Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

21 Apr 2014, 22:20 p.m.

It's Nice To Have Some Things Cached

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2014 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

The other day, our friendly performance engineer Ori, who loves to teach, whiteboarded Wikimedia's caching layers for me. Varnish, memcached, MariaDB's query cache, the browser's native cache, LocalStorage, and so on. I took notes and said "OH" a lot.

If you develop a web site that caches cleverly and thoroughly enough, you can avoid slowing down performance with gobs of CPU and database work, and give the user lightning-fast responses to common requests.

Similarly, I have accumulated a set of responses that I often have close to hand, such as:

  • a false name, for use when ordering pizza ("Vicky")
  • a funny and inoffensive joke I once read in Reader's Digest, for use in case someone says "you're a stand-up comedian; say something funny"
  • the ten-second explanation of what I do and where I work
  • h-a-r, i-h-a, r-e-s-as-in-sugar, w-a-r-a (pre-chunked explanation of how to spell my surname)
  • a few general food and beverage preferences (dark leafy greens and legumes; green tea, sparkling water, Malbec, and stout)

Caching works great for slow-changing things, and for things you can say the exact same way every time. On the other hand, every once in a while, someone asks me about my career plans. Then I wave my hands and say things about leadership and open source and moving the needle. At least, this year I do.


22 Apr 2014, 11:58 a.m.

I have definitely found life easier since I memorized a joke or two.

22 Apr 2014, 18:55 p.m.

Weirdly, "Kat" is also hard to understand when ordering pizza, not sure why; "Kate" is my food-ordering name.