Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Java Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Esmeralda Swartz, Mike Kavis, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Java

Java: Article

Spring + Hibernate EJB3, POJO + JDBC?

All Hail, The Return To Java EE Standards!

In the beginning there was nothing: no Java and no data.

Then someone said, let there be data and relational databases with SQL were born.

And someone said, let Java talk to databases, and JDBC was born.

And someone saw that JDBC was good, but someone else saw that JDBC was bad, and EJB with CMP were created.

And someone said, J2EE containers are bad and POJO has resurrected.

And entity beans were slow and heavy; Hibernate was born and people forgot SQL, which was a sin.

And someone said, J2EE is no good, and he divided Spring framework from J2EE.

And fifty more people said nothing is good, and they created fifty more Java frameworks. And poor Java Joe said, "I'm sick and tired of this variety. I'm going back to Java EE."

Some enterprise Java shops that were using J2EE application servers and EJB 2.x found that the combination was overkill for most of their applications, and decided to look for an alternative. Spring framework combined with Hibernate seems to be a logical alternative to J2EE, but will this combo deliver a light weight replacement for Java EE, especially when greatly simplified EJB 3.0 is available?

In my opinion, not only the Spring/Hibernate combo, but even each one separately, is pretty heavy as any framework. Only reusable loosely coupled components are lightweights.

Spring framework is presented as a set of components that can be used separately, but you can also wire them together by adding two pounds of XML. But the minute you do this, you fall into an XML trap. If you use any single component of the Spring framework, it's lightweight. But since it takes two to tango, it's as if you're pulling a tiny roll of thin wire out of your pocket (a.k.a. XML), which becomes heavyweight because wires tend to twist and create a mess.

Concerning Hibernate, I'm not even sure why so many people are using it in the first place. I could see an enterprise architect wanting to use it to lay out a brand new design of a stack of business applications, and to enforce it to a firm-wide standard for data persistence. But if you're developing a typical CRUD application, especially when it comes to using already existing and not perfectly designed databases, why even bother with Hibernate? Does SQL scare you that much?

Take an application built on Spring components interconnected with thin wires, put Hibernate on top of it with wires of a different diameter, and the maintainability of your application will decrease while hard- to-find bugs make themselves at home in your application.

Over the last three to four years, many people have been bashing EJBs as an unnecessary complicated framework with lots of convoluted XML descriptors. Now EJB 3.0, with its annotations, is trying to appeal to enterprise developers again. This won't be easy, because bad memories last for years. But don't kid yourself when you substitute EJB for the Spring/Hibernate combo: it won't make your life much easier.

I do believe in standalone POJOs that know nothing about the environment they're in, but do know how to perform a specific function (i.e., send a message, manage transactions, create a pretty report based on provided SQL, model some financial process, find an optimal route, and the like). Just pass the required parameters to this black box, get the result back, and do whatever you want with it. Inversion of Control or the Dependency Injection paradigm is nothing new, and it works fine. For ten years, I've been routinely using it (without knowing its future name) in my PowerBuilder applications. It was a period of event-driven programming. We were creating user objects with custom events. Whoever wanted to pass some information to this object would fire a custom event that would carry required data and inject them right into the object. Look, ma! No wires! Today, I do the same thing in ActionScript 3. Stop wiring, just write the code required by your business application and forget about it when the new project starts. But don't forget about independent reusable components.

Spring is probably one of the best Java frameworks available today. It has only one drawback: it's a framework.

Hibernate offers you a caching object? Great! Let's use it, without the need to install the whole shebang. Get the caching component somewhere, roll up your sleeves, and create an instance of this object passing all required parameters to its constructor. Stop wiring; get back to programming. The combination of good knowledge of SQL, JDBC, caching (only if needed), and a pagination component (only if needed) can get you pretty far.

At one of my recent presentations to Java developers, I asked the question, "Who knows how to delete duplicates from a database table?" No one knew. When I asked the same question on one of the online forums, some Java developer proudly announced that with Hibernate, you don't create duplicates in the first place. Thank you very much! How about some real world experience? What if the database table with dirty data already exists and dirty feeds keep coming in nightly? Do not kid yourself. Learn SQL.

If you want to write a simple application, don't start by looking for a "light-weight" third or fourth party framework. Program your business logic in POJOs, and your database access in DAOs. Keep it simple. Need transactions? Find a transaction manager. Need scalability? Consider using asynchronous messaging between components.

