Powerful maps, with comprehensive databases, need a little help sometimes.
For many Network Members our Cultural Asset Map is a critical tool used to keep track of and comminicate the importance of a city, region or state's cultural assets. The database it pulls from is powerful and adaptive. But for some of our larger Network Members, the amount of information that was being called upon to load every time they wanted to use their Cultural Asset Map was huge, cause the map to seem slow and unresponsive. What good is tool if it's not nimble, right? Entering Caching.
For those of you who aren't familiar with caching is, by definition "is a hardware or software component that stores data so that future requests for that data can be served faster; the data stored in a cache might be the result of an earlier computation or a copy of data stored elsewhere."
Here's an example of how it works:
- A site visitor uses the Cultural Asset Map.
- The caching function stores a proverbial 'snapshot' of the information that was called upon to load on the page by the user.
- Then, another site visitor chooses to use the Cultural Asset Map within a 2-4 hours window from when the pervious user viewed it.
- The site uses the information it 'cached' to display the map and content it 'remembers' should be on that page.
- After 2-4 hours, the cache automatically clears, and is refreshed when a new site visitor chooses to use the Cultural Asset Map, starting the process all over again.
Step number 5 is critical to understanding the benefits of caching. If the site did not automatically renew it's cached information every few hours, the information would be out of date and this technique would be ineffective. Good things it does! Another important fact to note is that our system clears the cache anytime someone adds new information to the Cultural Asset Map from the administrative side of their site. The result is TONS of accurate information that loads quickly and adapts to the user's behavior.