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Improve and Automate Plone Caching with collective.cloudfront

Improve and Automate Plone Caching with collective.cloudfront

In the latest versions (5.0+) of Plone, caching features, including plone.app.caching, are shipped with Plone out of the box. However, these add-ons assume a dedicated front-end cache program, like Varnish, will be doing the data purges. For users hosting a Plone site through a cloud provider like Amazon Web Service (AWS), the connection between Plone and the AWS tool (e.g., Amazon CloudFront) is neither reliable nor supported through the standard Plone documentation.

When solutions to problems don’t exist, Six Feet Up creates them. Enter collective.cloudfront, a Plone add-on designed to watch for Purge notifications from plone.app.caching and send the corresponding invalidation requests to an instance of Amazon’s CloudFront. In other words, collective.cloudfront saves time and money by bridging the gap between Plone and AWS and automating the purge process — when changes are made on a Plone site, the cache stored in CloudFront is also purged to avoid serving outdated content to the end user.

In the process of developing collective.cloudfront, I identified and submitted pull requests to fix several bugs in plone.app.caching. The bugs were sending multiple API requests to AWS servers for duplicate content — a costly issue, especially for large websites. Fortunately, the pull requests I documented for Plone’s open-source community solve the problem.

Additionally, my fellow Sixie and current Plone President, Chrissy Wainwright, contributed to collective.cloudfront by creating a “purge all” button to delete a website’s cache at a designated time, rather than piece by piece as changes are made.

To get started using the collective.cloudfront add-on, check out the following documents:

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