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J2EE - entities - When do JPA entity units get saved into thedatabase

 
 
Taras_96
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Posts: n/a
 
      04-28-2008
i all,

I'm trying to gain a better understanding of some J2EE concepts, in
particular entities. AFAIK, if you make changes to an object using a
CMP Entity Bean, those changes are written to the database
automatically:

Customer customer =
// ... obtain a remote
//reference to the bean
// get the customer's address
Address addr = customer.getAddress();
// change the zip code
addr.zip = "56777";
// update the customer's address
customer.setAddress(addr); <- the address field in the database has
now been updated

In 'Java EE with Glassfish application server', the author writes:

"
customer3 = entityManager.find(Customer.class, 4L);
customer3.setLastName("Johnson");
entityManager.persist(customer3);
"

What is the purpose of the 'persist' method, and how is it different
to the 'merge' method? Notice that in the EJB 2.1 code, I didn't have
to explicitly tell the code to update the DB, this was done
automatically.

Furthermore, the book uses a Session Bean to implement a DAO to the
JPA unit:

@Remote
public interface CustomerDao
{
public void saveCustomer(Customer customer);
public Customer getCustomer(Long customerId);
public void deleteCustomer(Customer customer);
}

what is the purpose of the 'saveCustomer' method? Do you have to
explicitly tell the code to save any changes made to objects that are
stored in a database?

eg:

Customer cust = dao.getCustomer(1);
cust.setLastName('foo');
dao.saveCustomer('cust');

I thought the point of CMP was so that you didn't have to explicitly
save objects; that any changes made to the objects in the code were
automatically reflected in the database representation of the object.
The 2.1 code automatically updates the appropriate field, whereas in
the 3.0 code you have to explicitly call save - in 3.0 do you have to
explicitly save changes to the database, whereas in 2.1 this was done
for you by using the Entity Bean?

Thanks

Taras

 
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Owen Jacobson
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Posts: n/a
 
      04-28-2008
On Apr 28, 3:31*am, Taras_96 <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> i all,
>
> I'm trying to gain a better understanding of some J2EE concepts, in
> particular entities. AFAIK, if you make changes to an object using a
> CMP Entity Bean, those changes are written to the database
> automatically:
>
> Customer customer =
> // ... obtain a remote
> //reference to the bean
> // get the customer's address
> Address addr = customer.getAddress();
> // change the zip code
> addr.zip = "56777";
> // update the customer's address
> customer.setAddress(addr); <- the address field in the database has
> now been updated
>
> In 'Java EE with Glassfish application server', the author writes:
>
> "
> customer3 = entityManager.find(Customer.class, 4L);
> customer3.setLastName("Johnson");
> entityManager.persist(customer3);
> "
>
> What is the purpose of the 'persist' method, and how is it different
> to the 'merge' method? Notice that in the EJB 2.1 code, I didn't have
> to explicitly tell the code to update the DB, this was done
> automatically.
>
> Furthermore, the book uses a Session Bean to implement a DAO to the
> JPA unit:
>
> @Remote
> public interface CustomerDao
> {
> public void saveCustomer(Customer customer);
> public Customer getCustomer(Long customerId);
> public void deleteCustomer(Customer customer);
>
> }
>
> what is the purpose of the 'saveCustomer' method? Do you have to
> explicitly tell the code to save any changes made to objects that are
> stored in a database?
>
> eg:
>
> Customer cust = dao.getCustomer(1);
> cust.setLastName('foo');
> dao.saveCustomer('cust');
>
> I thought the point of CMP was so that you didn't have to explicitly
> save objects; that any changes made to the objects in the code were
> automatically reflected in the database representation of the object.
> The 2.1 code automatically updates the appropriate field, whereas in
> the 3.0 code you have to explicitly call save - in 3.0 do you have to
> explicitly save changes to the database, whereas in 2.1 this was done
> for you by using the Entity Bean?
>
> Thanks
>
> Taras


It's unfortunate (but understandable) that the EJB 3 persistence spec
reused the term "entity", as JPA entities and EJB 2 Entity Beans have
almost nothing to do with one another beyond "they map to the
database".

