SilverStripe Versioned Snapshots

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1.0.1 2023-10-11 00:44 UTC


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Enables snapshots for enhanced history and modification status for deeply nested ownership structures. It's solving an important UX issue with versioning, which is particularly visible in content blocks implementations.

This module enables the data model for snapshots. To take full advantage of its core offering, you should install silverstripe/versioned-snapshot-admin to expose these snapshots through the "History" tab of the CMS.

WARNING: This module is experimental, and not considered stable.


$ composer require silverstripe/versioned-snapshots

You'll also need to run dev/build.

What does this do?

Imagine you have a content model that relies on an ownership structure, using the $owns setting.

  (has_many) Blocks
    (has_one) Gallery
       (many_many) Image

Ownership between each of those nodes affords publication of the entire graph through one commmand (or click of a button). But it is not apparent to the user what owned content, if any, will be published. If the Gallery is modified, BlockPage will not show a modified state.

This module aims to make these modification states and implicit edit history more transparent.

What does it not do?

Currently, rolling back a record that owns other content is not supported and will produce unexpected results. Further, comparing owned changes between two versions of a parent is not supported.

Can I use this in my current project?

Yes, with few caveats:

  • many_many relationships must use "through" objects. (implicit many_many is not versionable)
  • You will have to migrate all of your versioned content to snapshots (See Migrating from versioned)
  • Some editing events may not be captured, particularly some provided by thirdparty modules. See (Adding your own snapshot creator)
  • Does not (yet) fully work with Postgres. Pull requests welcome!


While the SnapshotPublishable extension offers a large API surface, there are only a few primary methods that are relevant to the end user:

  • $myDataObject->hasOwnedModifications(): bool returns true if the record owns records that have changes
  • $myDataObject->getPublishableObjects(): ArrayList: returns a list of DataObject instances that will be published along with the owner.
  • $myDataObject->getActivityFeed(): ArrayList Provides a collection of objects that can be rendered on a template to create a human-readable activity feed. Returns an array of ActivityEntry objects containing the following:
    • Subject: The DataObject record that instantiated the activity
    • Owner: Only defined in many_many reltionships. Provides information on what the record was linked to. Informs the ADDED and REMOVED actions.


The snapshot functionality is provided through the SnapshotPublishable extension, which is a drop-in replacement for RecursivePublishable. By default, this module will replace RecursivePublishable, which is added to all dataobjects by silverstripe-versioned, with this custom subclass.

How it works

Snapshots are created with handlers registered to user events in the CMS triggered by the silverstripe/cms-events module.

Customising the snapshot messages

By default, these events will trigger the message defined in the language file, e.g. _t('SilverStripe\Snapshots\Handler\Form\FormSubmissionHandler.HANDLER_publish', 'Publish page'). However, if you want to customise this message at the configuration level, simply override the message on the handler class.

    publish: 'My publish message'

In this case "publish" is the action identifier (the function that handles the form).

Customising existing snapshot creators

All of the handlers are registered with injector, so the simplest way to customise them is to override their definitions in the configuration.

For instance, if you have something custom you with a snapshot when a page is saved:

use SilverStripe\Snapshots\Handler\Form\SaveHandler;
use SilverStripe\EventDispatcher\Event\EventContextInterface;
use SilverStripe\Snapshots\Snapshot;

class MySaveHandler extends SaveHandler
    protected function createSnapshot(EventContextInterface $context): ?Snapshot
    class: MyProject\MySaveHandler

Adding your own snapshot creator

If you have custom actions or form handlers you've added to the CMS, you might want to either ensure their tracked by the default snapshot creators, or maybe even build your own snapshot creator for them. In this case, you can use the declarative API on Dispatcher to subscribe to the events you need.

Let's say we have a form that submits to a function: public function myFormHandler($data, $form).

            - 'formSubmitted.myFormHandler'
          handler: %$MyProject\Handlers\MyHandler

Notice that the event name is in the key of the configuration. This makes it possible for another layer of configuration to disable it. See below.

Removing snapshot creators

To remove an event from a handler, simply add it to the off array.

            - 'formSubmitted.myFormHandler'

Procedurally adding event handlers

You can register a EventHandlerLoader implementation with Dispatcher to procedurally register and unregister events.

        myLoader: %$MyProject\MyEventLoader
use SilverStripe\Snapshots\Dispatch\DispatcherLoaderInterface;
use SilverStripe\Snapshots\Dispatch\Dispatcher;
use SilverStripe\Snapshots\Handler\Form\SaveHandler;

class MyEventLoader implements DispatcherLoaderInterface
    public function addToDispatcher(Dispatcher $dispatcher): void
        $dispatcher->removeListenerByClassName('', SaveHandler::class);

Snapshot creation API

To cover all cases, this module allows you to invoke snapshot creation in any part of your code outside of normal action flow.

When you want to create a snapshot just call createSnapshot function like this:

Snapshot::singleton()->createSnapshot(DataObject $origin, array $extraObjects = []);

$origin is the object which should be matching the action, i.e. the action is changing the origin object.

