XML and Annotations in EJB

XML vs Annotations

A simple rule we follow is this: if we need to decouple our entity and bean classes from their EJB metadata, as when we want to use the same entity classes with two different entity inheritance strategies, we put our metadata in XML.

Otherwise, we stick with annotations. Don’t forget—you can always mix and match, relying on the firm policy that whenever metadata is specified for an element using both XML and annotations, the XML always wins. This allows any role (see the “EJB Roles” section later in the chapter) downstream of the bean developer to override metadata settings without having to update the Java source, since overrides can be applied exclusively to the XML descriptors.

XML:

uses ejb-jar.xml or server specific file.

Annotations:

more annotations is better

Note

A more advanced strategy, which is also recommended, is to use annotations only when defining behavior of an enterprise bean or an entity that is truly integral to its definition, such as the relationship type of an entity relationship field, or the transactional requirements of a method on a session bean. Anything that could reasonably be overridden, such as the name of the table to which an entity maps, or the details of a value generator used for populating the primary key on an entity, would go in the XML descriptor, where it can be specified at deploy time by an application assembler, perhaps in consultation with a database administrator. While there is no harm in specifying default values using annotations in the Java source file, this approach recognizes the difference between firm metadata, which ought not to be modified, and loose metadata that may be freely modified without changing the behavior of the enterprise bean or entity.

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