Today, in this final post of the semester for CS-343 I will be examining the JPA architecture. This is something I have been curious about after browsing articles on DZone for the past couple of weeks and seeing this topic pop up a lot, luckily they made a good introduction post this week. From the article: “The Java Persistence API is the Java standard for mapping Java objects to a relational database”, this is something that I have been wondering how to do since we started working with the REST APIs and our projects that have been using Java HashMaps for makeshift databases instead of something more permanent like SQL. This article briefly introduces and explains the functionality of the six key parts of the architecture for JPA. The article gives a diagram for these six units and the multiplicity of their relationships. The article then gives a simple example of mapping a simple Java POJO Student class into data for a database, using the student ID as the primary key. I was surprised at how easy this translation was, all it includes is a couple of tags for columns above the instance variables that designate the database column, and which one is the primary key to generate in the database. The article then creates an application class that uses the various entity classes to store a newly created student into a database. I liked the simplicity of the article as most introductory articles are on this website for what are advanced programming topics, but my biggest criticism is that this article has brief definitions for many of the elements of JPA and then links to an external site that further elaborates on them. I wished that the author put a bit more time and consolidated all of this information into one article for this site, instead of having a bunch of separate webpages on his own website. I also wish he showed in this post getting data from the database and translating it back into Java and performing manipulations on this data with methods. Overall it was a good introduction to a very useful topic and one that I would like to further look at. Going forward, I am much in favor of using this way of storing data as opposed to simple Java in-memory databases for entire applications like we did in our projects.
Today I am looking at another design pattern. This one is the command design pattern, which is yet another Gang of Four design. They classify it as a behavioral pattern with object as the scope (GoF 223). I wanted to explore this one as reading through the different pattern descriptions in the Gang of Four book, this peaked my interested by its ability to separate requests from objects. The article gives a good summary of the idea of the pattern with a real-life example of a restaurant with a server taking an order from a customer and handing it off to a chef. It then further breaks down the pattern with the usual UML diagram and a helpful sequence diagram that shows the order in which the classes perform the pattern. I found this sequence diagram, along with the comments in the example program with code that show which class matches with which part of the diagrams really useful in this example, as the pattern goes through a couple of classes just to call a basic function on a simple object. Although this pattern does seem complex at first, it has a nice simplicity once you understand what all the classes are doing, and once you get the base created adding more functions is as simple as adding more command classes. The article then creates a simple example with Java of the command pattern using the various classes to switch a light bulb object on and off. I do like the idea of the pattern and its particular implementation in this example. It nicely breaks down requests into their own separate command objects that gives much greater control over requests across a program. I agree that the ability this pattern gives to create a log of function calls and add an ability to undo all functions called on an object is very helpful. I also agree with the author that it can get messy if you have a lot of functions that need to be implemented. As this pattern calls for a separate command class to be made for each function or method performed on an object, this can quickly add up depending on how many methods you need in your program. In the future, I will definitely remember this pattern and its useful ability to separate commands from the objects it performs them on.