$extraObjects is an array of extra dataobjects you want to be in the snapshot. Every call to createSnapshot implicitly includes the following records in addition to the origin:

  • All of the records the origin is "owned" by, e.g. BlockImage > BaseElement > ElementalArea > Page
  • All of the records the origin has implicitly modified. (See Implicit modifications)

When there is no "origin"

Some modifications to your content aren't necessarily triggered by editing event to a specific entity. For these cases, you can use the createSnapshotFromEvent API.

Snapshot::singleton()->createSnapshotFromEvent('Description of event');

Examples of generic events include reordering the site tree, copying translations, importing content, and more. Think of it as a simple "git commit" message for your content. It creates a marker on your timeline that content editors can refer back to at some point in the future.

Implicit modifications

Sometimes edits to the record that appears to be the "origin" are implicitly edits to other records. The most common case of this is adding related records. If a user makes a change to a CheckboxSetField that manages a many_many relation, for instance, the record that displays those checkboxes remains unchanged and does not merit a new version. The addition or removal of new related records, however, does merit a new snapshot as the ownership chain has been updated.

The createSnapshot API is aware of these kinds of modifications, and attempts to detect them using the RelationDiffer service. When a modification includes changes to relationships, createSnapshot will fallback to create a generic event that describes what changes happened, for instance: 'Added two categories'.

This relation diffing is expensive to run on every save for every relationship, however, and therefore, you need to opt-in to it using the $snapshot_relation_tracking setting.

class Product extends DataObject
    private static $many_many = [
        'Categories' => Category::class,

    private static $snapshot_relation_tracking = ['Categories'];


Another common example of implicit modifications is the ElementalEditor field in silverstripe-elemental version 4.x. When the page is saved, it actually saves all the blocks in the editor, which are has_many relations. Because it is such a common use case, blocks are tracked in snapshot_relation_tracking by default, so that page saves will result in "Modified/added/deleted block" snapshots where appropriate.

Migrating from Versioned

To migrate all your _versions tables to snapshots, use the snapshot-migration task:

$ vendor/bin/sake dev/tasks/snapshot-migration

Alternatively, this task is available as a queued job.

The task should be fairly low-impact, as it only writes to the new (and presumably empty) snapshots tables. It should also perform at scale, since it doesn't do any processing of the records in PHP. The migration is pure SQL.

Thirdparty module support

Some common thirdparty modules are supported out of the box. The most notable is silverstripe-elemental, which has several specific snapshot creators installed by default, including:

  • Archive element
  • Save individual element
  • Create element (GraphQL query)
  • Edit individual element
  • Save all elements via page save
  • Sort elements
  • ModelAdmin and GridField CSV imports

As mentioned above, elements all receive snapshot_relation_tracking on their pages by default, as well.

Another module that is supported out of the box is GridFieldExtensions. A handler is provided for its GridFieldOrderableRows component.


This module can be configured to work with the Fluent module. Following the paradigm set by the Fluent version history, we do not allow any content inheritance when it comes to versioned history. Our Snapshot and SnpashotItem models represent a more detailed version history, so we need to apply the following configuration to comply with the Fluent paradigm:

    cms_localisation_required: 'exact'
    frontend_publish_required: 'exact'
        - TractorCow\Fluent\Extension\FluentExtension
        - OriginHash

    cms_localisation_required: 'exact'
    frontend_publish_required: 'exact'
        - TractorCow\Fluent\Extension\FluentExtension
        - ObjectHash

Upgrading to 1.x.x

1.x.x release contains a couple of breaking changes. We provide upgrade path for both.

Object version DB field rename

DB field Version on SnapshotItem was renamed to ObjectVersion to prevent naming conflicts. Please follow the steps below to upgrade.

  • run composer update to upgrade to the desired 1.x.x version of this module
  • run dev/build flush=all
  • run dev/tasks/migrate-object-version-task, run via CLI

Legacy Fluent setup

This is relevant only for project which use Fluent module and use localised snapshot models.

  • run composer update to upgrade to the desired 1.x.x version of this module
  • review and update your Fluent configuration as per Localisation section of this readme
  • run dev/build flush=all
  • run dev/tasks/migrate-fluent-object-hash-task, run via CLI

Recalculate hashes

Object hashes may be out of date. It's recommended to update them otherwise pre-update history items may not show in the history viewer. Run dev/tasks/recalculate-hashes-task, run via CLI

This dev task supports Fluent out of the box,

Semantic versioning

This library follows Semver. According to Semver, you will be able to upgrade to any minor or patch version of this library without any breaking changes to the public API. Semver also requires that we clearly define the public API for this library.

All methods, with public visibility, are part of the public API. All other methods are not part of the public API. Where possible, we'll try to keep protected methods backwards-compatible in minor/patch versions, but if you're overriding methods then please test your work before upgrading.

Reporting Issues

Please create an issue for any bugs you've found, or features you're missing.


This module is released under the BSD 3-Clause License