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Implementing Caching using Decorator Pattern in ASP.NET WEB API

Implementing Caching using Decorator Pattern in ASP.NET WEB API

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In this article, let's learn about how to do implement Caching using Decorator Pattern in Web API in ASP.NET Core.

Note: If you have not done so already, I recommend you read the article on Structural Design Pattern - Decorator.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Use Case
  3. Failing Scenario
  4. Decorator to Rescue
  5. Advantages
  6. Summary

Introduction

I'm a big fan of using design patterns, especially when combining them to achieve significant benefits. One powerful example is the Caching where we can use Proxy/Decorator patterns in web applications.

Use Case

Recently as of writing this, my team was working in a project where we need to do performance testing to make sure our application supports 3x peak load. In one of the priority use-case, we were not able to achieve this target. After doing some analysis, we found that we are getting rate limit exceeded error from one of the third party API. So we decided to implement caching to avoid this issue.

The same pattern can be applied to repositories to cache the data from the database. This will help to improve the performance of the application.

Failing Scenario

Let's say we have a WeatherForecastController which is calling a third party API to get the weather forecast details. The third party API has a rate limit of 10 requests per minute. If we exceed this limit, we will get a rate limit exceeded error.

Here is the code sample of the WeatherForecastController.

Code Sample - Web API without Caching

The above snippet is pretty straight forward. We are calling the third party API using service implemented using IWeatherService interface as shown below.

Code Sample - Normal Weather Service

In the above code we are going to make external API call to fetch weather details. I'm not going to get into how it was implemented as that is not the focus of this article.

Now the above service needs to be registered in the Program.cs file as shown below.

Code Sample - Registering Weather Service

Now when you run the application and hit the WeatherForecast endpoint, you will get the response. And this will work fine until you hit the rate limit of the third party API.

Decorator to Rescue

The Decorator pattern allows us to add caching without modifying existing code. We use the Decorator pattern to wrap the existing WeatherService instance with caching functionality.

Code Sample - Decorating Weather Service

In the above code, we are creating a new class CachedWeatherService which implements the IWeatherService interface. In the constructor, we are injecting the existing WeatherService instance and IMemoryCache instance.

Now the key part is the registration of these services. We now need to apply decorator in the Program.cs file while registering the services as shown below.

Code Sample - Decorating and Registering Weather Service

Now when you run the application and hit the WeatherForecast endpoint, you will get the response. And this will work fine even if you hit the rate limit of the third party API. The reason is that we are caching the response for 30 minute and if the same request comes within 30 minute, we will return the cached response instead of making the external API call.

Advantages

The advantages of using this approach are:

  • Add caching without modifying existing code. This is very useful when we are working in a legacy code base where we don't want to modify the existing code. We can just add the caching functionality using this pattern.
  • We can add multiple decorators to add multiple functionalities. For example, we can add logging, caching, and other functionalities without modifying the existing code.
  • Actual service will not have unnecessary dependencies. For example, in the above code, the WeatherService is not dependent on IMemoryCache.
  • We can easily unit test the service without any unwanted dependencies.

Cache Duration Considerations

Adjusting cache duration is crucial. For high-throughput APIs, start with the shortest duration and increase only if necessary. Finding the right balance ensures optimal database load and API performance characteristics for your application.

Summary

In this article, we learnt about how to implement caching using decorator pattern in ASP.NET Web API. We understood the benefits of using this approach and how it can help us to improve the maintainability, testability and performance of the application. I love to practice and implement what I learn like this. Thank you for reading. Happy Coding!

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  • Webapi
  • Caching
  • Decorator