EclipseLink is an open-source mapping and persistence framework for use in a Java environment, including Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE) and Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE). The EclipseLink project is under the stewardship of the Eclipse Foundation.
EclipseLink completely implements the following specifications, plus extensions to those specifications:
Java Persistence API (JPA)
JPA is the Java API for object/relational mapping (ORM), where Java objects are mapped to database artifacts, for the purpose of managing relational data in Java applications. JPA includes Java Persistence Query Language (JPQL), the Java Persistence Criteria API, and the Java API and XML schema for defining object/relational mapping metadata.
The latest version of the specification is JSR 317: Java Persistence 2.0. See
Some of the EclipseLink extensions to standard JPA are:
Support for mapping to nonrelational (NoSQL) databases.
Features useful in Software as a Service (SaaS) environments, including tenant isolation, extensible entities, external metadata sources.
Java API for RESTful Web Services (JAX-RS, defined in JSR 311).
Many other additional annotations, annotation extensions, Java Persistence Query Language (JPQL) extensions, JPA query customizations extensions, and persistence property extensions.
Java Architecture for XML Binding (JAXB)
JAXB is the Java API for object/XML mapping (OXM), where an XML document is bound to Java objects, based on the XML document's XSD schema. JAXB provides methods for unmarshalling (reading) XML instance documents into Java content trees, and then marshalling (writing) Java content trees back into XML instance documents. JAXB also provides a way to generate XML schema from Java objects.
The latest version of the specification is JSR 222: Java Architecture for XML Binding (JAXB) 2.0. See
In addition to the implementations of the standard specifications described above, EclipseLink includes the following:
EclipseLink Database Web Services (DBWS)
DBWS is a development tool and a runtime for providing Java EE-compliant, client-neutral access to relational database artifacts via a Web service. The development tool, DBWS Builder, is a command-line utility that generates the necessary deployment artifacts. (DBWS Builder is integrated into the Eclipse Dali Java Persistence toolset and into Oracle JDeveloper.) The runtime provider takes a service descriptor (along with related deployment artifacts) and realizes it as a JAX-WS 2.0 Web service. The runtime uses EclipseLink to bridge between the database and the XML SOAP Messages used by Web service clients.
EclipseLink Enterprise Information Services (EIS)
EIS is a facility for enabling the use of data stores through Java Connector Architecture (JCA) resource adapters. Using XML metadata, the interactions and their exchanged data are configured and mapped onto a domain model. The interactions data can be mapped from either the Common Client interface (CCI) or using XML schemas. This use is intended for non-relational data stores where no JDBC or SQL access is provided.
EclipseLink can be used with a wide range of Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE) and Java application architectures. Use EclipseLink to design, implement, deploy, and optimize an advanced, object-persistence and object-transformation layer that supports a variety of data sources and formats, including relational databases, nonrelational (NoSQL) databases, XML, JSON, and Web Services.
EclipseLink supports Java persistence in Java EE, Java SE and web containers including integration with various application servers including:
Oracle WebLogic Server
Oracle Glassfish Server
JBoss Web Server
IBM WebSphere application server
Oracle Containers for Java EE (OC4J)
Various other web containers, such as Apache Tomcat, Eclipse Gemini, IBM WebSphere CE, and SpringSource Server
EclipseLink lets you quickly capture and define object-to-data source and object-to-data representation mappings in a flexible, efficient metadata format.
The runtime lets your application exploit this mapping metadata with a simple session facade that provides in-depth support for data access, queries, transactions (both with and without an external transaction controller), and caching.
For more information about EclipseLink, see "Key Features".
Java-to-data source integration is a widely underestimated problem when creating enterprise Java applications. This complex problem involves more than simply reading from and writing to a data source. The data source elements include tables, rows, columns, and primary and foreign keys. The Java and Java EE programming languages include entity classes (regular Java classes), business rules, complex relationships, and inheritance. In a nonrelational data source, you must match your Java entities with XML elements and schemas.
A successful solution requires bridging these different technologies and solving the object-persistence impedance mismatch—a challenging and resource-intensive problem. To solve this problem, you must resolve the following issues between Java EE and the data source elements:
Fundamentally different technologies
Different skill sets
Different staff and ownership for each of the technologies
Different modeling and design principles
As an application developer, you need a product that lets you integrate Java applications with any data source, without compromising application design or data integrity. In addition, as a Java developer, you need the ability to store (that is, persist) and retrieve business domain objects using a relational database or a nonrelational data source as a repository.
EclipseLink addresses the disparity between Java objects and data sources. It contains a persistence framework that lets you build applications that combine the best aspects of object technology with a specific data source. You can do the following:
Persist Java objects to virtually any relational database
Perform in-memory conversions between Java objects and XML and JSON documents
Map any object model to any relational or nonrelational schema
Use EclipseLink successfully, even if you are unfamiliar with SQL or JDBC, because EclipseLink offers a clear, object-oriented view of data sources