Enterprise Java

Difference between save vs persist and saveOrUpdate in Hibernate

Save vs. saveOrUpdate vs. persist in Hibernate

What is the difference between save and saveOrUpdate or Difference between save and persist are common interview question in any Hibernate interview, much like the difference between get and load method in Hibernate. Hibernate Session class provides a couple of ways to save an object into the database by methods like save, saveOrUpdate, and
persist. You can use either save(), saveOrUpdate() or persist() based upon your requirement for persisting objects into the database. The key thing is that all these objects are used to store data into the database but they also make a transient object persistent in Hibernate.

Along with Spring framework Interview questions, Hibernate questions are also quite popular on Java interviews because of its status as leading ORM. It’s good to prepare some questions from Hibernate before appearing in any
J2EE interviews. One of them is the difference between save, saveOrUpdate and persist, which we will see in this Hibernate article.

Difference between save and saveOrUpdate in Hibernate

The main difference between save and saveOrUpdate method is that
save() generates a new identifier and INSERT record into the database while saveOrUpdate can either INSERT or UPDATE based upon the existence of a record. Clearly,  saveOrUpdate is more flexible in terms of use but it involves extra processing to find out whether a record already exists in the table or not.

In summary, the save() method saves records into the database by INSERT SQL query, Generates a new identifier, and returns the Serializable identifier back.

On the other hand saveOrUpdate() method either INSERT or UPDATE based upon the existence of an object in the database. If a persistence object already exists in the database then UPDATE SQL will execute, and if there is no corresponding object in the database, then INSERT will run.

Difference between save and persist method in Hibernate

In the last section, we saw What are the difference between save and saveOrUpdate, and now we will see the difference in save vs. persist method.

1)The first difference between save and persist is there return type. Similar to save method, persist also INSERT records into the database, but
return type of persist is void while return type of save is Serializable Object.

2) Another difference between persist and save is that both methods make a
transient instance persistent. However, persist() method doesn’t guarantee that the identifier value will be assigned to the persistent instance immediately, the assignment might happen at flush time.

This diagram also explains the life-cycle of a persistence object in Hibernate and how it moves from one state to another like Transient to Persistent to
Detached. You can see that both save() and saveOrUpdate() method move an object from Transient to Persistent state. 

3) One more thing which differentiates persist and save method in Hibernate is that it is their behavior on the outside of transaction boundaries. persist() method guarantees that it will not execute an INSERT statement if it is called outside of transaction boundaries. save() method does not guarantee the same, it returns an identifier, and if an INSERT has to be executed to get the identifier (like “identity” generator), this INSERT happens immediately, no matter if you are inside or outside of a transaction.

These were some differences between save, saveOrUpdate, and persist method of Hibernate. All three methods are related to saving Objects into a database, but their behavior is quite different. Knowledge of save,
persist and saveOrUpdate not only helps to decide better use of Hibernate API but also help you to do well in Hibernate interviews.

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Thanks for reading this article, if you like this article and interview question, then please share with your friends and colleagues. If you have any questions or feedback, then please drop a comment.

Published on Java Code Geeks with permission by Javin Paul, partner at our JCG program. See the original article here: Difference between save vs persist and saveOrUpdate in Hibernate

Opinions expressed by Java Code Geeks contributors are their own.

Javin Paul

I have been working in Java, FIX Tutorial and Tibco RV messaging technology from past 7 years. I am interested in writing and meeting people, reading and learning about new subjects.
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