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Hibernate – one-to-many unidirectional association

In a relational database in a one-to-many relationship, a row in table X can have  more than one matching row in table Y.

In Object oriented programming, one instance of entity refers to multiple instances of another entity in the  relation called one-to-many relation.

In this tutorial used the relationship between Engineering Branch and Students. In an Engineering college each Branch have many Students.

one-to-many Tables structure in Database :

one-to-many association

Technologies Used in following example :

  • JPA 2.1
  • Hibernate 5.2.6
  • MySql 8.0
  • Maven 3
  • Spring Tool Suite (STS) 3.9.8
  • Java 1.8

Student.java mapping :

 * The persistent class for the STUDENT database table.
public class Student implements Serializable {
    private static final long serialVersionUID = 1L;
    @GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.AUTO, generator = "native")
    @GenericGenerator(name = "native", strategy = "native")
    private int id;
    private String contactNo;
    private String fname;// if Field name and Column name is same no need to map with annotation
    private String lname;// default mapping is field name
//Setters and getters

Branch.java mapping :

 * The persistent class for the BRANCH database table.
public class Branch implements Serializable {
    private static final long serialVersionUID = 1L;
    @GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.AUTO, generator = "native")
    @GenericGenerator(name = "native", strategy = "native")
    private int branchId;
    private String branchName;
    private String branchShortName;
    private String description;
    //uni-directional one-to-many association to Student
    @JoinColumn(name="BRANCH_ID", nullable=false)
    private List students; // Each branch have many Students (list of)
//Setters and getters

Cascade :

  • Whenever rows in the parent table manipulated (inserted, updated, deleted) the respective rows of the child table with a matching key column will be manipulated as well. This is called Cascade in Database.
  • JPA translates entity state transitions to database DML statements.

@JoinColumn :

  • @JoinColumn Specifies a column for joining an entity association or element collection. The annotation MARKDOWN_HASHf6fe5d6d260954e3d74370aaeb356271MARKDOWN_HASH 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.

To Understand Cascade and @JoinColumn mapping in entity associations see :
Key points to understand associations

App.java- Testing the above mapping :

 * JPA One-To-Many Unidirectional
public class App 
    public static void main( String[] args )
        EntityManagerFactory emf = null;
        EntityManager entityManager = null;
        EntityTransaction transaction = null;
            emf = Persistence.createEntityManagerFactory("jbd-pu");
            entityManager = emf.createEntityManager();
            transaction = entityManager.getTransaction();
            Branch branch = new Branch();
            branch.setBranchName("Computer Science and Engineering");
            branch.setDescription("CSE department offers courses under ambitious curricula in computer science and computer engineering..");
            List students = new ArrayList();
            //Branch object having all the information (Branch and Students)
        }catch(Exception e){
    private static Student getStudent1(){
        Student student = new Student();
        return student;
    private static Student getStudent2(){
        Student student = new Student();
        return student;

Output :

INFO - HHH000400: Using dialect: org.hibernate.dialect.MySQLInnoDBDialect
INFO - HHH000397: Using ASTQueryTranslatorFactory
Hibernate: insert into Branch (BRANCH_NAME, BRANCH_SHORT_NAME, description) values (?, ?, ?)
Hibernate: insert into Student (CONTACT_NO, fname, lname, BRANCH_ID) values (?, ?, ?, ?)
Hibernate: insert into Student (CONTACT_NO, fname, lname, BRANCH_ID) values (?, ?, ?, ?)
Hibernate: update Student set BRANCH_ID=? where id=?
Hibernate: update Student set BRANCH_ID=? where id=?
INFO - HHH000030: Cleaning up connection pool [jdbc:mysql://localhost:3306/jpa_JBD]

Download Application – JPA-OneMany-UniDirection.zip (14 KB)

Satish Varma
Satish Varmahttps://javabydeveloper.com
Satish is post graduated in master of computer applications and experienced software engineer with focus on Spring, JPA, REST, TDD and web development. Follow him on LinkedIn or Twitter or Facebook


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