Friday, November 02, 2018

MemoryCache.Default suddenly not working

MemoryCache has a really strange behavior where all of a sudden, without any warning or exception, it stops caching. You use Set or Add, it doesn't matter. It returns true for Add, it throws no error for Set, but the cache stubbornly remains empty. This behavior can be replicated easily by running this line:
MemoryCache.Default.Dispose();
From that moment on, MemoryCache.Default will not cache anything anymore.

Of course, you will say, why the hell would you dispose the default object? First of all, why give me the option? It's not like I can set the Default instance after I dispose it, so this breaks a lot of things. Second of all, why pretend to continue to be working when in fact it is not? Most disposable classes throw exceptions if they are used after being disposed. And third of all, it might not be you who does the disposing.

In my case, I was trying to be a good boy and declare all my dependencies upfront. I was using StructureMap as a IoC framework and for my class that was using a MemoryCache I declared a constructor parameter of the basest type I could: ObjectCache. Then I registered MemoryCache.Default as the instance used when needing an ObjectCache. The problem is that each unit test would initialize and tear down the StructureMap container and it would take all the instances used that implement IDisposable and dispose them, including our friend MemoryCache.Default. As I couldn't find a simple way to tell StructureMap to not dispose the object, I had to create a MemoryCacheWrapper that implemented ObjectCache and was NOT IDisposable and was using MemoryCache.Default for all methods and use that as the singleton instance for an ObjectCache in StructureMap.

If you are working with a .NET version prior to .NET 4.5, you may encounter the same issue with a bug in .NET: MemoryCache Empty : Returns null after being set

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