NanoCache: reduce queries, save time, cache

Published: On Sunday, June 15, 2008

NanoCache is a very simple piece of code that'll help you with caching small pieces of content.

Let's see this example: Function wp_list_authors is (in some occasions) able to make incredible amount of db queries. You can wait until your hosting provider says „you are a problem!“, you can rewrite the whole function to be more efficient (and upload it back to WordPress SVN – sounds right) but there is also an easier way: to use this simple caching script.

Note: of course, problems like this probably don't touch you if you use a caching plugin like 1BlogCacher or HyperCache

Get NanoCache

  • Required PHP version: 5.0 or higher
  • License: GNU/GPL
  • Version: 1.0

NanoCache as WordPress plugin

Download NanoCache, a WP plugin (2 KB, RAR)

NanoCache pure code

class NanoCache {

        static $dir = 'cache';
        static $default_life_length = 3600; // 1 hour

        public static function Update ($name, $content, $echo = false) {

                $dir_path = dirname(__FILE__) . '/' . self::$dir . '/';

                // maybe echo
                if ($echo) echo $content;

                // try to save
                if (is_writable($dir_path)) {

                        // save to file
                        $file = fopen($dir_path . $name, 'w');
                        fwrite($file, serialize($content));

                        return true;

                } else {

                        // echo error
                        echo "\n<!-- NanoCache Update Error -->\n";

                        return false;



        public static function Load ($name, $echo = false, $life_length = false) {

                if (!$life_length) $life_length = self::$default_life_length;

                $dir_path = dirname(__FILE__) . '/' . self::$dir . '/';
                $file_path = $dir_path . $name;

                // maybe not fount
                if (!is_file($file_path)) {

                        echo "\n<!-- NanoCache Load Error: Not Found -->\n";

                        return false;

                // maybe out-of-date
                } elseif (time() - filemtime($file_path) > $life_length OR isset($_GET['nonanocache'])) {

                        echo "\n<!-- NanoCache Load Error: Out-of-date -->\n";

                        return false;

                // maybe ok
                } else {

                        $content = unserialize(file_get_contents($file_path));

                        if ($echo) echo $content . "\n<!-- NanoCache OK -->\n";

                        return $content;




Usage of NanoCache

Installation note: the cache directory needs to have CHMOD permissions like 775 (script will create and rewrite files there).

Before: code was processed every time the page was load…

wp_list_authors(array('optioncount' => true));

Now: code is processed (defaultly) once per hour…

if (!NanoCache::Load('wp_list_authors', $echo = true)) {
        NanoCache::Update('wp_list_authors', wp_list_authors(array('optioncount' => true, 'echo' => false)), $echo = true);

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  1. 1.  Sean Lindsay wrote: On July 13., 2008 comment number 1

    Would it be better to wrap the logic of the ‚Load or Update‘ step into a single function, to make it easier to call? You could call this function NanoCache::Fetch. The usage would be as simple as:

    NanoCache::Fetch('cache_name', function, );

    One less line to write each time you want to check the cache, with much less chance of coding error.

  2. 2.  Sean Lindsay wrote: On July 13., 2008 comment number 2

    That example should read:

    NanoCache::Fet­ch(cache_name‘, function);

  3. 3.  Kahi [author] wrote: On July 13., 2008 comment number 3

    ↪ Sean Lindsay → You are right, I myself feel that the main „LoadAndMaybe­Update“ code could be simplefied. Fetch sounds quite good. I'll take a look at that later…

I quit working with WordPress, comments are closed. My plugins will not be updated any more – at least not by me. Feel free to modify my source codes though… Also I am not able to provide support, sorry. –Kahi