0 Replies Latest reply on Dec 9, 2004 5:41 AM by danip

    Potential Contribution: Improving System Efficiency by Metho

    danip Newbie

      Dear reader,

      this message intends to promote the idea of method-based caching
      as a means to elegantly and effectively improve the efficiency of
      EJB-systems. In order to explain what this is about I have
      implemented a related API that uses javassist. My suggested
      approach helps to easily and transparently separate the aspect of
      client side caching from other system aspects.

      If you got curious download the API and check it out at
      (Requires JDK 1.5 and ANT 1.5 or higher.)
      If you are undecided, go on and read the API's README file which I
      have attached below. (The general idea is based on a research
      paper of mine which is available at

      I am looking forward to feedback and an interesting discussion. If
      there is any/enough support, I would be willing to contribute the
      API and the related concepts to the JBoss group.


      Daniel Pfeifer

      ----------------- README (from dmcache.zip) ------------------------

      DMCache - A Dynamic Method-Based Caching API

      Daniel Pfeifer, $Date: 2004/12/09 10:16:40 $

      Download at: http://www.ipd.uka.de/~pfeifer/dmcache.zip


      This API demonstrates a cache that dynamically, transparently and
      consistently caches results of method invocations. It intends to
      promote the idea of method-based caching as an excellent option
      for improving the efficiency of modern information systems.

      Method-based caching can be useful in the context of layered
      architectures where a layer is abstracted by a set of Java
      interfaces. A good example is a servlet-based web server whose
      servlets invoke EJB methods (all EJBs are abstracted by Java
      interfaces). Method results are cached at the client side (which
      happens to be a web server for the example) and so at a cache hit,
      a costly and potentially remote EJB method call can be avoided. In
      this context the approach is ALWAYS A BETTER OPTION THAN DYNAMIC
      WEB CACHING. The reasons for this exciting statement are explained
      below. An important example of a dynamic web caching approach is
      JESI (see http://www.esi.org/jesit_tag_lib_1-0.html).

      Note that method-based caching can be applied in such a way that
      it maintains 100% cache consistency (also called strong cache
      consistency). In order to do so, an application developer has to
      annotate the respective methods of a service interface. The
      annotations form a so called "cache model". Apart from these
      annotations, a respective cache remains 100% transparent
      (invisible) to the client AND to the server code and so it can be
      deployed in very late project cycles without harming existing code
      and system functionality. In terms of aspect-oriented programming,
      method-based caching may be considered a way to separate a caching
      aspect from other system aspects.

      For detailed information on the general idea of method-based
      caching, please read the paper available at
      By means of an experiment and a benchmark application, the paper
      shows that method-based caching can considerably increase the
      overall system efficiency of a real world EJB-based web

      As apposed to the implementation presented in the referenced
      paper, DMCache (this API) is fully dynamic. In particular, all
      cache classes that implement a layer's Java interfaces (e.g. a set
      of EJB interfaces) are generated at system RUNTIME using a dynamic
      proxy approach. Further, cache models are not specified via
      XML-files but by means of method annotations. (Annotations are a
      new feature of JDK 1.5.)

      The API is in an early state but functional and tested. The source
      code in the package "ord.ipd.dmcache.model.test" gives an idea on
      how to use it and what it can do.

      In practice, this kind of caching is meant to entirely REPLACE
      LAYER. A good example is a servlet-based web server with servlets
      invoking EJBs. Since EJB calls are expensive it may be useful to
      cache the respective calls' results for read-only calls. In such a
      case, EJB calls are usually expensive and form the system's
      bottleneck - however servlet computations are cheap (apart from
      the included EJB calls).

      The following considerations reveal that under these
      circumstances, method-based caching is A LOT SMARTER than dynamic
      web caching, because the former
      1) leads to better hit rates than dynamic web caching (or at least
      the same hit rates),
      2) makes page fragmentation approaches such as ESI obsolete,
      3) is very likely to consume less memory dynamic web caching,
      4) potentially provides strong cache consistency,
      5) does not pollute the server or client code with
      nasty cache-related code-snippets or tags.

      The following paragraphs explain why this is true:

      1) A servlet-based web page computation my be considered as a
      function page(m_1(a_1_1),...,m_k(a_1_k)) with m_1(a_1_1) to
      m_k(a_1_k) being respective EJB calls and a_1_1 to a_1_k being
      respective method arguments. (The argument values a_1_1,...,a_1_k
      are derived from the parameters of a corresponding HTTP page
      request.) If m_1(a_1_1) to m_k(a_1_k) are read-only method calls,
      then page(...) quite likely may be cached (as a dynamic web page).

      One gets a hit for page(...) only if the respective page request
      parameters correspond to the arguments for the underlying
      EJB-method calls, namely a_1_1,...,a_1_k. Obviously this case also
      leads to corresponding hits in the case of method-based caching.
      Thus, the hit rates of method-based caching are at least as good
      as for dynamic web caching.

      Now consider a second page computation page_2(m_1(a_2_1),...,
      m_k(a_2_k)) which is based on other request parameters than
      page(...). If a_2_i = a_1_i holds for some i in {1,...,k} then one
      will get a hit for the method-based cache but not for a respective
      dynamic web cache (since the request parameters between page(...)
      and page_2(...) differ). Thus method-based caching can cause even
      better hit rates than dynamic web caching!

      2) Method-based caching makes page fragmentation approaches. This
      follows straight from 1): At best, page fragmentation can only
      produce fragments so tiny that at least zero to one EJB method
      calls m_i(a) will be contained in a fragment computation. If the
      fragment computation contains zero EJB-calls, then its computation
      is very efficient and so caching the fragment is useless (remember
      that servlet executions are usually efficient apart from their
      embedded EJB-calls). If the fragment computation contains one EJB
      method call then the method-based cache has the same potential of
      producing a cache hit in respect to m_i(a).

      3) Web page code is usually highly redundant because it contains a
      lot of rendering information. Therefore cached web pages are
      usually stored on disk and must be read from disk at a cache hit.
      In contrast, method results are usually a lot less redundant and
      come in a compact binary format. Thus cached method results can be
      kept in memory - no disk access is necessary at a cache hit.

      4) Strong cache consistency can be reached via cache models (see
      above). Alternatively timeout-based approaches may be suitable

      5) Using dynamic web caching, JESI tags or other code for cache
      consistency usually must be embedded in servlets. It make the
      servlet code error prone and less readable. In contrast,
      annotations for method-based caching are compact and well
      separated from other system code. They are located in front of
      method declarations as JDK 1.5 annotations.


      The API requires the JDK 1.5 and ANT. (It works with ANT 1.6 or
      higher - lower version are not tested.) In order to build it,
      please set the environment variables "JAVA_HOME" and "ANT_HOME"
      appropriately and go to the directory "dmcache/bin".

      Run "build.bat" on Windows or "build.sh" on Unix and find the
      results in "dmcache/build/jar":
      dmcache.jar - the API's library.
      dmcachetest.jar - the test code.
      "build.bat" also runs the JUnit test whose result can be found
      in "dmcache/log/DMCacheTestResult.txt".

      "build.bat javadoc" or respectively "build.sh javadoc" generates the
      Java documentation in "dmcache/build/javadoc".