Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Mozilla Web Caching Summit

Category: Browsers, Mozilla, Performance


As part of their on-going efforts to engage directly with the web developer community, Mozilla hosted a Web Caching Summit earlier this week to discuss how the web platform could better meet the needs of developers. In attendance were developers who work on Facebook, Google Search, Microsoft Office Live, Twitter, Yahoo, SproutCore, and Palm webOS. Arun Ranganathan moderated the gathering.

One of the core challenges identified by the group was that frequent visitors of a site are often missing resources in their browser cache that the site authors think should be there. In other words, why is the same user requesting a static cacheable image with a year-long expiration every few days?

A lively discussion ensued over 5 hours talking about this problem and others, touching on why this is the case and what page developers could do to maximize the cache-ablity of their websites.

A high-level summary of the outcome is:

– browsers should immediately investigate increasing the size of the browser cache
– Mozilla will learn more about caching behaviors in the browser, perhaps by using Test Pilot to collect more information from end users
– Mozilla will investigate means of prioritizing content in the cache, either by allowing developers to prioritize content (i.e., set some content on the page as a higher cache priority than others) or through implicitly prioritizing (e.g., CSS and JS above images).

What do you think browser vendors could do to improve caching?

Posted by Ben Galbraith at 10:39 am

4.4 rating from 11 votes


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I would like to see prioritization. For my sites, I would want CSS, JS and then interface images- in that order. With interface images I would key in on the main site sprite and then scale back priority from there.

Comment by roblarsen — April 7, 2010

I had actually written an article on this subject, i hope it’s of interest to anyone:

Proposing that browser’s cache engine looks up a cloud resource.

Take a “read” :)

Comment by jscripter — April 7, 2010

How about auto-scaling disk cache size based on size of the disk. Firefox still has a 50MB cache when disks are now coming in the 100+ GB sizes

I’ve filed this bugzilla report a while ago

Comment by yusufg — April 7, 2010

I’m wondering why “prioritizing” is seen as the issue… Do we think that browser caches are failing to be (fully) primed because the cache size is limited and older but more “important” stuff gets pushed out with newer less important stuff?

Comment by getify — April 8, 2010

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