Accessing databases from Java
July 15, 2008 Leave a comment
iBATIS, Hibernate, and JPA are three different mechanisms for persisting data in a relational database. Each has its own advantages and limitations. iBATIS does not provide a complete ORM solution, and does not provide any direct mapping of objects and relational models. However, iBATIS provides you with complete control over queries. Hibernate provides a complete ORM solution, but offers you no control over the queries. Hibernate is very popular and a large and active community provides support for new users. JPA also provides a complete ORM solution, and provides support for object-oriented programming features like inheritance and polymorphism, but its performance depends on the persistence provider.
The choice of a particular persistence mechanism is a matter of weighing all of the features discussed in the comparison section of this article. For most developers the decision will be made based on whether you require complete control over SQL for your application, need to auto-generate SQL, or just want an easy-to-program complete ORM solution.
I wish that article had been available when I was selecting the database access method on the current project I am working on, I spent about 6 weeks drilling down into Hibernate before iBatis was suggested as more lightweight alternative. Both systems have their merits and address different issues which I addressed in this post.