Andrew Shitov > File-Cache-Persistent-0.3 > File::Cache::Persistent



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Module Version: 0.3   Source  


File::Cache::Persistent - Caches file content and allows to use it even after file is deleted


    use File::Cache::Persistent;
    # Reloading cache if the file was modified
    my $cache = new File::Cache::Persistent;
    say $cache->get('index.html');
    . . . # Some code that modifies the file.
    say $cache->get('index.html');
    # Using cached copy forever
    my $cache = new File::Cache::Persistent;
    say $cache->get('index.html');
    unlink 'index.html';
    say $cache->get('index.html');
    # Checking if the file was modified after timeout
    my $cache = new File::Cache::Persistent(timeout => 30);
    say $cache->get('index.html');
    sleep 40;
    say $cache->get('index.html');
    # Remove the file from cache and then reload it    
    say $cache->get('index.html');
    # Learn out what was used
    say $cache->get('index.html');
    warn "Used cached version"
        if $cache->status | $File::Cache::Persistent::CACHE;
    warn "Used cached version but the file is deleted"
        if $cache->status | $File::Cache::Persistent::CACHE
        && $cache->status | $File::Cache::Persistent::NO_FILE;
    # Using custom data provider
    my $cache = new File::Cache::Persistent(reader => \&my_reader);
    . . .
    sub reader {
        my $file_path = shift;
        # Read the file, analyse its content
        # and return something that should be cached
        return $data;


File::Cache::Persistent caches file content, controls if the files are changed, ignores any changes withing predefined timeout and allows to use cache for files which were removed after entering the cache.


This module aims to put caching logic to the background and avoid manually checking conditions of cache expiration. It also is useful when files are not available after cache timeout and provides cached version although it is inevitably outdated.

Access to the data is granted through get method. It transparently reads the file and caches it if it is needed. By default, raw content of the file is put to the cache.


Constructor new creates an instance of caching object. It accepts three named parameters, each of them are optional.

    my $default_cache = new File::Cache::Persistent(
        prefix  => '/www/data/xsl',
        timeout => 30,
        reader  => \&custom_reader

prefix parameter defines a directory where files will be looked for. By default it is assumed that files are located in the current directory.

timeout specifies how long the instance uses pure cache and makes no attempt to check whether the file is modified. During that period every call of get method returns data stored in cache (excluding the first call when the cache is empty).

reader allows to replace default routine of reading the file. Default behaviour is getting anyting from (text) file and put it to the cache. Reader replacer may be a subroutine which accepts a filename and returns something to put to cache. Returning value may not only be the text: it may, for example, be a reference to an object which was created with the data from file. Note that file must exists even if the reader is not going to get the data from it.

Here is an example of custom reader subroutine which calculates the square of an image and returns it in a hash together with image dimentions.

    use Image::Size;
    . . .
    sub image_metrics {
        my $path = shift;        
        my ($width, $height) = imgsize($path);
        return {
            width  => $width,
            height => $height,
            square => $width * $height,

If the reader encounters an error, its explanation may be found by calling reader_error method.

    my $data = $cache->get('wrong.xml');
    say $cache->reader_error() unless $data;

It is possible to call new with no parameters, which is equivalent to calling with defaults:

    my $default_cache = new File::Cache::Persistent(
        prefix  => undef,
        timeout => 0,
        reader  => undef


The only data accessor is a method get. It must be called every time the user needs data. Return value is built either by default file reader or by custom one. Method expects to receive a path to the file (relating to the prefix if it was specified in the constructor).

When get is called for the first time, file is always read from disk and stored to the cache. Internal behaviour of future calls depends on different conditions as described in next sections.

If the cache is empty and no file exists, the call dies with an error.

Time caching mode is off

Timeout check is off by default. In this case each call of get looks if the file in question was modified. If it was, the cache is updated and a new value is returned. Otherwise current value is returned without reading the file.

Note that modification is determined by checking modification time and size of the file. Thus in rear cases modification may be not noticed. For example, if a copy of two different files are made in a period less than one second, and between these two copyings get is called. To avoid such situations, remove method may be used to clear the cache for that file:

    use File::Copy;
    copy('file1', 'file');
    say $cache->get('file');
    unlink 'file';
    copy('file2', 'file');
    say $cache->get('file');

When the file is deleted and the cache is not cleaned, every get call will return the value stored in it previously.

Time caching mode is on

Timeout for the cache is set by timeout parameter in a constructor. The value is a number of seconds during which physical file on the disk will not be checked. If it is changed before the timeout, cache will contain initial value.

    # Running under mod_perl
    my $cache = new File::Cache::Persistent(timeout => 600);
    . . .
    sub handler {
        . . .
        say $cache->get('currency_rates.html');

First get call happened after timeout will check if the file was modified and update the cache if it is necessary. If there were no changes, timeout will be prolongated for timeout seconds more without re-reading the file.

If the file is deleted, the cache does not suffer even it is asked after timeout.


Module provides special method status which reports where cache data were get from. This method returns the status of last get call and thus should be used after calling get and before any other get or remove calls.

Return value is a bitwise combination of the following flags:

CACHE occures when get returns the value from cache. If the cache has a timeout specified, additional TIME_CACHE flag is set.

TIMEOUT indicates that timeout happened.

PROLONG shows that timeout was reset for the next period and no file was really read.

FILE, NOT_MODIFIED and NO_FILE correspond to situations when file was read from disk, or it was not modifed, or was deleted.

Bitwise operator | may be used to determined what happened:

    if ($cache->status | $File::Cache::Persistent::NO_FILE) {
        warn "Unexpectedly absent file";


Andrew Shitov, <>


File::Cache::Persistent module is a free software. You may redistribute and (or) modify it under the same terms as Perl itself whichever version it is.

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