EJB 2 entity beans are full-blown remote objects; when you return an
entity bean from an EJB, the code receiving it may actually receive a
remote stub pointing to a server object. JPA entities are merely
serialized as-is and returned across remote calls. (For local calls,
neither EJB 2 entity beans nor JPA entities are remoted, so none of
this is relevant.)

Both JPA entities and EJB 2 entity beans will automatically persist
field changes back to the database if the changes occur within the
same transaction that the entity was loaded in AND if the object has
not passed across a remote method call (even within the same JVM).
EJB 2 entity beans will also automatically persist changes back even
after the transaction has completed or when referenced across a remote
interface, at the cost of making every method call on the entity a
remote method.

The EntityManager merge method takes a JPA entitiy that has been
allowed to escape its original context, either by being passed or
returned across a remote interface or by surviving past the end of the
transaction that originally loaded it, and "reattaches" it to the
database (in the process persisting changes from the entity into the
database and vice-versa). The persist method does what it says on the
tin: it stores the entity in the database as-is (and attaches it to
the database within the transaction).

-o
 
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Taras_96
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      04-29-2008
Hey Owen,

I reckon that what you've mentioned are the answers that I'm looking
for, but your post doesn't entirely make sense to me...

On Apr 28, 10:04 pm, Owen Jacobson <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>
> It's unfortunate (but understandable) that the EJB 3 persistence spec
> reused the term "entity", as JPA entities and EJB 2 Entity Beans have
> almost nothing to do with one another beyond "they map to the
> database".
>
> EJB 2 entity beans are full-blown remote objects; when you return an
> entity bean from an EJB, the code receiving it may actually receive a
> remote stub pointing to a server object. JPA entities are merely
> serialized as-is and returned across remote calls.


What does this mean? That a a remote client obtaining a EJB3 bean will
obtain a copy of the object, whose methods will actually operate on
the copy rather than being stubs?

>
> Both JPA entities and EJB 2 entity beans will automatically persist
> field changes back to the database if the changes occur within the
> same transaction that the entity was loaded in AND if the object has
> not passed across a remote method call (even within the same JVM).


What do you mean by loading the entity? Could you give a couple of
examples of changes that do and changes that do not occur in the same
transaction?

> EJB 2 entity beans will also automatically persist changes back even
> after the transaction has completed or when referenced across a remote
> interface, at the cost of making every method call on the entity a
> remote method.


Does this mean:

MyBeanHome home = // get a reference to MyBeanHome
MyBean bean = home.find(someKey); // <- is this what you mean by
'loading the entity'?
bean.setFistName("foo"); // <- here a transaction has completed
bean.setLastName("bar"); // <- here *another* transaction has been
completed

>
> The EntityManager merge method takes a JPA entitiy that has been
> allowed to escape its original context, either by being passed or
> returned across a remote interface or by surviving past the end of the
> transaction that originally loaded it, and "reattaches" it to the
> database (in the process persisting changes from the entity into the
> database and vice-versa). The persist method does what it says on the
> tin: it stores the entity in the database as-is (and attaches it to
> the database within the transaction).
>
> -o


This last paragraph doesn't really make sense to me.. do you know of
any resources that explain this well (eg: what do you mean by
'original context'? Or 'surviving' past the end of the transaction
that originally loaded it?)

Thanks

Taras
 
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Owen Jacobson
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      04-29-2008
On Apr 29, 10:33*am, Taras_96 <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Hey Owen,
>
> I reckon that what you've mentioned are the answers that I'm looking
> for, but your post doesn't entirely *make sense to me...
>
> On Apr 28, 10:04 pm, Owen Jacobson <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>
>
> > It's unfortunate (but understandable) that the EJB 3 persistence spec
> > reused the term "entity", as JPA entities and EJB 2 Entity Beans have
> > almost nothing to do with one another beyond "they map to the
> > database".

