7.2.4. Collections of values and many-to-many associations

Any collection of values or many-to-many associations requires a dedicated collection table with a foreign key column or columns, collection element column or columns, and possibly an index column or columns.
For a collection of values use the <element> tag. For example:
<element
        column="column_name"                      1
        formula="any SQL expression"              2
        type="typename"                           3
        length="L"
        precision="P"
        scale="S"
        not-null="true|false"
        unique="true|false"
        node="element-name"
/>

1

column (optional): the name of the column holding the collection element values.

2

formula (optional): an SQL formula used to evaluate the element.

3

type (required): the type of the collection element.
A many-to-many association is specified using the <many-to-many> element.
<many-to-many
        column="column_name"                                1
        formula="any SQL expression"                        2
        class="ClassName"                                   3
        fetch="select|join"                                 4
        unique="true|false"                                 5
        not-found="ignore|exception"                        6
        entity-name="EntityName"                            7
        property-ref="propertyNameFromAssociatedClass"      8
        node="element-name"
        embed-xml="true|false"
    />

1

column (optional): the name of the element foreign key column.

2

formula (optional): an SQL formula used to evaluate the element foreign key value.

3

class (required): the name of the associated class.

4

fetch (optional - defaults to join): enables outer-join or sequential select fetching for this association. This is a special case; for full eager fetching in a single SELECT of an entity and its many-to-many relationships to other entities, you would enable join fetching,not only of the collection itself, but also with this attribute on the <many-to-many> nested element.

5

unique (optional): enables the DDL generation of a unique constraint for the foreign-key column. This makes the association multiplicity effectively one-to-many.

6

not-found (optional - defaults to exception): specifies how foreign keys that reference missing rows will be handled: ignore will treat a missing row as a null association.

7

entity-name (optional): the entity name of the associated class, as an alternative to class.

8

property-ref (optional): the name of a property of the associated class that is joined to this foreign key. If not specified, the primary key of the associated class is used.
Here are some examples.
A set of strings:
<set name="names" table="person_names">
    <key column="person_id"/>
    <element column="person_name" type="string"/>
</set>
A bag containing integers with an iteration order determined by the order-by attribute:
<bag name="sizes" 
        table="item_sizes" 
        order-by="size asc">
    <key column="item_id"/>
    <element column="size" type="integer"/>
</bag>
An array of entities, in this case, a many-to-many association:
<array name="addresses" 
        table="PersonAddress" 
        cascade="persist">
    <key column="personId"/>
    <list-index column="sortOrder"/>
    <many-to-many column="addressId" class="Address"/>
</array>
A map from string indices to dates:
<map name="holidays" 
        table="holidays" 
        schema="dbo" 
        order-by="hol_name asc">
    <key column="id"/>
    <map-key column="hol_name" type="string"/>
    <element column="hol_date" type="date"/>
</map>
A list of components (this is discussed in the next chapter):
<list name="carComponents" 
        table="CarComponents">
    <key column="carId"/>
    <list-index column="sortOrder"/>
    <composite-element class="CarComponent">
        <property name="price"/>
        <property name="type"/>
        <property name="serialNumber" column="serialNum"/>
    </composite-element>
</list>