Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hibernate interview questions

Q. What is a SessionFactory? Is it a thread-safe object?
SessionFactory is Hibernate’s concept of a single datastore and is threadsafe so that many threads can access it concurrently and request for sessions and immutable cache of compiled mappings for a single database. A SessionFactory is usually only built once at startup. SessionFactory should be wrapped in some kind of singleton so that it can be easily accessed in an application code.
SessionFactory sessionFactory = new Configuration().configure().buildSessionfactory();

Q. What is a Session? Can you share a session object between different theads?
Session is a light weight and a non-threadsafe object (No, you cannot share it between threads) that represents a single unit-of-work with the database. Sessions are opened by a SessionFactory and then are closed when all work is complete. Session is the primary interface for the persistence service. A session obtains a database connection lazily (i.e. only when required). To avoid creating too many sessions ThreadLocal class can be used as shown below to get the current session no matter how many times you make call to the currentSession() method.

public class HibernateUtil {

public static final ThreadLocal local = new ThreadLocal();

public static Session currentSession() throws HibernateException {
Session session = (Session) local.get();
//open a new session if this thread has no session
if(session == null) {
session = sessionFactory.openSession();
return session;

It is also vital that you close your session after your unit of work completes. Note: Keep your Hibernate Session API handy.

Q. What are the benefits of detached objects?
Detached objects can be passed across layers all the way up to the presentation layer without having to use any DTOs (Data Transfer Objects). You can later on re-attach the detached objects to another session.

Q. What are the pros and cons of detached objects?
• When long transactions are required due to user think-time, it is the best practice to break the long transaction up into two or more transactions. You can use detached objects from the first transaction to carry data all the way up to the presentation layer. These detached objects get modified outside a transaction and later on re-attached to a new transaction via another session.
• In general, working with detached objects is quite cumbersome, and better to not clutter up the session with them if possible. It is better to discard them and re-fetch them on subsequent requests. This approach is not only more portable but also more efficient because - the objects hang around in Hibernate's cache anyway.
• Also from pure rich domain driven design perspective it is recommended to use DTOs (DataTransferObjects) and DOs (DomainObjects) to maintain the separation between Service and UI tiers.

Q. How does Hibernate distinguish between transient (i.e. newly instantiated) and detached objects?
• Hibernate uses the “version” property, if there is one.
• If not uses the identifier value. No identifier value means a new object. This does work only for Hibernate managed surrogate keys. Does not work for natural keys and assigned (i.e. not managed by Hibernate) surrogate keys.

Q. What is the difference between the session.get() method and the session.load() method?
Both the session.get(..) and session.load() methods create a persistent object by loading the required object from the database. But if there was not such object in the database then the method session.load(..) throws an exception whereas session.get(…) returns null.

Q. What is the difference between the session.update() method and the session.lock() method?
Both of these methods and saveOrUpdate() method are intended for reattaching a detached object. The session.lock() method simply reattaches the object to the session without checking or updating the database on the assumption that the database in sync with the detached object. It is the best practice to use either session.update(..) or session.saveOrUpdate(). Use session.lock() only if you are absolutely sure that the detached object is in sync with your detached object or if it does not matter because you will be overwriting all the columns that would have changed later on within the same transaction.
Note: When you reattach detached objects you need to make sure that the dependent objects are reatched as well.

Q. How would you reatach detached objects to a session when the same object has already been loaded into the session?
You can use the session.merge() method call.

Q. What are the general considerations or best practices for defining your Hibernate persistent classes?
1.You must have a default no-argument constructor for your persistent classes and there should be getXXX() (i.e accessor/getter) and setXXX( i.e. mutator/setter) methods for all your persistable instance variables.
2.You should implement the equals() and hashCode() methods based on your business key and it is important not to use the id field in your equals() and hashCode() definition if the id field is a surrogate key (i.e. Hibernate managed identifier). This is because the Hibernate only generates and sets the field when saving the object.
3. It is recommended to implement the Serializable interface. This is potentially useful if you want to migrate around a multi-processor cluster.
4.The persistent class should not be final because if it is final then lazy loading cannot be used by creating proxy objects.
5.Use XDoclet tags for generating your *.hbm.xml files or Annotations (JDK 1.5 onwards), which are less verbose than *.hbm.xml files.

No comments:

Post a Comment