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Active Cache a RESTful Response

This cookbook will demonstrate how to create a RESTful service in Crafter Engine that has predictable performance and reliability when your service relies on an external service.

Any time your services depend on another service there is a cause for concern. You can’t control the performance or the availability of the external service. Further, if the response of the external service is not unique across calls then there may be no real need to call out to it on each request you receive.

In this case what you want to do is cache the request from the external service and have your service attempt to get the content from the cache. Active cache is a built in CrafterCMS capability that makes building these sort of solutions much easier. You tell Active Cache what you want, how to get it and how often to refresh it in the background. From there on, you simply ask Active cache for whatever the current response is.


Remember that caching only works when Crafter Engine is NOT in preview mode. This is because when in preview mode, the preview server does not cache to ensure the latest updates are seen immediately.


Enable active cache

Active cache is disabled by default. To enable active cache, in the crafter-setenv.sh file under CRAFTER_HOME/bin, set the Spring profile crafter.core.activeCache

export SPRING_PROFILES_ACTIVE=crafter.core.activeCache

Include crafter.cacheTemplate to the list of allowed beans

To do this go to your Crafter installation, and then in bin/apache-tomcat/shared/classes/crafter/engine/extension edit the server-config.properties and add the the crafter.cacheTemplate to crafter.engine.defaultPublicBeans:

# Patterns for beans that should always be accessible from the site application context

In some cases, restrictions need to be disabled. To disable all restrictions, set crafter.engine.disableVariableRestrictions to true:

# Indicates if the whole servlet & spring context should be available for templates & scripts

Step 1: Specify the Cache Tick Duration

Crafter’s cache implementation uses “ticks” to handle item expiration or refresh of items. A tick is an arbitrary period of time that is completely configurable, and by default it’s 1 hour. So if an item is refreshed every 5 ticks, that means that it will be refreshed every 5 hours. If you need constant refreshment/expiration of items, we recommend each tick to be 1 minute. To change this go to your Crafter installation, and then in bin/apache-tomcat/shared/classes/crafter/engine/extension edit the server-config.properties and add the following property:

     # The timespan of a single "tick". 60 000 == 1 minute

Step 2: Create a REST Controller

  • Under Scripts/rest right click and click create controller
    • Enter my-data.get as the controller name

  • Add the following code to the controller.

import org.craftercms.core.service.CachingOptions
import org.craftercms.commons.lang.Callback
import org.springframework.http.MediaType
import org.springframework.http.RequestEntity
import org.springframework.web.client.RestTemplate
import java.util.Map

def cacheTemplate = applicationContext["crafter.cacheTemplate"]
def cacheContext = siteContext.context
def cacheKey = "externalData"
def cachingOptions = new CachingOptions()
def callback = new ExternalServiceCallback()

// Sets the refresh frequency to be every 5 ticks, or every 5 minutes
cachingOptions.refreshFrequency = 5

// Get the object. If the object has not yet being loaded into the cache the method
// will call the callback first and then will put the result in the cache. Refresh
// is done in the background.
return cacheTemplate.getObject(cacheContext, cachingOptions, callback, cacheKey)

 * Define a a callback that will be used to prime and then periodically refresh
 * the cache with the latest data from an external service.
class ExternalServiceCallback implements Callback {

  Object execute() {
    // The REST client that will make the call
    def restTemplate = new RestTemplate()
    // The service URL
    def url = "http://api.population.io:80/1.0/population/United%20States/today-and-tomorrow"
    // Creates the request, specifying that the response should be application/json
    def request = RequestEntity.get(url.toURI()).accept(MediaType.APPLICATION_JSON).build()

    // Calls the service
    return restTemplate.exchange(request, Map.class).body


Step 3: Execute the Service