I’ve been trying to come up with a good caching strategy for a CI build, and with the new cache@v2 action I think I’ve worked it out.

I want:

  • a nightly build without cache, to prove that the build works from scratch and isn’t being propped up by a cache that cannot be recreated
  • a regularly renewed cache, so that it doesn’t keep growing - often the cache retrieval, expansion & update is the longest part of my build.

It occurred to me that these two requirements play nicely together - if the nightly build could start with no cache, but prime the cache, then all builds during the day would benefit from a nice minimal cache.

I think the following GitHub action achieves this, by including the current date in the base cache key:

name: My Build

    # Daily at 2AM
    # * is a special character in YAML so you have to quote this string
    - cron: '0 2 * * *'

  cache-name: my-build-1

    runs-on: ubuntu-18.04

      - uses: actions/checkout@v2

      - name: Get current date
        id: date
        run: echo "::set-output name=date::$(date +'%Y-%m-%d')"

      - name: Cache whatever
        uses: actions/cache@v2
          path: ~/path_needing_caching
          # Always want a cache miss on the first build of the day, which should
          # be the scheduled 2AM one. Proves the build works from scratch, and
          # primes a nice clean cache to work with each day.
          key: ${{ env.cache-name }}_${{ steps.date.outputs.date }}-${{ github.ref }}-${{ github.run_number }}
          restore-keys: |
               ${{ env.cache-name }}_${{ steps.date.outputs.date }}-${{ github.ref }}-
               ${{ env.cache-name }}_${{ steps.date.outputs.date }}-