25 January 2007

Before Spring/Hibernate/that whole wave came along, I don’t remember being particularly inspired to have persistence and business logic attached to the entities on which that logic acted… In fact, I rather disliked EJB’s entity beans pattern specifically because everything was on the bean itself. Often times it’d be on a SessionBean, and that’s good. But even there, entity beans have basic persistence, removal and lifecycle operations built into it. A Car doesn’t car how it’s persisted, does it?

Then along came Rails (the most infamous example of this pattern) and suddenly everything is built into the object itself. And, honestly, I like the pattern there. Everything is static if its an operation that would be done by a DAO in Java. It’s a property if its to be persisted. Simple. You know where you stand. I also like the DAO/domain objects mechanism in modern day Java.

That said, I’m astonished at how ugly having the DAO functionality built into the domain object can get in Java.

I ran across some code that has factory methods for returning the entity! Then, as you modify the properties in the entity (mutator by mutator), it writes them to the database! Ugh! Modify 10 properties on the object, and lo 10 update statements fly by your console.

Furthermore, I’ve gotten used to the idea that you can have an interface defining a contract and then an implementation of that DAO’s interface. You can hide that implementation (especially with Spring) behind its contract through any number of remoting technologies, simple base casts and more in a local call, and more. You don’t have to include the accessor / mutators in the interface, too. That’s pretty remarkable.