Click here to Skip to main content
12,999,845 members (50,460 online)
Click here to Skip to main content
Add your own
alternative version


8 bookmarked
Posted 10 Dec 2009

"Soft Delete" or "Logical Delete" in ORM

, 10 Dec 2009
Rate this:
Please Sign up or sign in to vote.
People often ask which ORM supports "Soft Delete" or "Logical Delete". Let's try to figure out what it is and whether ORM should internally support it.

People often ask which ORM supports "Soft Delete" or "Logical Delete". Let's try to figure out what it is and whether ORM should internally support it.

"Soft Delete" is a way of removing business entities, which implies that we mark an entity as deleted instead of physically removing it from the database. This approach is often used in Line of Business applications because of its several advantages:

  • It allows us to keep history for different  auditing sceneries. For example, somebody removed one document in the past from our workflow system, we surely want to be able to audit removing log and data removed document contained.
  • It allows to implement Recycle Bin approach in an easy way. We'd like to be able to recycle any document removed in the past.

To implement "Soft Delete" feature in a simple case, we should:

  • Create IsDeleted persistent property of bool type in all softly removable types.
  • Automatically filter all queries, i.e. automatically add Where(entity => !entity.IsDeleted) to each LINQ query.

In my example on DataObjects.Net, I use single base class for all business objects, so I can add IsDeleted field to this class:

public class BusinessObject : Entity
  public bool IsDeleted { get; set;}

  public new void Remove()
    IsDeleted = true;

Then let's create DataContext class responsible for data access:

public static class DataContext
  public static IQueryable<T> GetAll<T>() where T : BusinessObject
    return Query<T>.All
      .Where(entity => !entity.IsDeleted);

Now we can softly remove our entities and query not removed ones. I've created small sample illustrating model of blog-publishing service, consisting of three classes: Blog, BlogPost and Comment. So I can query recent posts from my blog using such LINQ-query:

from post in DataContext.GetAll<BlogPost>()
  post.PublishDate > DateTime.Now-TimeSpan.FromDays(7) && 
  post.Blog == myBlog
select post;

This query will return all posts except softly deleted and I don't have to add appropriate check to every query in my application.

That is the simplest example of Soft (or Logical) delete implementation, we can surely take into account different aspects specific for particular application. Generally, I am sure that "Soft Delete" shouldn't be internally implemented within an ORM framework, it's more flexible to implement it yourself.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Alex Kofman
Software Developer X-tensive
Russian Federation Russian Federation
See my blog on software development at

You may also be interested in...

Comments and Discussions

GeneralInteresting idea Pin
rijibarter20-Dec-09 7:14
memberrijibarter20-Dec-09 7:14 
General"Soft Delete" disadvantages Pin
Alex Kofman20-Dec-09 20:30
memberAlex Kofman20-Dec-09 20:30 
GeneralUnique keys Pin
supercat910-Dec-09 7:51
membersupercat910-Dec-09 7:51 
GeneralRe: Unique keys [modified] Pin
Alex Kofman10-Dec-09 22:30
memberAlex Kofman10-Dec-09 22:30 

General General    News News    Suggestion Suggestion    Question Question    Bug Bug    Answer Answer    Joke Joke    Praise Praise    Rant Rant    Admin Admin   

Use Ctrl+Left/Right to switch messages, Ctrl+Up/Down to switch threads, Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right to switch pages.

Permalink | Advertise | Privacy | Terms of Use | Mobile
Web02 | 2.8.170624.1 | Last Updated 10 Dec 2009
Article Copyright 2009 by Alex Kofman
Everything else Copyright © CodeProject, 1999-2017
Layout: fixed | fluid