18.1. Working with XML data
Hibernate allows you to work with persistent XML data in much the same way you work with persistent POJOs. A parsed XML tree can be thought of as another way of representing the relational data at the object level, instead of POJOs.
Hibernate supports dom4j as API for manipulating XML trees. You can write queries that retrieve dom4j trees from the database and have any modification you make to the tree automatically synchronized to the database. You can even take an XML document, parse it using dom4j, and write it to the database with any of Hibernate's basic operations:
persist(), saveOrUpdate(), merge(), delete(), replicate() (merging is not yet supported).
This feature has many applications including data import/export, externalization of entity data via JMS or SOAP and XSLT-based reporting.
A single mapping can be used to simultaneously map properties of a class and nodes of an XML document to the database, or, if there is no class to map, it can be used to map just the XML.
18.1.1. Specifying XML and class mapping together
Here is an example of mapping a POJO and XML simultaneously:
18.1.2. Specifying only an XML mapping
Here is an example where there is no POJO class:
This mapping allows you to access the data as a dom4j tree, or as a graph of property name/value pairs or java
Maps. The property names are purely logical constructs that can be referred to in HQL queries.