Posts tagged with semantic web

Caching websites with Django and Memcached...

Published at July 12, 2011 | Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

... memcached installation, django configuration and how to use it for your website

After Caching web sites and web applications and When to use caching for web sites its time for a little sample. This sample shows the usage of Memcached for server-side application cache. The installation part is taken from my Ubuntu so it may differ depending from your OS/distribution.

What is Memcached: Memcached is a tool that allows you to store key-value pairs in you memory. The keys are limited to 250 Bytes and for better performance the value size is limited to 1MB(more details) but this size is fair enough for web usage.

Memcached installation:

apt-get install memcached
apt-get install python-memcache
The first line installs Memcached and the second one install Python API for communication between your application and Memcached daemon. After this the Memcached daemon is up and running. With default configuration it runs on port 11211 on localhost(127.0.0.1). If you want to modify this the configuration file(in my case) is situated in /etc/memcached.conf Django configuration: This one depends from the Django version that you use. For 1.2.5 and prior the next code should by added in your settings file(settings.py):
CACHE_BACKEND = 'memcached://127.0.0.1:11211/'
For 1.3 and development version add:
CACHES = {
    'default': {
        'BACKEND': 'django.core.cache.backends.memcached.MemcachedCache',
        'LOCATION': '127.0.0.1:11211',
    }
}
In both cases if you use different port and/or IP you have to replace them above. More info about cache backend configuration you can find in Django documentation docs. So now you have Memcached running and Django configured. If you have doubts about is this suitable/usable in you case take a look at the posts mentioned above or just add comment with your case and I will be happy to give you an advice. Now it is time to start using it. Cache usage(part I) - how to cache on Python level: If you have some heavy calculations in your view you can cache the result from this and use the calculated one to lower the load. Example:
from django.core.cache import cache

def heavy_view(request):
    cache_key = 'my_heavy_view_cache_key'
    cache_time = 1800 # time to live in seconds
    result = cache.get(cache_key)
    if not result:
        result = # some calculations here
        cache.set(cache_key, result, cache_time)
    return result
The process is simple, you ask the cache for a value corresponding to a given key(line 4). If the result is None you execute the code that generates it(line 8 ) and store it in the cache(line 9). My advice is to declare the key and time as variables cause this will ease their future changes. Cache usage(part II) - how to cache on template level: This is suitable for the cases when you have some heavy processing in the template(as regroup) or you want to cache only part of the template(as latest news section). Example:
{% load cache %}
 ... non cached content here ...
{% cache 1800 latest_news %}
    ... here are latest news - cached ...
{% endcache %}
The basic usage usage is {% cache time_in_seconds key %} ... {% endcache %} You can also cache code fragments based on dynamic properties, for example - current user recent conversations, just pass a 3rd param the uniquely identifies the code to be cached.
{% load cache %}
{% cache 300 recent_conversations request.user.id %}
    ... current user recent conversations - cached ...
{% endcache %}

Final words: as you see from the examples above using Django and Memcached is really easy. Using it correctly will speed up your website and respectively improve your user experience(UX) and SEO. Using it wrong will provide negative results. Just take a moment and think what can be cached, how long can it be cached and is there a reason to be cached. Try to avoid double caching - there is no need to use caching in templates and then cache the rendered template in the view too.

SEOmoz meetup in Sofia, Bulgaria

Published at Nov. 2, 2010 | Tagged with: , ,

First of all I want to thank to Rand Fishkin from SEOmoz and the Webit team for organizing this meetup.

For a long time in the web world there was a feud between the developers and the SEO guys. Both groups claiming that their work is more important, more sophisticated and with bigger value to the client and website visitors. A have to admit that(as a developer) I was also focused only on my work ignoring the SEO part and leaving it to the others. But for the last year I started to give more attention to this field.

Do not get me wrong, I am not going to become a SEO Expert but the truth is that like every other thing the web is complex system. For example - you can hire the best auto engineer but if he is alone you will never get a car that sells. You need a team - engineers, designer, managers, ergonomics experts etc. Everyone of them should focus in his field but also to cooperate with others to provide the optimal solutions.

As a developers our task is to know the basic principles of the semantic web and search engine optimization and to build applications conformable with them. Then the SEO experts come and do their magic. But it is a process that have to be walked hand by hand for both of us. It is always easier if it is made by design(architecture) the to rewrite it later.

As a final word I want to state that I have a really great time at this meeting and I hope that this was my first but not last attendance on event of this kind.