EJB 3 Vs Hibernate

what is Hibernate?

HIBERNATE is an ORM ( Object-Relational-Mapping) technology. It is an Open-Source and free technology , developed in SourceForge.net. There have been a number of such ORM technologies,in recent past.. TopLink is one such tool , subsequently adopted by Oracle and so proprietory.

Hibernate from SourceForge and OJB(Object-Relational-Bridge) from Apache are two well known ORM tools,open-source and free. JDO , also falls within the same category.

Hibernate and EJB 3.0

EJB-3 , is the latest version and it is heavily influenced by Hibernate. Some readers equate EJB-3 with Hibernate. Some even equate EJB-3 with JBOSS! Oracle supports EJB-3 proposals and as it is the main Database company in j2ee world, EJB-3 has bright future. J2EE( Java Enterprise Edition) by its very name is an Enterprise level technology, and as EJB is the essence of such Enterprise applications, because of the built-in container services offered, the significance of the surging interest in Hibernate can be really appreciated only in association with EJB and hence a detour into EJB is inevitable.

EJB has three types. One type is the SESSION BEAN,residing in ENTERPRISE container, which can be thought of as a function-bean, invoked in RMI-IIOP style. (this is a rough definition).Such session-bean , may be either stateless or stateful.

This type of EJB has stood the test of time during the last six years and has even gained wide approval, even for data-access, especially since it fits very well with the emerging XML WebService technology, and is very easy to learn and implement.( The earlier tutorial on EJB as webservice in Feb-2005, in DeveloperIQ illustrates this feature).The stateless bean working in Enterprise container has an exact counter-part in Microsoft COM+(MTS), but the other types are said to be available in MS platform only through third-party extensions.

ORM tools have been sometimes used along with Session beans. The only problem till recently was that they were proprietary and rather costly. But nowadays, very reliable open-source ORM tools are available, and even Richard Monson Haefel ( an acknowledged authority and author on EJB)approves this method as a safe and productive alternative to Entity beans.( page-467..EJB by Haefel-OReilly).

The other branch, the ENTITY BEAN has been less lucky. EJB-1.1, EJB-2.0 and then EJB-2.1 , have meant a number of changes in the specification relating to Entity Beans. We can say that an Entity bean is an ‘Attribute bean’ or ‘property-bean’, with setter and getter methods, invoked in RMI-IIOP style and persisted in Enterprise container. The pattern of defining a typical Javabean is a recurring theme in Java. The same style occurs in BDK,EJB-Entity beans, Struts,JSF and now in Hibernate too. So, it is very important and elegant.

The third branch is Messaging paradigm and MDB. A recent article in the web dubbed the ‘RPC’ style, on which the previous two types of EJB are based, as stone-age technologies! An Enterprise by its very name implies huge number of customers and concurrent transactions, RPC style being like telephone call, could result in ‘line-engaged!’ problem. If the call involves the called person referring to some records before replying, it leads to line- blocking. But, messaging style, as in email, at least ensures that the message has been sent. It is evident that dubbing RPC( read ‘telephone’) as unsuitable , is over-statement. Sometimes, we desire immediate response, too. By the same token, even XML webservice , if it is really serious, should adopt messaging style and it does.MDB (Message-Driven bean) has weathered the storm and is in fact gaining more and more acceptance.

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