Floyd Marinescu starts his foreword to the book "Beginning EJB 3" (aPress) as follows:

EJB 3 is a very important milestone for the specification. Not only is it significantly easier to use, but also for the first time (in my opinion), the specification is now built around the proven needs of the development community, standardizing existing best practices instead of being the result of design by committee.

It's great that the bad guys from some evil committee were finally overthrown by the good guys, who are actually paying attention and incorporating best practices and ideas of the multitude of open source frameworks.

And someone said, go back to Java EE standards. And he created Java EE 1.5 and it was good. It was not the best, but it gave people a common ground and fertile soil for seeds of a new generation of enterprise Java applications.
Amen.

More Stories By Yakov Fain

Yakov Fain is a co-founder of two software companies: Farata Systems and SuranceBay. He authored several technical books and lots of articles on software development. Yakov is Java Champion (https://java-champions.java.net). He leads leads Princeton Java Users Group. Two of Yakov's books will go in print this year: "Enterprise Web Development" (O'Reilly) and "Java For Kids" (No Starch Press).

Comments (14) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Jurgen Van Oosterwijck Blogs 11/29/06 08:42:51 PM EST

Trackback Added: Frameworks vs JEE standards; Yakov Fain writes about the clash between POJO frameworks and standardized JEE.
As far as I see it, the new JEE5 standards are a way of getting back some of the marketshare.
Marketshare that was taken by Spring on one hand as the EJB alternative

Yakov 11/23/06 07:18:39 PM EST

I do not have negative attitude toward Spring - it's one of the best Java frameworks available today. But I do not see it as a revolutionary framework, just different. I do not think that it's a lot easier than J2EE when it comes to real world projects.
Today's enterprise Java programming is overly complicated, which make projects more expensive to develop than they need to be.

Justin 11/22/06 10:39:30 PM EST

I don't like the negative attitude you seem to hold about Spring. Spring came along at a time when EJB was a complete and utter mess. Some really bright people realized that and created something lightweight and extensible. Spring XML and wiring beans is a joy in comparison, and really is a no brainer. In my book, Spring + Hibernate have already proven themselves. EJB3 better be pretty damn good to remove that oh so bitter taste that 1 and 2 left behind...

Yi 11/21/06 05:56:37 PM EST

I use hibernate and I'm not scared of sql. For CRUD apps, it can be tedious to use jdbc because you end up binding your java variables to the db fields 3 times (for insert, update and select) in the jdbc code, while with hibernate you just do it once. The difference can be quite significant if you have a lot of db columns.

jeff davidson 11/19/06 01:37:43 PM EST

delete
from
emp e
where
rowid > (select min(rowid) from emp e2
where e.id = e2.id);

Agusti Pons 11/17/06 11:18:55 AM EST

Very goog article.

For years I've been developing my own framework to interact with backend systems (say databases).

The work is public in http://www.microcalls.org

It may be interesting to you.

Thank you

{Complexity} 11/16/06 07:43:17 PM EST

Trackback Added: he Return To Java EE Standards!; He didn’t mention why EJB3.0 is better than other framework though, it’s quite meaningful in terms of unification. That’s true there are too many frameworks out there!!
Spring + Hibernate EJB3, POJO + JDBC?
— In the beginning there was ...

Rob Bygrave 11/16/06 06:47:25 PM EST

Great article but perhaps I don't 100% agree.

- SQL Knowledge is important - Totally
- JDBC Knowledge is important - Totally
- Simplicity is important - Totally
- Spring/Hibernate approximates EJB3 in complexity - Totally
- We should just write JDBC - not so sure...

For me I'd look to EJB3, JDBC and what is in the middle ground.

1. Is EJB3 more complex than it needs to be?
2. Is writing raw JDBC really a good option?
3. Is there middle ground?

Is EJB3 more complex than it needs to be?
-----------------------------------------
From my perspective EJB3 has inherited unnecessary complexity from Hibernate and Toplink.

The EntityManager, attached/detached beans, merge, flush are all inherited concepts that are not actually necessary for ORM.

Ebean offers EJB3 ORM features for about 800k and I think other frameworks will come that provide EJB3 features with a much simpler API.