>
> > EJB 2 entity beans are full-blown remote objects; when you return an
> > entity bean from an EJB, the code receiving it may actually receive a
> > remote stub pointing to a server object. *JPA entities are merely
> > serialized as-is and returned across remote calls.

>
> What does this mean? That a a remote client obtaining a EJB3 bean will
> obtain a copy of the object, whose methods will actually operate on
> the copy rather than being stubs?


Yes.

> > Both JPA entities and EJB 2 entity beans will automatically persist
> > field changes back to the database if the changes occur within the
> > same transaction that the entity was loaded in AND if the object has
> > not passed across a remote method call (even within the same JVM).

>
> What do you mean by loading the entity? Could you give a couple of
> examples of changes that do and changes that do not occur in the same
> transaction?


Using EJB 2 entity beans, calling a finder method is "loading the
entity". Using EJB 3/JPA entities, calling EntityManager.find (...)
loads the entity, as do the various query methods.

> > EJB 2 entity beans will also automatically persist changes back even
> > after the transaction has completed or when referenced across a remote
> > interface, at the cost of making every method call on the entity a
> > remote method.

>
> Does this mean:
>
> MyBeanHome home = // get a reference to MyBeanHome
> MyBean bean = home.find(someKey); // <- is this what you mean by
> 'loading the entity'?
> bean.setFistName("foo"); // <- here a transaction has completed
> bean.setLastName("bar"); // <- here *another* transaction has been
> completed
>


Sometimes.

If there isn't already a transaction going on, then yes, each of those
set methods may take place in its own transaction (subject to the
transaction settings in ejb-jar.xml). If there's already a
transaction in progress (either BMT or CMT), then the set methods will
usually participate in the ongoing transaction.

However, if the value of 'bean' escapes out of an ongoing transaction,
and then later someone calls setFirstName, that call will still update
the database.

Not so with JPA entities: when an entity reference exists past the end
of the transaction that created it, the entity is "detached" from the
database and changes to it affect only the object, not the database;
hence the EntityManager.merge method for "reattaching" detached
entities.

>
> > The EntityManager merge method takes a JPA entitiy that has been
> > allowed to escape its original context, either by being passed or
> > returned across a remote interface or by surviving past the end of the
> > transaction that originally loaded it, and "reattaches" it to the
> > database (in the process persisting changes from the entity into the
> > database and vice-versa). The persist method does what it says on the
> > tin: it stores the entity in the database as-is (and attaches it to
> > the database within the transaction).

>
> > -o

>
> This last paragraph doesn't really make sense to me.. do you know of
> any resources that explain this well (eg: what do you mean by
> 'original context'? Or 'surviving' past the end of the transaction
> that originally loaded it?)


Let's say you have a stateless session bean PersonDAO:

@Stateless
@Local(PersonDAO.class)
public class JPAPersonDAO implements PersonDAO {

@PersistenceContext
private EntityManager em;

public Person getPersonByName (String firstName) {
return em.find (Person.class, firstName);
// (a)
}
}

If this EJB is called directly by a servlet and no UserTransaction
code is involved on the servlet side, then at (a) the resulting Person
object is detached from the database (as the container-managed
transaction for the EJB method call ends).

Now let's introduce a second EJB:

@Stateless
@Local(Frobnicator.class)
public PersonFrobnicator implements Frobnicator {
@EJB
private PersonDAO dao;

public void frobPersonByName (String name) {
Person p = dao.getPersonByName (name);
p.setNote ("I've been frobbed!");
}
}

When something outside the EJB container calls frobPersonByName, the
container starts a transaction, which propagates into the methods
called from frobPersonByName. Because the Person object looked up
from the DAO was looked up in the same transaction it's being modified
in and is not being passed across a remote interface, the change to
the note property will be persisted to the database.

If the JPAPersonDAO EJB declared its interface as
@Remote(PersonDAO.class) instead, the returned Person would be
detached even though the transaction it was loaded in hasn't
completed, and there would need to be an explicit save step where the
modified Person is sent back to the DAO to be saved to the DB.

