Sunday, 12 August 2012

JPA Entity, Embeddable and Authorized Types


JPA stands for Java Persistence API.  It is a mean by which developers can easily describe how to persist the data contained in Java objects using some annotations and a configuration file called persistence unit. This API is made available in the javax.persistence package. Typically, JPA is used in combination with an implementing framework (such as Hibernate for example).

This post is the first of a series introducing JPA with practical examples. It can be read like a reminder too. The code examples are are available from Github in the JPA directory. We will start with some basic annotations first.


An entity creates a relationship between a Java class and (typically) a database table.
  • An entity class must have at least a public or protected constructor with no argument.
  • An entity class must have an @Id.
  • An entity class must not be final or have final variables.
  • The variables (or attributes) of an entity class to be persisted must be private, protected or package-private, and must be accessed via setter and getters from outside the class.
  • An entity class must implement Serializable in order to be transmittable in a detached status.


An embeddable class is nearly an entity class, except that it cannot be persisted by itself alone. It can be used as a 'component' containing data to be persisted, in another entity.
Embeddable example:
public class SomeEmbeddable implements Serializable {

    private String s;

    public SomeEmbeddable() { }

    public String getS() { return s; }
    public void setS(String s) { this.s = s; }


Authorized Types

The following entity example regroups the authorized types for persistence:
public class AuthorizedTypes implements Serializable {

    private long id;

    // Primitives

    private boolean bool;
    private Boolean bool2;
    private byte byt;
    private Byte byt2;
    private char c;
    private Character c2;
    private double dou;
    private Double dou2;
    private float floa;
    private Float floa2;
    private int i;
    private Integer i2;
    private long l;
    private Long l2;
    private short s;
    private Short s2;

    // Serializable types

    private String str;
    private BigInteger bi;
    private BigDecimal bd;
    private Serializable userDefined;
    private byte[] ba;
    private Byte[] ba2;
    private char[] ca;
    private Character[] ca2;

    public enum Color { WHITE, BLACK, RED; }
    private Color col;

    // Other entities and embeddables

    private OtherEntity otherEntity;

    private SomeEmbeddable someEmbeddable;

    private Collection<SomeEmbeddable> coll;

    private Set<SomeEmbeddable> st;

    private List<SomeEmbeddable> list;

    private Map<String, Serializable> mpp;

    // Time-related

    // Keeps date only
    private java.util.Date MyDate;

    // Keeps time only
    private java.util.Date MyTime;

    // Keeps date and time
    private java.util.Date MyTimestamp;

    private java.util.Calendar cal;

    // Keeps date only
    private java.sql.Date sqlDate;

    // Keeps time only
    private java.sql.Time sqlTime;

    // Keeps date and time
    private java.sql.Timestamp sqlTimeStamp;

    // Setters & Getters....

These are the basic persistence elements one can use and combine in entities. The above needs more configuration to be fully operational. It is only an illustration of concepts.