A direct replacement for acts_as_archive for Rails 3... hopefully
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This gem is no longer maintained.


This gem is intended as a direct replacement for acts_as_archive (AAA) in Rails 3 apps with most of the same functionality and wrapping AAA's methods in aliases to maintain compatibility for some time. Thanks to Winton Welsh for his original work on AAA, it is good solution to a problem that makes maintaining audit records a breeze.


  1. Requirements
  2. Install
  3. Update models
  4. Add Archive tables
  5. Basic Usage
  6. Additional Options
    1. Allowing multiple archived copies
    2. Associating archive to original
    3. Including External modules
    4. Customizing copy_self_to_archive
  7. Contributing
  8. TODO


This gem is intended to be used with ActiveRecord/ActiveSupport 3.0.1 and later.


Gemfile: gem 'archivist'

Update models

add has_archive to your models: class SomeModel < ActiveRecord::Base has_archive end

N.B. if you have any serialized attributes the has_archive declaration MUST be after the serialization declarations or they will not be preserved and things will break when you try to deserialize the attributes. This is an unfortunate side effect of the declarative nature of both serialize and has_archive and I couldn't think of any way of getting around it that wouldn't make the entire gem really slow, any suggestions on this are welcome.

i.e. class AnotherModel < ActiveRecord::Base serialize(:some_array,Array) has_archive end

NOT class ThisModel < ActiveRecord::Base has_archive serialize(:a_hash,Hash) end

Add Archive tables

There are two ways to do this, the first is to use the built in updater like acts as archive. Archivist.update SomeModel Currently this doesn't support adding indexes automatically (AAA does) but I'm working on doing multi column indexes (any help is greatly appreciated)

The second way of adding archive tables is to build a migration yourself, if you're wanting to keep track of who triggered the archive or inject some other information you'll have to add those columns manually and pass a block into copy_self_to_archive before calling delete! or destroy!.

Basic Usage

Use destroy, delete, destroy_all as usual and the data will get moved to the archive table. If you really want the data to go away you can still do so by simply calling destroy! etc. This bypasses the archiving step but leaves your callback chain intact where appropriate.

Migrations affecting the columns on the original model's table will be applied to the archive table as well.

Additional Options

###Allowing multiple archived copies By default copy_self_to_archive just keeps updating a single instance of the archived record, this behavior is find if you're just trying to keep your main working table clean but can be problematic if you need a history of changes to a record. This behavior can be changed to allow multiple copies of a archived record to be created by setting the :allow_multiple_archives to true in the options hash when calling has_archive.


  class SpecialModel < AR::Base
    has_archive :allow_multiple_archives=> true

Associating archive to original

The default here is to not associate the archived records in any way to the originals. But, if you're keeping a history of changes to a record the archived copies can be associated automatically with the 'original' by setting the associate_with_original option to true.

N.B. Using this option automatically sets allow_multiple_archives to true


  class SpecialModel < AR::Base
    has_archive :associate_with_original=>true

allows for calls like:




###Including External modules If you want to include additional functionality in the Archive class you can pass in an array of module constants, this will allow adding scopes and methods to this class without any monkey patching.


  class MyModel < AR:Base
    has\_archive :included\_modules=>BigBadModule

or if multiple modules are needed

  class MyModel < AR:Base
    has\_archive :included\_modules=>[BigBadModule,MyScopes,MyArchiveMethods]

###Customizing copy_self_to_archive A block can be passed into copy_self_to_archive which takes a single argument (the new archived record)

####Example: Supposing we have added an archiver_id column to our archive table we can pass a block into the copy_self_to_archive method setting this value. The block gets called immediately before saving the archived record so all of the attributes have been copied over from the original and are available for use in the block.

  class SpecialModel < AR:Base
    def archive!(user)
      self.copy_self_to_archive do |archive|
        archive.archiver_id = user.id


If you'd like to help out please feel free to fork and browse the TODO list below or add a feature that you're in need of. Then send a pull request my way and I'll happily merge in well tested changes.

Also, I use autotest and MySQL but nertzy (Grant Hutchins) was kind enough to add support for testing against Postgres using the pg gem.


  • Maintain seralized attributes from original model
  • allow passing of a block into copy_to_archive
  • give Archive scopes from parent (may only work w/ 1.9 since scopes are Procs)
  • give subclass Archive its parent's methods (method_missing?)
  • associate SomeModel::Archive with SomeModel (if archiving more than one copy)
  • associate Archive with other models (SomeModel.reflect_on_all_associations?)
  • make archive_all method chain-able with scopes and other finder type items