Refer: http://www.avaje.org/ejb3.html

Is writing raw JDBC really a better option?
-------------------------------------------
Don't get me wrong - in pretty much any real world app there may be a need for raw JDBC.

With a different slant I would say that ORM is good, but that relational approaches are sometimes simpler and easier. For me this is the case for updates/deletes in a stateless environment
and for Ad Hoc queries (I don't think ORM is well suited to these cases).

However,once you start caching something you also need to understand how to invalidate the cache and how this works in a clustered environment.

- Then you decide you want Statement Batching...
- Then you decide to support Oracle, MySql and SQL Server and find the inserts work a little differently
- Then you want to use LIMIT, or ROW_NUMBER to perform pagination on the database side
- Then you decide you want event listening
- Then you decide to integrate Lucene Text Searching...

Now perhaps this doesn't happen but I would suggest that once you start down the road of writing JDBC for everything then maybe you end up with something that starts looking like a lightweight persistence framework?

Is there middle ground?
-----------------------
Obviously I am biased as I wrote Ebean exactly to fit into this middle ground for people who want EJB3 (or Spring/Hibernate) features but are put off by the complexity.

More than that, there are some interesting omissions from the EJB3 API. http://www.avaje.org/ejb3api.html

However I would expect other projects to be out there to do exactly the same thing. These simpler ORM products may be a better option for some.

scott m gardner 11/16/06 05:27:15 PM EST

Why use Spring, you ask? I use it so that I can develop and test my code independently, so that beans do not need to know the other beans and to reduce fragility. The minimal amount of XML required to wire beans together is a vast improvement and simplification of the reams interdependent code and factories required with out. The only part of Spring that could possibly be considered heavy weight is the database templating, and I don't use that. To consider the Spring core heavy weight might suggest that the lifter is a light-weight ;)

The only reason not to use Hibernate when doing OO programing is that you are stuck using DB2400 and its broken JDBC implementation. Although Hibernate has a defininte learning curve and requires a skilled domain modeller to take full advantage of it, it is still one of the best ways to keep the business logic in the object model and insulate your project from the relation model.

Alain Bergeron 11/16/06 01:26:55 PM EST

If I may, hibernate and any pojo like ORM tools are great when you have a skilled OO team. Otherwise, you still end up mapping your jdbc result set to java object and by mean of reuse, you will end up creating your own little home made framework which the support team or other developers will have to learn instead of a well known frmework like hibernate. That said, I am currenly using ejb3 and so far looks very good either for a small team or a bigger team.

BigBadJim 11/16/06 10:00:44 AM EST

You nailed it! I'm forwarding this to all my fawning acolytes at work!

Shamsher Dhaka 11/16/06 06:54:13 AM EST

Hi,
I truly ackn of what you said in this article. Keep the base and concept strong over which the frameworks are layed.

regards,
Shamsher

Paul Sager 11/16/06 12:16:40 AM EST

Many stars **** for you thoughts, confirming my deeper feelings about heavy weight frameworks. I am stuck in a medium-sized application, consisting simply of many small processes, which is permanently ensnared in an obsolete version of a major AppServer.
Besides being a Java developer, as a Christian pastor, I take the Biblical allusion as a non-offensive creative rhetorical style, handled artistically; as I hope you intended it.

Antonio W. Lagnda 11/15/06 07:24:36 PM EST

Entertaining article.

