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About this Tutorial

This tutorial will show you two things:

  1. You don't need to write DAOs if you just need generic CRUD functionality.
  2. How to write DAOs when you need custom functionality.

If you're new to Hibernate, you might want to read the Hibernate Reference Guide before starting this tutorial.

Table of Contents

  1. Register a personDao bean definition
  2. Create a DAO Test to test finder functionality
  3. Create a DAO Interface and implementation
  4. Run the DAO Test

Register a personDao bean definition

AppFuse 2.x doesn't require you to write a DAO to persist a POJO. You can use one of the pre-existing classes if all you need is CRUD on an object:

  • GenericDaoHibernate: A generics-based class that requires you to create a Spring bean definition.
  • UniversalDaoHibernate: A class that requires you to cast to the specific object type.

The UniversalDaoHibernate class is already registered as a "dao" bean, so you can easily use it without any additional configuration. However, many developers prefer the generics-based DAO because it provides type safety. To register a personDao bean, create src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/applicationContext.xml (or core/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/applicationContext.xml for a modular archetype) and add the following to it:

After doing this, you can use this bean on an object by adding the following setter method:

If you need more than just CRUD functionality, you'll want to continue reading below. If not, you can continue to Creating new Managers. This is a tutorial for creating Business Facades, which are similar to Session Facades, but don't use EJBs. These facades are used to provide communication from the front-end to the DAO layer.

Create a DAO Test to test finder functionality

Now you'll create a DaoTest to test that your DAO works. "Wait a minute," you say, "I haven't created a DAO!" You are correct. However, I've found that Test-Driven Development breeds higher quality software. For years, I thought write your test before your class was hogwash. It just seemed stupid. Then I tried it and I found that it works great. The only reason I do test-driven stuff now is because I've found it rapidly speeds up the process of software development.

To start, create a class in your src/test/java/**/dao directory (or core/src/test/java/**/dao directory for a modular archetype). This class should extend org.appfuse.dao.BaseDaoTestCase, a subclass of Spring's AbstractTransactionalDataSourceSpringContextTests. This parent class is used to load Spring's ApplicationContext (since Spring binds interfaces to implementations), and for (optionally) loading a .properties file that has the same name as your *Test.class. In this example, if you put a file in the same directory as, this file's properties will be available via an "rb" variable.

The code you see above is what you need for a basic Spring integration test that initializes and configures an implementation of PersonDao. Spring will use autowiring by name to call the setPersonDao() method and set the "personDao" bean as a dependency of this class.

Now you need test that the finder method works in your DAO. To do this, create a method that begin with "test" (all lower case). As long as this method is public, has a void return type and take no arguments, it invoked and run by JUnit. Add the following method to your file:

You'll notice that this method relies on pre-existing data in order to pass. The DbUnit Maven Plugin is used to populate the database with test data before the tests are run, so you can simply add the new table/record to the src/test/resources/sample-data.xml file (or core/src/test/resources/sample-data.xml for a modular archetype).

Since the PersonDao you're about to write includes CRUD functionality, you can also write a test to verify CRUD works properly.

In the above example, you can see that person.set*(value) is being called to populate the Person object before saving it. This is easy in this example, but it could get quite cumbersome if you're persisting an object with 10 required fields. This is why a ResourceBundle exists in BaseDaoTestCase. Simply create a file in the same directory as and define your property values inside it:


I tend to just hard-code test values into Java code - but the .properties file is an option that works great for large objects.

Then, rather than calling person.set* to populate your objects, you can use the BaseDaoTestCase.populate(java.lang.Object) method:

At this point, the PersonDaoTest class won't compile yet because there is no PersonDao.class in your classpath, you need to create it.

Create a DAO Interface and implementation

Create a interface in the src/main/java/**/dao (or core/src/main/java/**/dao for a modular archetype) directory and specify the finder method for any implementation classes.

Notice in the class above there is no exception on the method signature. This is due to the power of Spring and how it wraps Exceptions with RuntimeExceptions. At this point, you should be able to compile all your code using your IDE or mvn test-compile. However, if you try to run mvn test -Dtest=PersonDaoTest, you will get an error:

Unfortunately, this doesn't tell you much about what went wrong. To find the real problem, you need to open target/surefire-reports/org.appfuse.tutorial.dao.PersonDaoTest.txt (or core/target/surefire-reports/org.appfuse.tutorial.dao.PersonDaoTest.txt for a modular archetype). In this file, the real problem is shown:

This is an error message from Spring - indicating that you need to specify a bean named "personDao" in a Spring context file. Before you do that, you need to create the PersonDao implementation.

Create a PersonDaoHibernate class that implements the finder method in PersonDao. To do this, create a new class in src/main/java/**/dao/hibernate (or core/src/main/java/**/dao/hibernate for the modular archetype) and name it It should extend BaseDaoHibernate and implement PersonDao. Javadocs eliminated for brevity.

Now, if you try to run mvn test -Dtest=PersonDaoTest, you will get the same error. You need to configure Spring so it knows that PersonDaoHibernate is the implementation of PersonDao.

Create an applicationContext.xml file in src/main/webapp/WEB-INF (or core/src/main/resources for a modular archetype) and add the following XML to it:


If you are if you are using a modular archetype with 2.0 M3 you will need to then create core/src/test/resources/applicationContext-dao.xml as follows:


There is currently an issue with 2.0 M3 with this setup that we're hoping to resolve before 2.0 Final. You shouldn't need to register your Person object in applicationContext.xml; registering it in hibernate.cfg.xml should be enough. This issue doesn't exist when running PersonDaoTest from your IDE, or when running your application in a war-runner. It only happens when running mvn from the command line.

Run the DAO Test

Save all your edited files and try running mvn test -Dtest=PersonDaoTest one more time.

Yeah Baby, Yeah:
Total time: 9 seconds

Next Up: Part II: Creating new Managers - A HowTo for creating Business Facades, which are similar to Session Facades, but don't use EJBs. These facades are used to provide communication from the front-end to the DAO layer.

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