Versioned DbMigrations

Need more control than only just being able to update your database schema via CakePHP’s Migration shell ? Well, this is a dirty quick solution for actually versioning your database ! And a great tool to let all developers on your CakePHP project to keep their respective databases up-to-date. You can choose to either do this auto-magically, or use the plugin’s GUI to go back and forth between versions at will. The best part is that it utilizes CakePHP’s “Model” layer to it’s fullest, hence you can practically do anything when you jump from version to version.

CakePHP: Versioned Db Migrations Plugin for CakePHP 2.0


Install this plugin following the simple steps below:

  1. Copy this plugin in a directory called “DbMigrations” inside your app/Plugin directory.
  2. Now load the plugin in your application’s bootstrap file (typical location: app/Config/bootstrap.php) by pasting this line:
  1. After this, take a look at DbMigrations/Config/config.php. Here you will find two setting:
table => 'db_migrations'
and sanityCheck => true

These settings are as simple as they sound. The "table" is the name of the table the DbMigrations plugin is going to use.
You can change it to your liking.
The second setting: "sanityCheck", when turned to "TRUE" lets DbMigrations check if the table specified in the "table"
property exists. If not, it simply creates it so that you won't have to do a thing :)
  1. After following the above steps, there are two ways in which you can keep your databases up-to-date.
4.1. You can simply paste this line "ClassRegistry::init('DbMigrations.Migration')->upgrade(true)" in your AppController::beforeFilter().
     Following this way, whenever your you hit a page, the AppController::beforeFilter() will be executed, hence, the DbMigrations plugin
     will update your database to the latest version if it's not already.

4.2. OR you can go to the plugin's GUI, http://your_website_url/db_migrations/migrations and choose the revision you'd like
     your database to be updgraded or downgraded to.

NOTE: I won’t recommend using both 4.1 or 4.2 at the same time.

And you’re all set ! - Also, I would always advise to keep this kind of auto-upgrades for environments like Test and Development. It won’t be good practice at all to use this for production. Fits the dev environment best though.

How this works B0x1A6 So to get started, after when you have followed the installation steps make a folder “Migrations” in your “app” directory. You will find a “Migrations” folder already in the “DbMigrations” directory. That is the default folder. You’d be better off keeping your files organized in a folder in your app dir for better organization. (In future versions I can have that folder name and path configurable too).

A sample file list in the “Migrations” folder would look like this:


There are two parts to the files you create. As you can see, the name of the files that is prefixed by a version number. These version numbers need to be unique as it’s going to be an incremental updates for the database.

Now to look inside a sample file. For, say, the second file, “002_users_table_add_deleted_field.php”, the contents would be simply:

class DbMigration_2 extends DbMigrationsAppModel {

    public function up() {
        $sql = "ALTER TABLE  `users` ADD  `deleted` TINYINT( 1 ) NOT NULL";

    public function down() {
        $sql = "ALTER TABLE `users` DROP `deleted`";

After making all the changes (following steps in the installation) and making these files, if you are following step 4.1 to update your database, then when you run your application for the first time, it will run all these files, hence pushing all changes in your database.

If you notice, you’ll see that all “DbMigration_{$revisionNumber}” classes are instances of the CakePHP Model. Hence you can use CakePHP’s model layer to it’s full potential !

If at any point in time, say you need to downgrade your changes to a specific revision number, assuming 2 for this explanation. All you need to do is execute this statement at any suitable place in your code:


This will rollback all changes till revision 2. Which means it will drop the table “samples” (you should code the drop statement in the downgrade() function of DbMigration_3 class).

If you wish to make your database up-to-date again, then just issuing the upgrade() statement, it will re-create the samples table and push all changes for issue 336. It won’t execute changes for files 001 and 002.

OR alternatively, you can follow step 4.2.

Important Notes

You will need to be carefuly to name your DbMigration_X classes, that “X” should correspond to the revision number that is prepended to every migration file.

There are no checks implemented at this point. No exceptions if you screw up. So you will really need to be careful in coding the up() and down() functions for your DbMigration_X classes.

You can also even insert data into tables and issue update statements.

Hope this plugin makes your life easier and makes development fast !

Find this plugin on my GitHub profile: