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JPA JoinColumn vs mappedBy

Posted by: admin November 2, 2017 Leave a comment

Questions:

What is the difference between:

@Entity
public class Company {

    @OneToMany(cascade = CascadeType.ALL , fetch = FetchType.LAZY)
    @JoinColumn(name = "companyIdRef", referencedColumnName = "companyId")
    private List<Branch> branches;
    ...
}

and

@Entity
public class Company {

    @OneToMany(cascade = CascadeType.ALL , fetch = FetchType.LAZY, mappedBy = "companyIdRef")
    private List<Branch> branches;
    ...
}
Answers:

The annotation @JoinColumn indicates that this entity is the owner of the relationship (that is: the corresponding table has a column with a foreign key to the referenced table), whereas the attribute mappedBy indicates that the entity in this side is the inverse of the relationship, and the owner resides in the “other” entity. This also means that you can access the other table from the class which you’ve annotated with “mappedBy” (fully bidirectional relationship).

In particular, for the code in the question the correct annotations would look like this:

@Entity
public class Company {
    @OneToMany(fetch = FetchType.LAZY, mappedBy = "company")
    private List<Branch> branches;
}

@Entity
public class Branch {
    @ManyToOne(fetch = FetchType.LAZY)
    @JoinColumn(name = "companyId")
    private Company company;
}

Questions:
Answers:

@JoinColumn could be used on both sides of the relationship. The question was about using @JoinColumn on the @OneToMany side (rare case). And the point here is in physical information duplication (column name) along with not optimized SQL query that will produce some additional UPDATE statements.

According to documentation:

Since many to one are (almost) always the owner side of a bidirectional relationship in the JPA spec, the one to many association is annotated by @OneToMany(mappedBy=…)

@Entity
public class Troop {
    @OneToMany(mappedBy="troop")
    public Set<Soldier> getSoldiers() {
    ...
}

@Entity
public class Soldier {
    @ManyToOne
    @JoinColumn(name="troop_fk")
    public Troop getTroop() {
    ...
} 

Troop has a bidirectional one to many relationship with Soldier through the troop property. You don’t have to (must not) define any physical mapping in the mappedBy side.

To map a bidirectional one to many, with the one-to-many side as the owning side, you have to remove the mappedBy element and set the many to one @JoinColumn as insertable and updatable to false. This solution is not optimized and will produce some additional UPDATE statements.

@Entity
public class Troop {
    @OneToMany
    @JoinColumn(name="troop_fk") //we need to duplicate the physical information
    public Set<Soldier> getSoldiers() {
    ...
}

@Entity
public class Soldier {
    @ManyToOne
    @JoinColumn(name="troop_fk", insertable=false, updatable=false)
    public Troop getTroop() {
    ...
}

Questions:
Answers:

The annotation mappedBy ideally should always be used in the Parent side (Company class) of the bi directional relationship, in this case it should be in Company class pointing to the member variable ‘company’ of the Child class (Branch class)

The annotation @JoinColumn is used to specify a mapped column for joining an entity association, this annotation can be used in any class (Parent or Child) but it should ideally be used only in one side (either in parent class or in Child class not in both) here in this case i used it in the Child side (Branch class) of the bi directional relationship indicating the foreign key in the Branch class.

below is the working example :

parent class , Company

@Entity
public class Company {


    private int companyId;
    private String companyName;
    private List<Branch> branches;

    @Id
    @GeneratedValue
    @Column(name="COMPANY_ID")
    public int getCompanyId() {
        return companyId;
    }

    public void setCompanyId(int companyId) {
        this.companyId = companyId;
    }

    @Column(name="COMPANY_NAME")
    public String getCompanyName() {
        return companyName;
    }

    public void setCompanyName(String companyName) {
        this.companyName = companyName;
    }

    @OneToMany(fetch=FetchType.LAZY,cascade=CascadeType.ALL,mappedBy="company")
    public List<Branch> getBranches() {
        return branches;
    }

    public void setBranches(List<Branch> branches) {
        this.branches = branches;
    }


}

child class, Branch

@Entity
public class Branch {

    private int branchId;
    private String branchName;
    private Company company;

    @Id
    @GeneratedValue
    @Column(name="BRANCH_ID")
    public int getBranchId() {
        return branchId;
    }

    public void setBranchId(int branchId) {
        this.branchId = branchId;
    }

    @Column(name="BRANCH_NAME")
    public String getBranchName() {
        return branchName;
    }

    public void setBranchName(String branchName) {
        this.branchName = branchName;
    }

    @ManyToOne(fetch=FetchType.LAZY)
    @JoinColumn(name="COMPANY_ID")
    public Company getCompany() {
        return company;
    }

    public void setCompany(Company company) {
        this.company = company;
    }


}

Questions:
Answers:

I’d just like to add that @JoinColumn does not always have to be related to the physical information location as this answer suggests. You can combine @JoinColumn with @OneToMany even if the parent table has no table data pointing to the child table.

How to define unidirectional OneToMany relationship in JPA

Unidirectional OneToMany, No Inverse ManyToOne, No Join Table

It seems to only be available in JPA 2.x+ though. It’s useful for situations where you want the child class to just contain the ID of the parent, not a full on reference.