About a year and an half ago I wrote an entry
about the problem that rises when mapping an entity with multiple bags using eager
fetching. At the end of the entry I suggested three different solutions: (a) to
use lazy fetching, (b) to use sets instead of bags, and (c) to use the
@IndexColumn annotation. Few months later I elaborated
on the usage of @IndexColumn, this time another way – using the @CollectionId


Hibernate Entity Manager –

Hibernate core – 3.2.5.GA

Hibernate annotations- 3.3.0.GA

Database – PostgreSQL 8.1

First one, first…

Just before we start a warning – the
@CollectionId annotation is a Hibernate specific annotation – not a part of the
specification. And it doesn’t work on one-to-many associations (but it can be
used in conjunction with one-to-many associations). After putting that behind
of us lets see the problem.

The Problem

the following entities relation, a parent entity has two collections of child
entities. Both collections should be eagerly loaded.

First try will be to just to
map it as is (Child1 has a many-to-many association; Child2 has a one-to-many):

when loading a persistence unit with the above configuration the
“org.hibernate.HibernateException: cannot simultaneously fetch multiple
bags” will be thrown.

an idbag

reason is that when we add the @CollectionId to a List or a Collection its
semantics changes from “just a bag” to “a bag with primary
key” (a.k.a, idbag). It means that a surrogate key is assigned to each row
on the collection

transforming the association to Child1 into an idbag
(using the @CollectionId annotation) the problem is solved. The reason is that when
we switch the association semantics from “a simple bag” to “a
bag with primary key” (a.k.a, idbag) it means that a surrogate key is
assigned to each row on the collection.

problem with bags is that when Hibernate eagerly loads multiple collections it
issues an outer join select to the RDBMS which can cause multiple entries on
some of the collections. But when using an idbag each row in the collections is
uniquely identified by the surrogate key, therefore Hibernate can identify it
within the collection, even if the SQL statement returns an entry more than

the usage of a generator assigned to the collection id, the generator is
responsible for creating the surrogate keys of the collection rows. I decided
to use the UUID strategy. You can, of course, use JPA standard generators (such
as Sequence or Table generators). The @CollectionId references the COL_ID
column on PARENT_CHILD1 table (the join table). The value of the collection id
is invisible to the application (it is not being mapped to a property).

why not on one-to-many

Hibernate annotations documentation says that to announce idbag
semantics you should assign the @CollectionId to a @ManyToMany,
@CollectionOfElements, or @OneToMany (look at the table on this
section), but the Hibernate core documentation it says “Hibernate
provides a feature that allows you to map many to many associations and collections
of values
to a table with a surrogate key.” (here).
I’ve tried it and indeed when annotating a @OneToMany collection with the
@CollectionId an exception with the message “one-to-many collections with
identifiers are not supported ” is thrown by Hibernate.

Idbag – Not Just For Eager Fetching

forge that you can use idbag for reasons other than solving multiple eager
associations. For example it can give a major performance boost over simple
bags for mutative operations. If entries in a collection have surrogate keys
Hibernate will be able to locate the matching rows in the database using these
keys (each row in the association table becomes unique) – there is no need for
the fetch -> delete-all -> insert-all cycle when updating the collection.

Posted at
03:49PM Jan 18, 2008

by Eyal Lupu in Persistence |

Actually a @OneToMany @JoinTable would work (as opposed to @OneToMany @JoinColumn)

Posted by
Emmanuel Bernard
on January 21, 2008 at 09:33 PM GMT+02:00

Thanks Emmanuel,

Maybe it worth a comment in the documentation. I guess this is
actually an Hibernate core’s issue (not an Hibernate annotation one –
is it?).

Posted by
Eyal Lupu
on January 21, 2008 at 11:56 PM GMT+02:00

So, if I have 2 parallel OneToMany collections it’s not fixable with:

@OneToMany @CollectionId

List getSons() {…}

@OneToMany @CollectionId

List getDaughter() {…}

But if they were ManyToMany collections it is fixable?

Strange 🙂 Any particular reason?

Posted by
Geoffrey De Smet
on January 23, 2008 at 11:11 AM GMT+02:00

Hi Geoffrey,

Yes – you have understood it correctly.

I guess the reason is that regular one-to-many associations have a
foreign key on the child record and there is no place to store the
collection id there.

However, see Emmanuel comment above – you can solve it using a join table.

Posted by
Eyal Lupu
on January 23, 2008 at 11:59 AM GMT+02:00

Year the documentation should be clearer.

Posted by
Emmanuel Bernard
on January 23, 2008 at 04:48 PM GMT+02:00

There is fourth solution of this problem. Works for both @OneToMany and @ManyToMany:

@OneToMany(mappedBy=”account”, cascade=CascadeType.ALL)


private List entries;

Annotation @LazyCollection(LazyCollectionOption.FALSE) makes that
collecion is loaded like with FetchType.EAGER and you can use it on two
and more collections.
This solution is (in my opinion) better because it’s simplier. 🙂

Posted by
Bartosz Jakubowski
on October 22, 2008 at 01:26 PM GMT+02:00

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