June 29, 2005

Premptive Clear Cache?

So when browsing a company's home page, I got 404 errors when trying to access a couple of pages from their drop-down menu. I emailed the company through their "info" id and this was their response:

I would say the user needs to refresh his browser (i.e., close browser and reopen) to see if the browser is loading a cached version from his local machine. The user may also need to change their browser settings if the old nav continues to show up. If the browser is IE, then they need to make sure their Temporary Internet files settings is not set to “Never” - “Check for newer versions of stored pages” ; if so, they need to change it to allow for newer versions to be displayed.

Clearing Firefox's cache pulled a new version from their server and all was well. So yes, this was a fix.

But what should you do, as a Web designer, to prempt this kind of problem? What if I was a VC or some high-level mucky-muck who wouldn't know how to clear my cache, other than to drop a big wad of it in Vegas?

This is probably a more involved problem than you'd think. You could do an autorefresh, for example. Or use Pragma. Or Expires. Or check a cookie that you've set on the local machine.

But this is a company's home page. Which you'd want to load super-fast.

I think the best way would be on the server-side, something like tweaking the Last-Modified header so that user agents don't look in cache but pull a new file. Gotta investigate this one a bit more.

Posted by jameshom at June 29, 2005 11:11 AM | TrackBack
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