Does that clear it up at all, or does it make things worse?

-o
 
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Taras_96
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      05-04-2008
On Apr 29, 11:06 pm, Owen Jacobson <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> On Apr 29, 10:33 am, Taras_96 <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>
>
> > Hey Owen,

>
> > I reckon that what you've mentioned are the answers that I'm looking
> > for, but your post doesn't entirely make sense to me...

>
> > On Apr 28, 10:04 pm, Owen Jacobson <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>
> > > It's unfortunate (but understandable) that the EJB 3 persistence spec
> > > reused the term "entity", as JPA entities and EJB 2 Entity Beans have
> > > almost nothing to do with one another beyond "they map to the
> > > database".

>
> > > EJB 2 entity beans are full-blown remote objects; when you return an
> > > entity bean from an EJB, the code receiving it may actually receive a
> > > remote stub pointing to a server object. JPA entities are merely
> > > serialized as-is and returned across remote calls.

>
> > What does this mean? That a a remote client obtaining a EJB3 bean will
> > obtain a copy of the object, whose methods will actually operate on
> > the copy rather than being stubs?

>
> Yes.
>
> > > Both JPA entities and EJB 2 entity beans will automatically persist
> > > field changes back to the database if the changes occur within the
> > > same transaction that the entity was loaded in AND if the object has
> > > not passed across a remote method call (even within the same JVM).

>
> > What do you mean by loading the entity? Could you give a couple of
> > examples of changes that do and changes that do not occur in the same
> > transaction?

>
> Using EJB 2 entity beans, calling a finder method is "loading the
> entity". Using EJB 3/JPA entities, calling EntityManager.find (...)
> loads the entity, as do the various query methods.
>
> > > EJB 2 entity beans will also automatically persist changes back even
> > > after the transaction has completed or when referenced across a remote
> > > interface, at the cost of making every method call on the entity a
> > > remote method.

>
> > Does this mean:

>
> > MyBeanHome home = // get a reference to MyBeanHome
> > MyBean bean = home.find(someKey); // <- is this what you mean by
> > 'loading the entity'?
> > bean.setFistName("foo"); // <- here a transaction has completed
> > bean.setLastName("bar"); // <- here *another* transaction has been
> > completed

>
> Sometimes.
>
> If there isn't already a transaction going on, then yes, each of those
> set methods may take place in its own transaction (subject to the
> transaction settings in ejb-jar.xml). If there's already a
> transaction in progress (either BMT or CMT), then the set methods will
> usually participate in the ongoing transaction.
>
> However, if the value of 'bean' escapes out of an ongoing transaction,
> and then later someone calls setFirstName, that call will still update
> the database.
>
> Not so with JPA entities: when an entity reference exists past the end
> of the transaction that created it, the entity is "detached" from the
> database and changes to it affect only the object, not the database;
> hence the EntityManager.merge method for "reattaching" detached
> entities.
>
>
>
>
>
> > > The EntityManager merge method takes a JPA entitiy that has been
> > > allowed to escape its original context, either by being passed or
> > > returned across a remote interface or by surviving past the end of the
> > > transaction that originally loaded it, and "reattaches" it to the
> > > database (in the process persisting changes from the entity into the
> > > database and vice-versa). The persist method does what it says on the
> > > tin: it stores the entity in the database as-is (and attaches it to
> > > the database within the transaction).

>
> > > -o

>
> > This last paragraph doesn't really make sense to me.. do you know of
> > any resources that explain this well (eg: what do you mean by
> > 'original context'? Or 'surviving' past the end of the transaction
> > that originally loaded it?)

