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A Redis based cache plugin for Grails with TTL features.
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Grails Flexible Cache Redis Plugin

This plugin is an alternative to redis-cache-plugin. It is better than redis-cache-plugin because it gives the possibility to set the expire time in seconds for every cached key, and provides a service, annotations and injected methods to perform entry caching and eviction. The redis-plugin plugin also provides the possibility to set a TTL for a cached entry (using the provided @Memoize annotation), but it lacks the option to serialize any kind of Serializable objects: you are forced to be fully aware of what is being saved into cache each time (in redis-plugin you can save Domain object, list of Domain objects, List of POGOs, Scores, ecc, but not mix of that objects).

With this plugin you save everything you need into cache:

  • if it is a domain object the plugin will save its id in the cache and rehydrate it (if requested) at each cache hit.
  • if it is a plain object the plugin will cache it as it is.
  • if it is a Collection or a Map instance the plugin will iterate over it, preserving keys and/or order, and check what to save to the cache. For example you can have a Map with POGOs and Domain Classes: the plugin will save them accordingly.

This means that potentially a lot of data will go to redis, so pay attention to memory and bandwidth consumption!

This plugin is not an extension of cache-plugin plugin, it is far more simple and lighter at the same time. The cache-plugin gives a deep integration with grails Controller CoC mechanism, but I think it creates too much overhead sometimes.

The cache implementation provided by this plugin is inspired by redis-cache-plugin and redis-plugin but is not based on them. This plugins depends on redis-plugin for communication with redis and therefore it uses its configuration DSL.


Dependency :

compile ":redis-flexible-cache:0.3.2"

In order to access the redis server where cached entries are stored, the plugin uses the configuration of the redis-plugin. Typically, you'd have something like this in your grails-app/conf/Config.groovy file:

grails.redisflexiblecache.connectiontouse = 'cache' // not mandatory. If not declared 'cache' is the default value
grails {  // example of configuration
    redis {
        poolConfig {
            // jedis pool specific tweaks here, see jedis docs & src
            // ex: testWhileIdle = true
        database = 1          // each other grails env can have a private one
        port = 6379
        host = 'localhost'
        timeout = 2000 // default in milliseconds
        password = '' // defaults to no password
        connections {
            cache {
                //enabled = false // cache enabled by default
                database = 2
                host = 'localhost'  // will override the base one
                defaultTTL = 10 * 60 // seconds (used only if no ttl are declared in the annotation/map and no expireMap is defined
                expireMap = [ // values in seconds
                        never: -1, // negative values mean do not set any TTL
                        low: 10 * 60,
                        mid_low: 5 * 60,
                        mid: 2 * 60,
                        high: 1 * 60

There are two additional entries in the configuration respect a standard redis plugin configuration:

  • defaultTTL: indicates the amount of seconds to use as TTL when no other TTL value is provided explicitly
  • expireMap: provides names and values (in seconds) for TTL presets that can be used in annotations/method calls

There is also a specific configuration key that allows selecting which redis connection to use:

  • grails.redisflexiblecache.connectiontouse : the redis connection that the plugin must use. Can be 'cache' or any other specified in the redis plugin configuration. If not found, 'cache' is the default one. If there is no 'cache' connection, the base connection will be used.

Plugin Usage


As explained below, the plugin can be used in several ways (service, annotations, injected methods), but the set of parameters available are always the same. In case of storing/retrieving values from the cache the values are:

key               - a String containing a unique key for the cached data.
group             - a String containing a valid key present in the expireMap defined in Config.groovy.
expire            - an Integer containing the expire time in seconds (takes preference from group if both are provided).  Will default to 300 (5 minutes) if no valid group or expire values are provided.  If you set 0 or a negative value, entries will never expire.
reAttachToSession - a Boolean indicating whether the plugin must save the id of any Domain Classes found and rehydrate them when there is a cache hit.

In case of evicting values from the cache the value is only:

key               - a String containing a key to evict from the cache. You can insert also `*` and `?` wildcards to evict a set of keys as per Redis specification (`*`: 0 or more characters; `?`: exactly 1 character).

