Another good use for named queries

A while back, I blogged about how Hibernate named queries rock I found another reason why they rock today: it lets you hide what your persistent properties are called.

I had a problem in the system I’m working on where, for legacy purposes, we were using a single space character to represent a “no-value-entered” or null. A little odd, but that’s not what I’m writing about.

I thought that this was an ugly hack, and I didn’t want to have the Java code above that having to look for “is it a single space” instead of looking for an empty string. So to do that, I renamed the persistent property and made a new public property. Like this:

private String foo;
public String getFoo() {
  return foo;
public void setFoo(String value) {
  assert value != null;
  foo = value;
/** column="FOO" not-null="true" */
private String getFooPersistent() {
  return "".equals(foo) : " " ? foo;
private void setFooPersistent(String value) {
  foo = value.trim();

(You’ll notice that the persistent property is private; Hibernate doesn’t care what visibility you give your members, and using private members will help ensure that other code doesn’t use this persistence hack)

One side effect of this, however, is that Hibernate queries need to refer to the ‘fooPersistent’ property, not the ‘foo’ property. Annoying. However, if you use named queries everywhere, it’s easy to find the HSQL to change: you simply search the *.hbm.xml files!

Now all I need to do is get this system to use named queries consistently… 😉

Author: Robert Watkins

My name is Robert Watkins. I am a software developer and have been for over 20 years now. I currently work for people, but my opinions here are in no way endorsed by them (which is cool; their opinions aren’t endorsed by me either). My main professional interests are in Java development, using Agile methods, with a historical focus on building web based applications. I’m also a Mac-fan and love my iPhone, which I’m currently learning how to code for. I live and work in Brisbane, Australia, but I grew up in the Northern Territory, and still find Brisbane too cold (after 22 years here). I’m married, with two children and one cat. My politics are socialist in tendency, my religious affiliation is atheist (aka “none of the above”), my attitude is condescending and my moral standing is lying down.

2 thoughts on “Another good use for named queries”

  1. A custom UserType would probably be a better solution for this. Then no need for “messy” code in your own domain objects.

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