Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hibernate Interview Questions

1. Does Hibernate implement its functionality using a minimal number of database queries to ensure optimal output?

Hibernate can make certain optimizations all the time:
Caching objects - The session is a transaction-level cache of persistent objects. You may also enable a JVM-level/cluster cache to memory and/or local disk.
Executing SQL statements later, when needed - The session never issues an INSERT or UPDATE until it is actually needed. So if an exception occurs and you need to abort the transaction, some statements will never actually be issued. Furthermore, this keeps lock times in the database as short as possible (from the late UPDATE to the transaction end).
Never updating unmodified objects - It is very common in hand-coded JDBC to see the persistent state of an object updated, just in case it changed.....for example, the user pressed the save button but may not have edited any fields. Hibernate always knows if an object's state actually changed, as long as you are inside the same (possibly very long) unit of work.
Efficient Collection Handling - Likewise, Hibernate only ever inserts/updates/deletes collection rows that actually changed.
Rolling two updates into one - As a corollary to (1) and (3), Hibernate can roll two seemingly unrelated updates of the same object into one UPDATE statement.
Updating only the modified columns - Hibernate knows exactly which columns need updating and, if you choose, will update only those columns.
Outer join fetching - Hibernate implements a very efficient outer-join fetching algorithm! In addition, you can use subselect and batch pre-fetch optimizations.
Lazy collection initialization
Lazy object initialization - Hibernate can use runtime-generated proxies (CGLIB) or interception injected through byte code instrumentation at build-time.

2. Why not implement instance-pooling in Hibernate?

Firstly, it would be pointless. There is a lower bound to the amount of garbage Hibernate creates every time it loads or updates and object - the garbage created by getting or setting the object's properties using reflection.
More importantly, the disadvantage of instance-pooling is developers who forget to reinitialize fields each time an instance is reused. We have seen very subtle bugs in EJBs that don't reinitialize all fields in ejbCreate.
On the other hand, if there is a particular application object that is extremely expensive to create, you can easily implement your own instance pool for that class and use the version of Session.load() that takes a class instance. Just remember to return the objects to the pool every time you close the session.

3. Does Hibernate use runtime reflection?

Many former C or C++ programmers prefer generated-code solutions to runtime reflection. This is usually justified by reference to the performance red-herring. However, modern JVMs implement reflection extremely efficiently and the overhead is minimal compared to the cost of disk access or IPC. Developers from other traditions (e.g. Smalltalk) have always relied upon reflection to do things that C/C++ needs code-generation for.
In the very latest versions of Hibernate, "reflection" is optimised via the CGLIB runtime byte code generation library. This means that "reflected" property get / set calls no longer carry the overhead of the Java reflection API and are actually just normal method calls. This results in a (very) small performance gain.

4. How do I use Hibernate in an EJB 2.1 session bean?

1. Look up the SessionFactory in JNDI.
2. Call getCurrentSession() to get a Session for the current transaction.
3. Do your work.
4. Don't commit or close anything, let the container manage the transaction.

5. What’s the easiest way to configure Hibernate in a plain Java application (without using JNDI)?

Build a SessionFactory from a Configuration object.

6. What is Middlegen?

Middlegen is an open source code generation framework that provides a general-purpose database-driven engine using various tools such as JDBC, Velocity, Ant and XDoclet.

7. How can I count the number of query results without actually returning them?

Integer count = (Integer) session.createQuery("select count(*) from ....").uniqueResult();
8. How can I find the size of a collection without initializing it?

Integer size = (Integer) s.createFilter( collection, "select count(*)" ).uniqueResult();

9. How can I order by the size of a collection?

Use a left join, together with group by
select user
from User user
left join user.messages msg
group by user
order by count(msg)

10. How can I place a condition upon a collection size?

If your database supports subselects:
from User user where size(user.messages) >= 1
from User user where exists elements(user.messages)
If not, and in the case of a one-to-many or many-to-many association:
select user
from User user
join user.messages msg
group by user
having count(msg) >= 1
Because of the inner join, this form can't be used to return a User with zero messages, so the following form is also useful
select user
from User as user
left join user.messages as msg
group by user
having count(msg) = 0

11. How can I query for entities with empty collections?

from Box box
where box.balls is empty
Or, try this:
select box
from Box box
left join box.balls ball
where ball is null

12. How can I sort / order collection elements?

There are three different approaches:
1. Use a SortedSet or SortedMap, specifying a comparator class in the sort attribute or < set > or < map >. This solution does a sort in memory.
2. Specify an order-by attribute of < set >, < map > or < bag >, naming a list of table columns to sort by. This solution works only in JDK 1.4+.
3. Use a filter session.createFilter( collection, "order by ...." ).list()

