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data access support overview

hantsy edited this page Jul 29, 2013 · 4 revisions

#Data Access overview#

Since Spring 1.x, in the core framework, Spring provided a generic DaoSupport API to simplify the data operations, and now a new Spring Data project was born which provides a modern way for data operations.

##DaoSupport and Template API

The legacy DaoSupport and Template API tries to simplify data access of DBRMS, it supports Hibernate, Jdbc, iBatis and JDO etc. In the new Spring, JDO support is deprecated and removed, and the third party project MyBatis(the successor of iBatis) hands over the Spring data access support.

Spring provides lots of encapsulation for the Jdbc operations, and tries to free developers from the tedious Jdbc APIs. Till now, Jdbc support is still considered valuable when Jdbc is chosen in your project.

Besides this, Spring provides a abstraction framework for transaction management, which delegates transaction operations to the one which is relied upon in your project, such as Jdbc transaction, JPA transaction, JTA etc. Benefited from AOP support in Spring, Spring provides some simple approaches to declare the transaction boundary.

If you are using Hibernate and JPA, it is better to use the native API which only needs a simple bean registration in Spring configuration.

In the further posts I will introduce the DaoSupport API and Template API.

##Spring Data

Thing was changed now days, we are entering a big data era.

Spring Data project tries to provide a more generic abstraction for different datastore, including RDBMS support, such as Jdbc, JPA etc, and NoSQL support, such as MongoDB, Neo4j etc.

The core API is Repository interface(provided in Spring Data Commons sub project), which utilizes AspectJ and Spring AOP framework, and provides effective data query by method name convention. It is the base of all other certain sub projects.

You can consult the Spring Data project page for more details.

I will provide some posts about the JPA and Mongo sub projects.

##DAO is dead?

If you search this topic by Google, you will get much discussion and debate in the search results.

DAO(Date Access Object) is a classic J2EE pattern which is very popular in J2EE 1.4, it was described in the famous Core J2EE Patterns book.

In the wikipedia Data Access Object page, DAO is described as below:

In computer software, a data access object (DAO) is an object that provides an abstract interface to some type of database or other persistence mechanism.

In the next sections of this wiki page, JPA, JDO specifications and some products, such as Hibernate, iBatis, Doctrine are considered as DAO implementation.

The world was changed when Java EE 5 was born, and EJB 3 programming is simplified dramatically, most of the classic J2EE patterns are proved they are anti-patterns, we have got POJO programming capability in the newest Java EE 5 and Java EE 6. That means some of the legacy J2EE patterns are out of date and no use.

Adam Bien wrote much blog entries about the newest Java EE patterns, and wrote down two books to refresh the Java EE patterns, including the alternative of DAO.

Obviously, DAO is still needed when you are using Jdbc in projects. But when you are using JPA, the basic CURD operations are included in EntityManager, and fields are mapped to the table columns automatically, we do not need extra effort on them. The left is the custom queries for some purpose, we have to write them ourselves.

Adam Bien introduced a CrudService to resolve this issue, thus we can avoid to repeat the common operations.

In Spring ecosystem, the newest Spring Data umbrella projects fill the blank table.

##DataAccessException and the Exception Translator

In the Spring Jdbc support, the most attractive feature is the encapsulation of SQLException.

If you are coding against Jdbc API without Spring, you could be bored by the thrown SQLException with stupid error code and description which are very dependent on the Jdbc driver provider.

Spring redesigns the SQLExcdption processing and tries to categorize the exceptions and translates it into Spring friendly DataAccessException(and its subclasses). The work is done by the SQLExceptionTranslator.

Please explore the DataAccessException class and its sub classes for more details.

Besides, Spring also provides a generic PersistenceExceptionTranslator API to transform the exceptions from other persistence technologies(such as Hibernate, JPA, Mongo etc) to the DataAcessException. For Hibernate and JPA if you have registered a Hibernate specific SessionFactoryBean or a JPA specific EntityFactoryBean in Spring configuration, it also registered a certain PersistenceExceptionTranslator for you. For Mongo, you have to register a MongoExceptionTranslator bean yourself.


Spring DaoSupport and Template API had been widely used in projects for years. But for new projects, personally, I think the DaoSupport API should be avoided. The JpaDaoSupport is already marked as @Deprecated, and the HibernateDaoSupport also should be deprecated in future, there is no update for years.

You can switch to use native API when you are using Hibernate and JPA. Spring Data is another alternative of data operations. We will discuss them later.

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