What to Cache

There are some consideration that can help you to understand how to use in the optimal way this plugin (and skip a lot of hit con the DB). Imagine the usual Book and Author classes example where Book have a nested Author property. If you set reAttachToSession to false, it doesn't mean that you cannot cache a Book instance. This means that you will have it deattached from the session: you can access to all property that are already accessed/not an other domain class. If you want to save db hit and perform quick caching you should load the object with eager switch on the fields you are sure you gonna access once the book is retrieved from cache, ex:

def list = redisFlexibleCacheService.doCache('some:key:2', 'someGroup', 120, false, {
    return Book.list(fetch: [author: "eager"])
log.debug list.first() // no exception thrown

As rule of thumb use reAttachToSession=true when you want to cache the result of complex elaboration is a Domain class or a list of them and you need to 'navigate' them as fresh objects. Instead use reAttachToSession=false when you are sure you just need some plain fields in the domain classes saved and you need to save hits on the db.

redisFlexibleCacheService Bean

def redisFlexibleCacheService

The redisFlexibleCacheService has 2 methods:

  • doCache: stores/retrieves an object from the cache using a given key.
  • evictCache evicts a key (or several if the key contains a wildcard) and its value from the cache.

This service is a standard Spring bean that can be injected and used in controllers, services, etc.


redisFlexibleCacheService.doCache('some:key:1', 'someGroup', 120, true, {
    return somethingToCache

redisFlexibleCacheService.evictCache( 'some:key:*', {
            log.debug('evicted :' + keys);

Controllers/Services dynamic methods

At application startup/reload each Grails controller and service gets injected the two methods provided from redisFlexibleCacheService with the following names:

  • cache
  • evictCache

Here is an example of usage:

def index(){
  //params validation, ecc...
  def res = redisFlexibleCache group: 'longLasting', key: 'key:1', reAttachToSession: true, {
              def bookList = // long lasting algortitm that returns a collection of domain class instances
              def calculated = // long lasting algoritm that returns an Integer  
              [book: bookList, statistics: calculated]
   // ..
   return [result: res]


It is also possible to use two Annotations on methods to access the cache functionality:

  • @RedisFlexibleCache
  • @EvictRedisFlexibleCache

The use of these annotations results in an AST transformation that wraps the body of the method with a call to the corresponding method in the redisFlexibleCacheService.

Here is an example of usage:

class BookService{
    @RedisFlexibleCache(key = 'bookservice:serviceMethod:author:1:book:#{text}', expire = '60',reAttachToSession = false)
    def serviceMethod(String text) {
        // long lasting operations
        return res
    @EvictRedisFlexibleCache(key = '#{key}')
    def evict(String key){

Using variables in Annotation keys

Since the value of the key must be passed in but will also be transformed by AST, we can not use the $ style gstring values in the keys. Instead you will use the # sign to represent a gstring value such as @EvictRedisFlexibleCache(key = "#{book.title}:#{}").

During the AST tranformation these will be replaced with the $ character and will evaluate correctly during runtime as redisFlexibleCacheService.evictCache("${book.title}:${}"){...}.

This kind of evaluation is the same used in (and implemented thanks to the example of) redis-plugin-example; take a look to the link for full details.

If the compile succeeds but runtime fails or throws an exception, make sure the following conditions are met:

  • Your key is configured correctly.
  • The key uses a #{} for all variables you want referenced.

If the compile does NOT succeed, check the stack trace as some validation is done on the AST transform for each annotation type. These conditions must be verified:

  • Required annotation properties are provided.
  • When using reAttachToSession, it is a valid Boolean.
  • When using expire, it is a valid String with a numeric value.
  • When using group, it is a valid String.
  • When using key, it is a valid String.

Release Notes

  • 0.1 - released 13/11/2013 - this is the first released revision of the plugin.
  • 0.2 - released 25/11/2013 - now based on redis-plugin 1.4.2 version instead of 1.3.3.
  • 0.2.2 - released 20/12/2013 - fixed a bug
  • 0.2.3 - released 07/01/2014 - fixed a bug
  • 0.2.4 - released 13/01/2014 - fixed a bug
  • 0.3.2 - released 04/02/2014 - now based on redis-plugin 1.4.3 version instead of 1.4.2. Now the Domain classes are saved into redis only with their ids. At each Cache hit they will be re-hydrated loading a fresh object from the DB.
  • 0.3.3 - released 07/03/2014 - now based on redis-plugin 1.5.0 version instead of 1.4.3.
  • 0.3.4 - released 14/02/2015 - now based on redis-plugin 1.6.3 version instead of 1.5.0.
  • 0.3.5 - released 03/08/2015 - now based on redis-plugin 1.6.6 version instead of 1.6.3.


This plugin is sponsored by GameTube.

Thanks to the authors of redis-plugin and redis-cache-plugin for excellent code examples and Christian Oestreich for his guide on groovy AST

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