13. Are collections pageable?

Query q = s.createFilter( collection, "" );
q.setFirstResult(PAGE_SIZE * pageNumber);
List page = q.list();
I have a one-to-one association between two classes. Ensuring that associated objects have matching identifiers is bug-prone. Is there a better way?
< generator class="foreign" >
< param name="property" > parent < / param >
< / generator >
I have a many-to-many association between two tables, but the association table has some extra columns (apart from the foreign keys). What kind of mapping should I use?
Use a composite-element to model the association table. For example, given the following association table:
create table relationship (
fk_of_foo bigint not null,
fk_of_bar bigint not null,
multiplicity smallint,
created date )
you could use this collection mapping (inside the mapping for class Foo):
< set name="relationship" >
< key column="fk_of_foo" / >
< composite-element class="Relationship" >
< property name="multiplicity" type="short" not-null="true" / >
< property name="created" type="date" not-null="true" / >
< many-to-one name="bar" class="Bar" not-null="true" / >
< / composite-element >
< / set >
You may also use an with a surrogate key column for the collection table. This would allow you to have nullable columns.
An alternative approach is to simply map the association table as a normal entity class with two bidirectional one-to-many associations.
In an MVC application, how can we ensure that all proxies and lazy collections will be initialized when the view tries to access them?
One possible approach is to leave the session open (and transaction uncommitted) when forwarding to the view. The session/transaction would be closed/committed after the view is rendered in, for example, a Servlet filter (another example would by to use the ModelLifetime.discard() callback in Maverick). One difficulty with this approach is making sure the session/transaction is closed/rolled back if an exception occurs rendering the view.
Another approach is to simply force initialization of all needed objects using Hibernate.initialize(). This is often more straightforward than it sounds.

14. How can I bind a dynamic list of values into an in query expression?

Query q = s.createQuery("from foo in class Foo where foo.id in (:id_list)");
q.setParameterList("id_list", fooIdList);
List foos = q.list();

15. How can I bind properties of a JavaBean to named query parameters?

Query q = s.createQuery("from foo in class Foo where foo.name=:name and foo.size=:size");
q.setProperties(fooBean); // fooBean has getName() and getSize()
List foos = q.list();

16. Can I map an inner class?

You may persist any static inner class. You should specify the class name using the standard form i.e. eg.Foo$Bar

17. How can I assign a default value to a property when the database column is null?

Use a UserType.

18. How can I truncate String data?

Use a UserType.

19. How can I trim spaces from String data persisted to a CHAR column?

Use a UserType.

20. How can I convert the type of a property to/from the database column type?

Use a UserType.

21. How can I get access to O/R mapping information such as table and column names at runtime?

This information is available via the Configuration object. For example, entity mappings may be obtained using Configuration.getClassMapping(). It is even possible to manipulate this metamodel at runtime and then build a new SessionFactory.

22. How can I create an association to an entity without fetching that entity from the database (if I know the identifier)?

If the entity is proxyable (lazy="true"), simply use load(). The following code does not result in any SELECT statement:
Item itemProxy = (Item) session.load(Item.class, itemId);
Bid bid = new Bid(user, amount, itemProxy);

23. How can I retrieve the identifier of an associated object, without fetching the association?

Just do it. The following code does not result in any SELECT statement, even if the item association is lazy.
Long itemId = bid.getItem().getId();
This works if getItem() returns a proxy and if you mapped the identifier property with regular accessor methods. If you enabled direct field access for the id of an Item, the Item proxy will be initialized if you call getId(). This method is then treated like any other business method of the proxy, initialization is required if it is called.

24. How can I manipulate mappings at runtime?

You can access (and modify) the Hibernate metamodel via the Configuration object, using getClassMapping(), getCollectionMapping(), etc.
Note that the SessionFactory is immutable and does not retain any reference to the Configuration instance, so you must re-build it if you wish to activate the modified mappings.

25. How can I avoid n+1 SQL SELECT queries when running a Hibernate query?

Follow the best practices guide! Ensure that all and mappings specify lazy="true" in Hibernate2 (this is the new default in Hibernate3). Use HQL LEFT JOIN FETCH to specify which associations you need to be retrieved in the initial SQL SELECT.
A second way to avoid the n+1 selects problem is to use fetch="subselect" in Hibernate3.
If you are still unsure, refer to the Hibernate documentation and Hibernate in Action.
I have a collection with second-level cache enabled, and Hibernate retrieves the collection elements one at a time with a SQL query per element!
Enable second-level cache for the associated entity class. Don't cache collections of uncached entity types.

26. How can I insert XML data into Oracle using the xmltype() function?

Specify custom SQL INSERT (and UPDATE) statements using and in Hibernate3, or using a custom persister in Hibernate 2.1.
You will also need to write a UserType to perform binding to/from the PreparedStatement.

27. How can I execute arbitrary SQL using Hibernate?

PreparedStatement ps = session.connection().prepareStatement(sqlString);
Or, if you wish to retrieve managed entity objects, use session.createSQLQuery().
Or, in Hibernate3, override generated SQL using , , and in the mapping document.
I want to call an SQL function from HQL, but the HQL parser does not recognize it!
Subclass your Dialect, and call registerFunction() from the constructor.

28. Why to use HQL?
• Full support for relational operations: HQL allows representing SQL queries in the form of objects. Hibernate Query Language uses Classes and properties instead of tables and columns.
• Return result as Object: The HQL queries return the query result(s) in the form of object(s), which is easy to use. This eliminates the need of creating the object and populate the data from result set.
• Polymorphic Queries: HQL fully supports polymorphic queries. Polymorphic queries results the query results along with all the child objects if any.
• Easy to Learn: Hibernate Queries are easy to learn and it can be easily implemented in the applications.
• Support for Advance features: HQL contains many advance features such as pagination, fetch join with dynamic profiling, Inner/outer/full joins, Cartesian products. It also supports Projection, Aggregation (max, avg) and grouping, Ordering, Sub queries and SQL function calls.
• Database independent: Queries written in HQL are database independent (If database supports the underlying feature).


  1. Hi, Friend it very useful information. i like you blog see more in you blog.


  2. Some excellent questions!

  3. Add More Questions on Types of Mapping in Hibernate n Cache Like 1 to 1 , Many to 1, 2nd Level Cache or More About Repeatable Read, Dirty Read .....


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