Spring + iBatis or Spring + Spring JdbcTemplate will give you SQL experience as well.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Wearable technology was dominant at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) , and MWC was no exception to this trend. New versions of favorites, such as the Samsung Gear (three new products were released: the Gear 2, the Gear 2 Neo and the Gear Fit), shared the limelight with new wearables like Pebble Time Steel (the new premium version of the company’s previously released smartwatch) and the LG Watch Urbane. The most dramatic difference at MWC was an emphasis on presenting wearables as fashion accessories and moving away from the original clunky technology associated with t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that robomq.io will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. robomq.io is an interoperable and composable platform that connects any device to any application. It helps systems integrators and the solution providers build new and innovative products and service for industries requiring monitoring or intelligence from devices and sensors.
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, will discuss how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust I...
After making a doctor’s appointment via your mobile device, you receive a calendar invite. The day of your appointment, you get a reminder with the doctor’s location and contact information. As you enter the doctor’s exam room, the medical team is equipped with the latest tablet containing your medical history – he or she makes real time updates to your medical file. At the end of your visit, you receive an electronic prescription to your preferred pharmacy and can schedule your next appointment.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between Personal and Professional Social, Mobile and Cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dr...
While not quite mainstream yet, WebRTC is starting to gain ground with Carriers, Enterprises and Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) alike. WebRTC makes it easy for developers to add audio and video communications into their applications by using Web browsers as their platform. But like any market, every customer engagement has unique requirements, as well as constraints. And of course, one size does not fit all. In her session at WebRTC Summit, Dr. Natasha Tamaskar, Vice President, Head of Cloud and Mobile Strategy at GENBAND, will explore what is needed to take a real time communications ...
The world's leading Cloud event, Cloud Expo has launched Microservices Journal on the SYS-CON.com portal, featuring over 19,000 original articles, news stories, features, and blog entries. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. Microservices Journal offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. Follow new article posts on Twitter at @MicroservicesE
SYS-CON Events announced today that Litmus Automation will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Litmus Automation’s vision is to provide a solution for companies that are in a rush to embrace the disruptive Internet of Things technology and leverage it for real business challenges. Litmus Automation simplifies the complexity of connected devices applications with Loop, a secure and scalable cloud platform.
SYS-CON Events announced today the IoT Bootcamp – Jumpstart Your IoT Strategy, being held June 9–10, 2015, in conjunction with 16th Cloud Expo and Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Javits Center in New York City. This is your chance to jumpstart your IoT strategy. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but includes hands-on demos and walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of Do-It-Yourself IoT platforms including Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark and Intel Edison. You will also get an overview of cloud technologies s...
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch of Docker's initial release in March of 2013, interest was revved up several notches. Then late last...
The WebRTC Summit 2015 New York, to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 16th International Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit.
SOA Software has changed its name to Akana. With roots in Web Services and SOA Governance, Akana has established itself as a leader in API Management and is expanding into cloud integration as an alternative to the traditional heavyweight enterprise service bus (ESB). The company recently announced that it achieved more than 90% year-over-year growth. As Akana, the company now addresses the evolution and diversification of SOA, unifying security, management, and DevOps across SOA, APIs, microservices, and more.
The list of ‘new paradigm’ technologies that now surrounds us appears to be at an all time high. From cloud computing and Big Data analytics to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT), today we have to deal with what the industry likes to call ‘paradigm shifts’ at every level of IT. This is disruption; of course, we understand that – change is almost always disruptive.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SafeLogic has been named “Bag Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. SafeLogic provides security products for applications in mobile and server/appliance environments. SafeLogic’s flagship product CryptoComply is a FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic engine designed to secure data on servers, workstations, appliances, mobile devices, and in the Cloud.
GENBAND has announced that SageNet is leveraging the Nuvia platform to deliver Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) to its large base of retail and enterprise customers. Nuvia’s cloud-based solution provides SageNet’s customers with a full suite of business communications and collaboration tools. Two large national SageNet retail customers have recently signed up to deploy the Nuvia platform and the company will continue to sell the service to new and existing customers. Nuvia’s capabilities include HD voice, video, multimedia messaging, mobility, conferencing, Web collaboration, deskt...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cisco, the worldwide leader in IT that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cisco makes amazing things happen by connecting the unconnected. Cisco has shaped the future of the Internet by becoming the worldwide leader in transforming how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Cisco and our partners are building the platform for the Internet of Everything by connecting the...
Temasys has announced senior management additions to its team. Joining are David Holloway as Vice President of Commercial and Nadine Yap as Vice President of Product. Over the past 12 months Temasys has doubled in size as it adds new customers and expands the development of its Skylink platform. Skylink leads the charge to move WebRTC, traditionally seen as a desktop, browser based technology, to become a ubiquitous web communications technology on web and mobile, as well as Internet of Things compatible devices.
Docker is an excellent platform for organizations interested in running microservices. It offers portability and consistency between development and production environments, quick provisioning times, and a simple way to isolate services. In his session at DevOps Summit at 16th Cloud Expo, Shannon Williams, co-founder of Rancher Labs, will walk through these and other benefits of using Docker to run microservices, and provide an overview of RancherOS, a minimalist distribution of Linux designed expressly to run Docker. He will also discuss Rancher, an orchestration and service discovery platf...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes for use cases across the industrial, enterprise, and consumer segments.