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Hibernate is an Object Relation Mapping tool that maps:
  1. Java classes to database tables
  2. Java objects to rows

Due to this mapping, the user does not have to deal directly with SQL data types.
Such a mapping allows the programmer to interact with objects which are more natural to work with.

Hibernate example:

import org.hibernate.Session; 
import org.hibernate.Transaction;
import org.hibernate.SessionFactory;
import org.hibernate.cfg.Configuration;


Person p = new Person ();
person.setAge (25);
person.setName ("John");

// Obtain hibernate session from factory
SessionFactory factory = new Configuration().configure().buildSessionFactory();
Session session = factory.openSession();

// Write using hibernate

// Read using hibernate
Query q = session.createQuery ("from Person p where p.age = 25"); // note HQL's use of object notation.
itr = q.iterate();

while (itr.hasNext())

Hibernate Mapping File

Hibernate needs a mapping file which maps each table to a class.


The following is a description of the commonly used tags and their attributes:
  • <id> - Primary key specification.
    • name - Specifies the name of the id in class.
    • column - The name of the database column for the id.
    • <generator> - It is used to generate a unique id every time an object is persisted to the database. It also specifies how the id element will be created by using the following built in generators:
      • increment - Used most often, each time the generator needs a new id it performs a select on the database to determine the current largest id and increments it to the next value.
      • native - Picks the best strategy depending on the configured database.
      • assigned - Used if you need to assign the id yourself in your application. Set the id by using the set<identifier> method of the Java class. The application assumes responsibility on keeping the id unique.
  • <property> - This field is defined for each field in the Java class that needs to be persisted.
    • name - Specifies class field’s name. The first character must be lowercase.
    • column - Specifies the name of the column in the database.
  • <set> - The most common collection mapping used in Hibernate.
    • <key column> - Specifies the foreign key column.
    • <many-to-many> - Sub-element of set.

Note: The above method of specifying mapping files is slightly cumbersome.
Now-a-days, annotation based mechanism of specifying mappings is rapidly gathering popularity.
A working example with annotations will be covered in the later chapters.

Hibernate Configuration File

Hibernate also needs a configuration file in xml whose format is as follows:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE hibernate-configuration PUBLIC
"-//Hibernate/Hibernate Configuration DTD 3.0//EN"

    <property name="hibernate.connection.driver_class">com.mysql.jdbc.Driver</property>
    <property name="hibernate.connection.url">jdbc:mysql://localhost:4000/yourdb-SID</property>
    <property name="hibernate.connection.username">admin</property>
    <property name="hibernate.connection.password">admin</property>
    <property name="hibernate.dialect">org.hibernate.dialect.Oracle9Dialect</property>
    <property name="show_sql">true</property>
    <property name="format_sql">true</property>
    <mapping resource="Person.hbm.xml" />
    <mapping resource="Student.hbm.xml" />

show_sql and format_sql are debug options.
They can be used to see formatted SQL generated by hibernate.

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