The sense of Cache Strategies
Hey, you’ve probably already heard about Service Workers. Sure thing — you’ve heard. That is such a useful proxy between your web app and the network that has access to the cache storage, and not only.
I think every site should have a Service Worker and in this article, I’ll explain the main benefits of using it together with Cache API.
This article is written by Vitalii Manchenko
Why should I read further?
Do you know that without much work you can speed up your website a few times?
The understanding of how to combine cache and network requests will make the native-like experience for the end-user.
Before We start
- The code below will be used from
Workboxto avoid boilerplate, which is common for Service Workers when you write it natively.
- I’ll also represent these strategies as recipes to make the explanation simpler.
What is Service Worker?
I know, there are tons of information about it. I won’t go into details, it’s boring. Instead, I’ll show you a picture that allowed me to realize the main sense of Service Workers:
If you know what is Proxy, then you know, what Service Worker is. Service Worker is a middle layer between your app (even in multiple tabs) and the Network, that has access to the Cache.
5 Main Cache Strategies
Perhaps, this is the most popular and rough way to have a quick response to UI and make a parallel request to the server for updating the cache.
This pattern allows you to respond to the request as quickly as possible, with a cached response if available, falling back to the network request, if it’s not cached. The network request is then used to update the cache.
This helps developers balance between immediacy — loading cached content right away — and freshness — ensuring updates to the cached content are used in the future.
The code might look next way:
2. Network First
For frequently updated resources.
It’s preferable to serve the fresh content. However, if the network is unstable or fails, it’s acceptable to serve slightly old content.
- News feed timeline
- Order statuses
- API GET requests
3. Network Only
For important resources, such as admin pages.
This one is best suited for logs or anything we don’t have to make available offline.
- Admin pages
- Payments and checkouts
- Balance statements
In this case, the code will be the following:
4. Cache First
For less active assets, such as fonts and static images.
The content is non-critical and can be served from the cache for performance gains, but the Service Worker should occasionally check for updates.
- App shells
- Common resources
With this approach, the code looks like this:
5. Cache Only
This is a very uncommon strategy. Can be more helpful for building your own cache strategy or for static landings, which will be re-registered in 24h automatically, anyway.
- Landing pages
- Visit cards
- App shell
This one will work with the next code:
Those are only basic cases, but they are enough to make your app native-like.
Just combining these strategies based on your app’s aims, you’ll get a production-ready Service Worker.
Good luck and make your users happy! :)
Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for what’s new!