The best way to do batch processing with JPA and Hibernate

Introduction

Recently, on of my followers asked me to answer a question on Quora about batch processing, and, since the question was really interesting, I decided to turn it into a blog post.

In this article, you are going to find out what batch processing is, why do we use it, and how to use it properly with JPA and Hibernate.

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The best way to map a @OneToMany relationship with JPA and Hibernate

Introduction

In a relational database system, a one-to-many association between links two tables based on a Foreign Key column so that the child table record references the Primary Key of the parent table row.

As straightforward as it might be in a RDBMS, when it comes to JPA, the one-to-many database association can be represented either through a @ManyToOne or a @OneToMany association since the OOP association can be either unidirectional or bidirectional.

The @ManyToOne annotation allows you to map the Foreign Key column in the child entity mapping so that the child has an entity object reference to its parent entity. This is the most natural way of mapping a database one-to-many database association, and, usually, the most efficient alternative too.

For convenience, to take advantage of the entity state transitions and the dirty checking mechanism, many developers choose to map the child entities as a collection in the parent object, and, for this purpose, JPA offers the @OneToMany annotation.

As I explained in my book, many times, you are better off replacing collections with a query, which is much more flexible in terms of fetching performance. However, there are times when mapping a collection is the right thing to do, and then you have two choices:

  • a unidirectional @OneToMany association
  • a bidirectional @OneToMany association

The bidirectional association requires the child entity mapping to provide a @ManyToOne annotation, which is responsible for controlling the association.

One the other hand, the unidirectional @OneToMany association is simpler since it’s just the parent-side which defines the relationship. In this article, I’m going to explain the caveats of @OneToMany associations, and how you can overcome them.

There are many ways to map the @OneToMany association. We can use a List or a Set. We can also define the @JoinColumn annotation too. So, let’s see how all these work.

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Why you should never use the TABLE identifier generator with JPA and Hibernate

Introduction

From a data access perspective, JPA supports two major types of identifiers:

  • assigned
  • generated

The assigned identifiers must be manually set on every given entity prior to being persisted. For this reason, assigned identifiers are suitable for natural keys.

For synthetic Primary Keys, we need to use a generated entity identifier, which is supported by JPA through the use of the @GeneratedValue annotation.

There are four types of generated identifier strategies which are defined by the GenerationType enumeration:

  • AUTO
  • IDENTITY
  • SEQUENCE
  • TABLE

The AUTO identifier generator strategy chooses one of the other three strategies (IDENTITY, SEQUENCE or TABLE) based on the underlying relational database capabilities.

While IDENTITY maps to an auto incremented column (e.g. IDENTITY in SQL Server or AUTO_INCREMENT in MySQL) and SEQUENCE is used for delegating the identifier generation to a database sequence, the TABLE generator has no direct implementation in relational databases.

This post is going to analyze why the TABLE generator is a poor choice for every enterprise application that cares for performance and scalability.

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How to map calculated properties with JPA and Hibernate @Formula annotation

Introduction

As I explained in this StackOverflow question, mapping calculated properties is very easy with JPA and Hibernate.

In this post, I’m going to demonstrate how you can derive some entity property based on one or multiple persistent entity attributes.

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