Understanding EclipseLink, 2.7
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About Native SQL Queries

JPA allows SQL to be used for querying entity objects, or data. SQL queries are not translated, and passed directly to the database. SQL queries can be used for advanced queries that require database specific syntax, or by users who are more comfortable in the SQL language than JPQL or Java.

SQL queries are created from the EntityManager using the createNativeQuery API or via named queries. A Query object is returned and executed the same as any other JPA query. An SQL query can be created for an entity class, or return an object array of data. If returning entities, the SQL query must return the column names that the entity's mappings expect, or an SqlResultSetMapping can be used. An SqlResultSetMapping allows the SQL result set to be mapped to an entity, or set of entities and data.

SQL queries can be used to execute SQL or DML (Data Manipulation Language) statements. For SQL queries that return results, getSingleResult or getResultList can be used. For SQL queries that do not return results, executeUpdate must be used. executeUpdate can only be used within a transaction. SQL queries can be used to execute database operations and some stored procedures and functions. Stored procedures that return output parameters, or certain complex stored procedures, cannot be executed with SQL queries.

Parameters to SQL queries are delimited using the question mark (?) character. Only indexed parameters are supported, named parameters are not supported. The index can be used in the delimiter, such as ?1. Parameter values are set on the Query using the setParameter API. Indexed parameters start at the index 1 not 0.

Native SQL queries can be defined as named queries in annotations or XML using the NamedNativeQuery annotation or <named-native-query> XML element. Named native SQL queries are executed the same as any named query.

An SqlResultSetMapping can be used to map the results of an SQL query to an entity if the result column names do not match what the entity mappings expect. It can also be used to return multiple entities, or entities and data from a single SQL query. EntityResult and FieldResult are used to map the SQL query result column to the entity attribute. ColumnResult can be used to add a data element to the result.

SqlResultSetMappings are defined through annotations or XML using the @SqlResultSetMapping annotation or <sql-result-set-mapping> XML element. They are referenced from native SQL queries by name.

EclipseLink Extensions to Native Query Support

EclipseLink expressions let you specify query search criteria based on your domain object model. When you execute the query, EclipseLink translates these search criteria into the appropriate query language for your platform.

The EclipseLink API provides the following two public classes to support expressions:

  • The Expression class represents an expression that can be anything from a simple constant to a complex clause with boolean logic. You can manipulate, group, and integrate expressions.

  • The ExpressionBuilder class is the factory for constructing new expressions.

You can specify a selection criterion as an Expression with DatabaseQuery method setSelectionCriteria, and in a finder that takes an Expression.

For more information about using EclipseLink expressions, see Chapter 10, "Understanding EclipseLink Expressions".