When creating CMS-like software, it is useful to have “undo” triggers in your application. Sometimes you want to revert to a previous version of a record, or undo a hasty delete. For the latter case, it is often useful to implement some form of a “softdelete” functionality.


Here is a lovely plugin for 3.x that you can use to implement soft-delete. Let’s install it!

# install using composer
composer require muffin/trash:1.0.0
# require it using the plugin:load shell I just found out about
bin/cake plugin load Muffin/Trash

This plugin depends upon us having a deleted or trashed field in our database table. Lets create a migration for our posts table:

# generate the migration using the migrations plugin
bin/cake bake migration add_deleted_to_posts deleted:datetime
# migrate the table
bin/cake migrations migrate

And now we can add the behavior to our Table class:


We could have also used a custom field like deleted_at, but that requires more configuration, and I’m lazy so that’s not going to happen.

Next, lets see how we can use this behavior:

$table = $this->loadModel('Posts');
$post = $table->get(1);
// simply marks the entity as in the trash
// this fails because it's already in the trash
// When the behavior is attached, `delete()` is the same as `trash()`
// "recycle's" things from the trash
// by default, all your trash is excluded
$posts = $table->find()->all();
// but you can find everything, including things in the trash
$posts = $table->find()->withTrashed()->all();

If you want to disable the overriding of delete() with trash(), you can attach the behavior like so:

// Useful if you bake actions for soft-delete and force-delete
$this->addBehavior('Muffin/Trash.Trash', [
    'events' => ['Model.beforeFind']

The plugin is already quite useful - in fact, I’m using it in 2 applications already - and can probably take care of 90% of your soft-deletion needs.