Cache Dependency in ASP.NET Core

Apr 18, 2017     Viewed 6813 times    1 Comments
Posted in #Caching 

Caching is the process of storing frequently used data, this data is costly to generate for reuse. Usually this data are stored in memory because retrieving data from memory is very fast and more efficient than retrieving the data from other locations such as database.

ASP.NET Core provide us both in-memory and distributed caching. Caching repository has three different caching storage, In-Memory, Redis and SQL Server.

Cache Dependencies

Dependencies allow us to invalidate a particular item within the Cache based on file, key changes or at a fixed time.

In the previous version of ASP.NET there are three types of dependencies supported:

  • File based dependency
  • Key based dependency
  • Time based dependency

In ASP.NET Core we can invalidate a cache item based on time using the MemoryCacheEntryOptions class, nothing but the other cache dependencies are not there!! but that doesn't mean they are impossible to implement. So in this blog post I will show you how we can implement a file based dependency.

First of all we need to create the FileCacheDependency class:

public class FileCacheDependency
    public FileCacheDependency(string filename)
        FileName = filename;

    public string FileName { get; }

This is simple enough to store the file name that when need to monitor to invalidate the cache items, based on its change, second we need to add an extension method to add file based dependency.

public static class MemoryCacheExtensions
    public static void Set<TItem>(this IMemoryCache cache, string key, TItem value, FileCacheDependency dependency)
        var fileInfo = new FileInfo(dependency.FileName);
        var fileProvider = new PhysicalFileProvider(fileInfo.DirectoryName);
        cache.Set(key, value, new MemoryCacheEntryOptions()


Simply I used PhysicalFileProvider to monitor the give file, thanks Watch() method :)

Then we can use it as the following:

var cache = new MemoryCache(new MemoryCacheOptions());
var dependency = new FileCacheDependency("FilePath");

cache.Set("cacheKey", "cachValue", dependency);

Similarly we can create TimeCacheDependency class:

public enum CacheItemPolicy

public class TimeCacheDependency
    public TimeCacheDependency(TimeSpan time, CacheItemPolicy policy = CacheItemPolicy.AbsoluteExpiration)
        Time = time;

    public TimeSpan Time { get; }

    public CacheItemPolicy Policy { get; }

Finally add an extension method to MemoryCacheExtensions class

public static void Set<TItem>(this IMemoryCache cache, string key, TItem value, TimeCacheDependency dependency)
    var options = new MemoryCacheEntryOptions();

    if (dependency.Policy == CacheItemPolicy.AbsoluteExpiration)
    cache.Set(key, value, options);

That's it!!  also you can implement the key based dependency if it's required.

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1 Comment

DotnetShadow (5/1/2017 10:48:14 PM)

Great post,

In previous versions of there was the concept of sqlcachedependency, do you have any thoughts on how to apply something similar to core?

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