JDBC vs IBATIS vs Hibernate

Christoph has spent the last couple of weeks refactoring a web project to use IBATIS instead of Hibernate. I also refactored a smaller project to use IBATIS instead of JDBC. Here’s our take on the issues:

If you like JDBC and PreparedStatements, you’ll feel comfortable with IBATIS. It doesn’t force any major changes on you and reduces the lines of boilerplate code you’ll need for your database access. It has other benefits as well, such as automatically handling boolean and date mappings which are tedious and error-prone in JDBC.

We had successfully used Hibernate in a number of other projects, but in this particular project, Hibernate turned out to be an awkward fit. The problem was that we already had a database model which we couldn’t change and furthermore, we were porting an existing code base. This combination proved overly complex with Hibernate and we eventually redid the DAO in IBATIS, resulting in a much simpler port.

In summary, if you’re having difficulties integrating Hibernate into your application, consider using IBATIS instead – you get many of the benefits of ORM without the paradigm shifts which Hibernate implies.

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