JotCache ver.1.2 Help

Published: 09 October 2010

JotCache Usage

Purpose

JotCache is advanced solution for page caching in Joomla 1.5 search framework. JotCache consists from JotCache Plugin and optionally (but strong recommended) from JotCache Component. JotCache Plugin is extended replacement of standart System-Cache plugin with following enhancements :

  • Fast-changing modules on the web page can be refreshed with actual content during each user access. You can mark the module positions with fast changeable content in site template and these position will be refreshed during each user access to related web page. The rest parts of page will be taken from cached content as it is usual by standart plugin System - Cache.
  • Cached page content can be compressed before saving into the cache. JotCache Plugin has option to compress (gzlib) cached pages before storing to the cache, therefore the web access to cached content is accelerated. Compressing function covers static (page) as well as dynamic module content.
  • Possibility for site administrator to clear (to make empty) the cache only for selected pages. With accompanied JotCache Component here it is possible to see the actual cached pages linked to used component and view. You can delete the selected cached pages (marked in component list view) leaving the rest of cached pages intact. For easier finding which pages are related to changed content it is possible to mark these pages simply calling them in the frontend with mark option enabled.
  • Fast check of cache operation on production site front-end without disturbing other users. For easy overview of cache mechanism on front-end pages administrator can mark his/her browser access with specific cookie allowing to display marked page and module content (in front-end) solely to administrator.
  • Because some dynamic components (mostly forms) needs refresh after each change you can select which components and their specific views shall be excluded from page caching. Starting with JotCache ver.1.2 here is also possiblity to exclude from caching selected pages based on URL query parameters.

Module positions excluded from page caching

In the Joomla 1.5 CMS framework each module is placed to template specific position (see Administrator > Extensions > Module Manager / column Position. For graphical presentation see Administrator > Extensions > Template Manager, click on used template name and then click toolbar button Preview).

Module exclusions can be implemented on all Joomla templates which are using standart jdoc:include tags (inclusive Artisteer generated templates). Templates using non-standart template processing (e.g. Warp system of Yootheme) cannot be adapted for JotCache exclusion described further.

In the Joomla template each module position is tagged with following tag :

<jdoc:include type="modules" name="xxx" ... />

where xxx is position name.

To exclude specific module position from page caching it is necessary to mark this position in template source (mostly index.php) with special JotCache HTML comment tags - see example :

<td>
   <!-- jot user2 s style="xhtml" --><jdoc:include type="modules" name=user2" style="xhtml" /><!-- jot user2 e -->
</td>


Text in the marking tags is separated with exactly one (1) space starting with word jot followed by name_of_position jot_flag params

where

name_of_position - name of position as it is used in jdoc tag
jot_flag - 's' for start marking, 'e' for end marking
params - any kinds of jdoc parameters separated with space character

Used jot tags have to close embrace the jdoc tag for proper operation.

Mark in your template only module positions which you like to be steady refreshed. When page is cached then all JotCache mark tags are stored with cached content. During recall of cached content the marked positions are replaced with module newest content.

Components excluded from page caching

Starting with JotCache, ver.1.1 we have available powerfull tool for excluding components from caching process. On the toolbar of Cache Management it is located Exclude button which opens Excluding form :

JotCache component exclusion

In this form are listed all components installed in Joomla CMS identified by Component Name and internal code (option) which is also one part of page URL.
You can exclude from caching entire component processing with checkbox Excluded on and Views input empty or only specific views of the component with checkbox
Excluded on and Views input contains list of excluded views separated by comma. When you want to remove component from Exclude Component list then simply uncheck appropriate checkbox and press Apply or Save button.

Note : Shown selection for Articles is only for demo purposes. On production site are usually excluded Contacts and Polls.

Starting with JotCache ver.1.2 here is also possibility to remove selected pages based on parameters of URL query string. As it is generally known query parameters pairs (name and value) are located in the part of URL starting with ? character and each pair is separated with & character. For exclusion purposes here is necessary to use parameters pairs of URL query in form before Routing is applied because of internal operation of JotCache plugin. Parameter pairs are simply inserted into given component line in Exclude Views & Query Parameters input box (here taken as example from URL query string 'index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=1&category_id=1&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=56') :

JotCache exclusion

Multiple parameters pairs are separated with ',' character and can be intermixed with component views as described in previous section.

Note : Some Joomla components are using ':' character as separator inside of parameter value. In these cases ':' character is automatically removed from exclusion definition during save process because of command filtering in Joomla (safety measure for JotCache not influencing proper exclusion processing).

When inserting or changing text in Exclude Views & Query Parameters input box (events 'click' and 'onchange') then automatic validation check on above described rules is performed. Only fully validated definitions are possible to save in database.

Fast check of cache operation

Check in front-end

For proper marking of cached content you need to have installed not only JotCache plugin but also the JotCache component. For page marking to put it in the operation it is necessary :

    1. in the JotCache plugin parameters to set Mark Caching  to Yes :

JotCache Parameters

  1. and in the JotCache component click on Set Mark button :

JotCache component toolbar

With Set Mark button here it is sent marking cookie to your browser and then you can see marked page title (with three @@@) when page is comming from cache :

JotCache Page Title Marking

and steady refreshed module positions are marked with dashed red outline :

JotCache Module Marking

Check in backend

The marking can be used also for fast selection of pages which is necessary to remove from the cache. The recommended selection practice is following :

  1. check if list of active cached pages has any "Yes" in Mark column (use top combobox for selecting)
  2. reset the marks for given pages with ResetMark button (the button is shown after click on SetMark, when SetMark is on toolbar)
  3. click on SetMark button to start active marking
  4. open/reload pages in website frontend which you like to be marked
  5. Back in Administrator Cache Management click on Refresh button. You shall see in Mark column "Yes" for all in frontend opened/reloaded pages (you can select only marked pages with Select Mark combobox)

Selected files can be deleted as described in the following section.

Cache management

With JotCache Component you have possibility to look into one-to-one relation between cached page file (with hashed name e.g. 8d2146c2a4b1b3c9d65bac698c9115a5.php) and its original resource (component name, view, content id). This one-to-one relation is stored in database.

Starting with JotCache ver.1.1 here are two important changes to Cache management operation. At first JotCache component is now showing ONLY active cached pages (pages not yet expired). Second change relates to reassigned Refresh button on the toolbar. Refresh button has no more synchronising action between database and cache file system, but it is now assigned to pure refresh of cached pages list (for administrator convenience when he works with opened Cache management page).

With filtering and checking (as described in the section Check in backend) here it is easy to select cached page contents for delete operation :

JotCache component selection

 

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