Chapter 6.  Persistence

Table of Contents

1. persistence.xml
2. Non-EE Use


OpenJPA also includes the OpenJPAPersistence helper class to provide additional utility methods.

Within a container, you will typically use injection to access an EntityManagerFactory. Applications operating of a container, however, can use the Persistence class to obtain EntityManagerFactory objects in a vendor-neutral fashion.

public static EntityManagerFactory createEntityManagerFactory(String name);
public static EntityManagerFactory createEntityManagerFactory(String name, Map props);

Each createEntityManagerFactory method searches the system for an EntityManagerFactory definition with the given name. Use null for an unnamed factory. The optional map contains vendor-specific property settings used to further configure the factory.

persistence.xml files define EntityManagerFactories. The createEntityManagerFactory methods search for persistence.xml files within the META-INF directory of any CLASSPATH element. For example, if your CLASSPATH contains the conf directory, you could place an EntityManagerFactory definition in conf/META-INF/persistence.xml.

1.  persistence.xml

The persistence.xml file format obeys the following Document Type Descriptor (DTD):

<!ELEMENT persistence (persistence-unit*)>
<!ELEMENT persistence-unit (description?,provider?,jta-data-source?,
<!ATTLIST persistence-unit name CDATA #REQUIRED>
<!ATTLIST persistence-unit transaction-type (JTA|RESOURCE_LOCAL) "JTA">
<!ELEMENT description (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT provider (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT jta-data-source (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT non-jta-data-source (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT mapping-file (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT jar-file (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT class (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT exclude-unlisted-classes EMPTY>
<!ELEMENT properties (property*)>
<!ELEMENT property EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST property name CDATA #REQUIRED>
<!ATTLIST property value CDATA #REQUIRED>

The root element of a persistence.xml file is persistence, which then contains one or more persistence-unit definitions. Each persistence unit describes the configuration for the entity managers created by the persistence unit's entity manager factory. The persistence unit can specify these elements and attribtues.

  • name: This is the name you pass to the Persistence.createEntityManagerFactory methods described above. The name attribute is required.

  • transaction-type: Whether to use managed (JTA) or local (RESOURCE_LOCAL) transaction management.

  • provider: If you are using a third-party JPA vendor, this element names its implementation of the PersistenceProvider bootstrapping interface.


    Set the provider to org.apache.openjpa.persistence.PersistenceProviderImpl to use OpenJPA.

  • jta-data-source: The JNDI name of a JDBC DataSource that is automatically enlisted in JTA transactions. This may be an XA DataSource.

  • non-jta-data-source: The JNDI name of a JDBC DataSource that is not enlisted in JTA transactions.

  • mapping-file*: The resource names of XML mapping files for entities and embeddable classes. You can also specify mapping information in an orm.xml file in your META-INF directory. If present, the orm.xml mapping file will be read automatically.

  • jar-file*: The names of jar files containing entities and embeddable classes. The implementation will scan the jar for annotated classes.

  • class*: The class names of entities and embeddable classes.

  • properties: This element contains nested property elements used to specify vendor-specific settings. Each property has a name attribute and a value attribute.


    The Reference Guide's Chapter 2, Configuration describes OpenJPA's configuration properties.

Here is a typical persistence.xml file for a non-EE environment:

Example 6.1.  persistence.xml

<?xml version="1.0"?>
  <persistence-unit name="openjpa">
      <property name="openjpa.ConnectionURL" value="jdbc:hsqldb:tutorial_database"/>
      <property name="openjpa.ConnectionDriverName" value="org.hsqldb.jdbcDriver"/>
      <property name="openjpa.ConnectionUserName" value="sa"/>
      <property name="openjpa.ConnectionPassword" value=""/>
      <property name="openjpa.Log" value="DefaultLevel=WARN, Tool=INFO"/>