default, if you want to render an image’s url, width, and height, in a template then that hits the storage backend three times per image. With a remote backend, like S3, this creates long and unreliable page load times. If you are smarter and create cached height and width fields, then you can reduce this to one hit. This is still not ideal for a page with 100+ images. So I thought, the only time these images ever change, is when a model saves. And then I started thinking, actually the only time any of my pages changed was when a model saved. Of course, I still wanted my page load times to be as low as possible before caching, but why would i re-render these pages on every request, if they would be identical for every visitor, until someone changed a model?

So I set about to build an app that would allow me to do just that. It would cache the full content of each response indefinitely. It would then invalidate certain responses, based on their paths, whenever a model was saved. For instance, if the /ice-cream/ page displays links to each flavor and /ice-cream/<flavor-name>/ has detailed information on a flavor, then every time a flavor is saved, it should not only invalidate its specific detail page, but also the general list page. This is definitely a brute force approach, but it makes sense to me because it is safe. You might over invalidate, but, if setup correctly, you will never have stale caches.

This is by no means an all purpose caching app. Every page rendered by your site must be determined only by models. Detail and list views are examples of pages determined by models. Also, if your site differentiates at based on request headers (cookies, languages, etc…) then this will not work, because it will serve the same version to all visitors.


Installation is as easy as:

pip install django-dumper


Configuration is similar to Django’s per site cache.

You’ll need to add 'dumper.middleware.cache.UpdateCacheMiddleware' and 'dumper.middleware.cache.FetchFromCacheMiddleware' to your MIDDLEWARE_CLASSES setting, as in this example:


Then, add the following optional settings to your Django settings file:

  1. DUMPER_CACHE_ALIAS – The cache alias to use for storage. Defaults 'default'
  2. DUMPER_KEY_PREFIX – If the cache is shared across multiple sites using the same Django installation, set this to the name of the site, or some other string that is unique to this Django instance, to prevent key collisions. Defaults to 'dumper.cached_path.'.
  3. DUMPER_PATH_IGNORE_REGEX – If matched on the path, then these pages will not be cached. By default it won’t cached the admin ^/admin/


If you use Django Grappelli, then you shouldn’t be caching any paths under /grappelli/ and if you are serving media or static from your app, you should ignore those as well.

DUMPER_PATH_IGNORE_REGEX = r'^/(?:(?:admin)|(?:grappelli)|(?:media))/'


To invalidate certain paths on a model save and delete, register that model using dumper.register. It will invalidate every path returned by the dependent_paths method.

from django.db import models

import dumper

class IceCream(models.Model):
    slug = models.CharField(max_length=200)

    def get_absolute_url(self):
        return '/' + self.slug

    def dependent_paths(self):
        '''Returns a list of paths to invalidate when this model is updated'''
        return [self.get_absolute_url()]


dependent_paths can also returns the paths of related objects to invalidate them as well. For instance if each IceCream had some related Sizes then if one of those sizes is modified, that should invalidate the IceCream as well.

from django.db import models

import dumper

class IceCream(models.Model):
    slug = models.CharField(max_length=200)
    sizes = models.ManyToManyField(Size, related_name='ice_creams')

    def get_absolute_url(self):
        return '/' + self.slug

    def dependent_paths(self):
        '''Returns a list of paths to invalidate when this model is updated'''
        return [self.get_absolute_url()]

class Size(models.Model):
    slug = models.CharField(max_length=200)

    def get_absolute_url(self):
        return '/' + self.slug

    def dependent_paths(self):
        for ice_cream in self.ice_creams:
            yield ice_cream.get_absolute_url()
        yield self.get_absolute_url()



The dumper package has DEBUG logging in place for the midleware and for the invalidation. To enable this, just make sure that any logs coming from dumper with the level DEBUG are shown.

The simplest way to do this would be to this in your

    'version': 1,
    'disable_existing_loggers': False,
    'formatters': {
        'name': {
            'format': '%(name)s: %(message)s'
    'handlers': {
        'console': {
            'level': 'DEBUG',
            'class': 'logging.StreamHandler',
            'formatter': 'name'
    'loggers': {
        'dumper': {
            'level': 'DEBUG',
            'handlers': ['console', ]


I would recommend enabling ETags. That way the whole response won’t have to be sent to the user, only the header, if the ETAG is the same.

The Django document ion does not cohesively describe how your middleware should be ordered, however this stack overflow discussion does a fine job.


Cache Middleware dumper/

My caching is based off of Django’s per site cache, but much simpler. Originally I just used their cache, but this greatly complicated my code and made it harder to understand. This is because their cache creates different cached versions. for the same URL based on the Vary HTML header. It is much more complicated to implement path based invalidation, if other things besides the path are being use to generate the cache key. For instance, when I was supporting the Django middleware I had to figure out a way to delete every cached version of the path.

If your pages do vary based on anything besides the path and HTTP method, then you should not cache them with django-dumper. Either ignore them with the DUMPER_PATH_IGNORE_REGEX setting or don’t use the project at all if all of your pages fall under this category.

Invalidate Paths dumper/

In order to invalidate a model when it saves, we get the path’s that should be invalidated from the model, and then remove the cache keys that correspond to those paths. Each cache key is made up of a path plus a HTTP method.

Invalidating on Model Saves: dumper/

When you register a model a invalidation function to three signals. That function gets the paths from the model and then uses dumper/ to delete them. The three signals it registers with are post_save, pre_delete, and m2m_changed. The last signal is called whenever any member that relationship is added, deleted, or changed. It most likely calls the invalidation function more than once if a many to many relationship is changed, but is harmless, besides the slight performance hit from hitting the cache backend.


If you find issues or would like to see a feature suppored, head over to the issues section and report it. Don’t be agraid, go ahead, do it!

To contribute code in any form, fork the repository and clone it locally. Create a new branch for your feature:

git commit -b feature/whatever-you-like

Then make sure all the tests past (and write new ones for any new features)

With Docker Compose and Docker:

docker-compose run tests
# run `docker-compose build` if you change the required packages before testing again


pip install -e .
pip install -r requirements-dev.txt test --settings=test.settings

Check if the README.rst looks right:

restview --long-description

Then push the finished feature to github and open a pull request form the branch.

New Release

To create a new release:

  1. Add changes to CHANGES.txt
  2. Change version in
  3. python register
  4. python sdist upload
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