It was JDBC (Java Database Connectivity) which was used as the traditional method for connecting a Java application to a database. JDBC connections were causing tedious problems as it required many lines of code for mapping the database with an application.

This tedious process was soon overcome with the emergence of ORM (Object Relational Mapping). ORM frameworks provided an easy implementation for connecting object-oriented applications with databases. ORM required only a few lines of code for the mapping process.

In recent times, ORM is gaining popularity and is preferred by many developers. There are many ORM software that supports the Java programming language. But, out of all, Hibernate remains the most popular and widely used as it provides a complete ORM solution.

Let’s look at the top 10 advantages of Hibernate:
1. ORM

Hibernate ORM easily solves the data mismatch found between the object oriented classes of an application and relational database. ORM connects these two with ease through the use of the XML mapping file. It enables to gain complete control over the application as well as the database design. This feature makes Hibernate flexible and powerful.

2. Transparent Persistence

Hibernate’s transparent persistence ensures the automatic connection between the application’s objects with the database tables. This feature prevents developers from writing lines of connection code. Transparent persistence enables hibernate to reduce development time and maintenance cost.

3. Database independent

Hibernate is database independent. It can be used to connect with any database like Oracle, MySQL, Sybase and DB2 to name a few. This cross database portability of Hibernate is easily achieved by changing a parameter ‘database dialect’ in the configuration file. Database independency is considered as one of the major advantages of Hibernate.

4. HQL

Hibernate supports a powerful query language called HQL (Hibernate Query Language). This query language is more powerful than SQL and is completely object oriented. HQL’s advanced features like pagination and dynamic profiling are not present in SQL.
HQL can be used to implement some of the prominent object oriented concepts like inheritance, polymorphism and association.

5. Dual-layer Caching

Hibernate supports both first level and second level caching mechanisms. The first level caching is associated with Session object which is used by default. The second level caching is related to the Session Factory object.
Through caching concept, Hibernate retains the objects in cache to reduce repeated hits to the database. This feature makes Hibernate highly scalable and optimizes the application’s performance.

6. Version Property

Hibernate supports optimistic locking through its version property feature. This functionality supports multiple transactions without affecting one another.
For example, when two or more users try to alter a database entity at the same time, the version field avoids the conflict and gives preference to the user who commits the changes first. The other user will be prompted with an error message and will be asked to restart the process.

7. Open Source

Hibernate is available as an open source software with zero cost product license. This light weight software can be downloaded from its source website The latest version of Hibernate that can be downloaded is 4.3.10.

8. Scalability

Hibernate is highly scalable. It adapts itself in any environment. It may be an intranet application with few hundreds of users or large critical application with thousands of users. Hibernate supports both the applications equally.

9. Lazy-Loading

The lazy-loading concept fetches only the necessary object that is required for the execution of an application.

For example, if there is one parent class and n number of child classes, during execution, there is no need to load all the child classes. Instead, only the class that is required for the query or join need to be loaded. This concept of lazy-loading prevents the unnecessary loading of objects. It enhances the performance of the application.

10. Easy to Learn

Hibernate is developer friendly. It is easy to learn and implement. As the framework takes care of the changes made to the database automatically, a developer’s work is reduced to a great extent.