>
> Let's say you have a stateless session bean PersonDAO:
>
> @Stateless
> @Local(PersonDAO.class)
> public class JPAPersonDAO implements PersonDAO {
>
> @PersistenceContext
> private EntityManager em;
>
> public Person getPersonByName (String firstName) {
> return em.find (Person.class, firstName);
> // (a)
> }
>
> }
>
> If this EJB is called directly by a servlet and no UserTransaction
> code is involved on the servlet side, then at (a) the resulting Person
> object is detached from the database (as the container-managed
> transaction for the EJB method call ends).
>
> Now let's introduce a second EJB:
>
> @Stateless
> @Local(Frobnicator.class)
> public PersonFrobnicator implements Frobnicator {
> @EJB
> private PersonDAO dao;
>
> public void frobPersonByName (String name) {
> Person p = dao.getPersonByName (name);
> p.setNote ("I've been frobbed!");
> }
>
> }
>
> When something outside the EJB container calls frobPersonByName, the
> container starts a transaction, which propagates into the methods
> called from frobPersonByName. Because the Person object looked up
> from the DAO was looked up in the same transaction it's being modified
> in and is not being passed across a remote interface, the change to
> the note property will be persisted to the database.
>
> If the JPAPersonDAO EJB declared its interface as
> @Remote(PersonDAO.class) instead, the returned Person would be
> detached even though the transaction it was loaded in hasn't
> completed, and there would need to be an explicit save step where the
> modified Person is sent back to the DAO to be saved to the DB.
>
> Does that clear it up at all, or does it make things worse?
>
> -o


It clears it up considerably.

So basically with a EJB 2 entity bean, because the actual object is
stored on the server, and all client accesses are remote methods, then
the object is always synched with the database.

With EJB 3 entities changes are synched with the database only if the
bean is loaded (using the entity manager) and subsequent changes are
made in the same transaction AND the object was not passed across a
remote interface.

As bean methods automatically define the boundaries of transactions
(unless configured otherwise), and changes made within a bean method
which also loads the entity will have those changes automatically
synched with database (eg: using a session bean as a DAO, like in your
example) ONLY IF the bean instance and the entity object exist in the
same address space (ie: the bean instance does not access the entity
remotely).

In summary, changes are automatically synched if:

- always for EJB entities
- for 3.0 entities, the following has to be true:
* the object was not accessed remotely (the object was not copied
across a remote interface - this is avoided if you use a session bean
existing in the same address space as the entity bean as a DAO)
* the changes made were made in the same transaction as when the
entity was loaded

However, I still don't fully understand the difference between persist
and merge. You wrote that merge:

""reattaches" it to the database (in the process persisting changes
from the entity into the database and vice-versa)."

You wrote 'reattaches' - is something more done than simply synching
the entity object with the database? You also wrote that changes may
be passed *from* the database *to* the entity. Does this occur if a
database field is changed through another interface (possibly through
another entity object), and the fields in the entity object need
updating (as well as any data changed in the entity object needs to be
transferred through to the database)? Wouldn't this create concurrency
problems, where two entity objects may be changing the database at the
same time?

eg:

1. load and change the entity object.
2. do some other stuff. During this time another machine alters the
database.
3. merge the original entity object.

You wrote about persist:

"The persist method does what it says on the tin: it stores the entity
in the database as-is (and attaches it to the database within the
transaction). "

By 'attaches' do you mean that any subsequent changes made to the
entity object will be automatically synched with the database (as long
as the changes are made in the same transaction)? You also write that
'it stores the entity' - so is persist only used for objects that
currently are not in the database (are not persistent objects)? I
don't know if this is correct as I've seen code which finds an entity,
then calls persist on the result returned..

Both methods seem to 'attach' the object to the database, so I'm not
quite sure of the difference. Perhaps merge is used on objects that
have not yet had 'persist' called on them?

Two slightly unrelated questions:

1. What is the Local(Frobnicator.class) syntax (I have seen the @Local
and @Remote decorators, but without any following text)?
2. In EJB 2.0, session beans and message beans may be represented by
multiple bean *instances* (and exist in a pool - EJB objects are
attached to the bean instances when required). To ensure
synchronisation and concurrency, is only ever one *instance* exist of
an entity bean, with multiple interfaces (EJB objects) being attached
to the same bean instance?

Thanks again

Taras
 
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