Hibernate vs JDBC

In this post, we will learn the difference between Hibernate and JDBC in Java. This is a frequently asked question in Java interviews for beginners. Let's dive into it.

What is JDBC?

JDBC is a standard Java API for database-independent connectivity between the Java programming language and a wide range of databases. The JDBC library includes APIs for each of the tasks commonly associated with database usage: 
  • Making a connection to a database
  • Creating SQL statements
  • Executing that SQL statements and retrieving the result
  • Viewing & Modifying the resulting records

What is Hibernate?

Hibernate is an Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) library for Java. It provides a framework for mapping an object-oriented domain model to a relational database. Hibernate not only takes care of the mapping from Java classes to database tables (and from Java data types to SQL data types) but also provides data query and retrieval facilities.

Difference between Hibernate and JDBC in Java

Hibernate JDBC
Hibernate is an Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) library for the Java language, providing a framework for mapping an object-oriented domain model to a traditional relational database. JDBC (Java Database Connectivity) is a Java API for connecting and executing queries on a database. It provides a set of interfaces and classes for connecting to the database.
Hibernate abstracts the SQL layer, thus minimizing the need to write SQL queries. It automatically generates SQL queries based on the mapping provided. In JDBC, developers have to write SQL queries manually. It's a low-level method of interacting with databases.
Hibernate provides a caching mechanism that is better for performance. It uses a first-level cache by default and provides support for second-level and query caches as well. JDBC does not provide any caching mechanism. Every database call interacts directly with the database.
Hibernate provides a transaction management service that abstracts the application from the underlying JDBC or JTA transactions. In JDBC, transactions have to be managed manually by developers.
Hibernate provides a way to map Java objects to relational database tables. It hides details of SQL queries, JDBC API, ResultSet, Connection, etc. JDBC does not provide any such mapping. It directly deals with SQL queries, ResultSet, Connection, etc.
Hibernate supports both XML and annotation-based configuration. JDBC does not directly support XML or annotation-based configuration.
Hibernate can generate the necessary queries for CRUD operations automatically. In JDBC, the developer has to manually write and maintain these queries.


Hibernate Example:
Session session = sessionFactory.openSession();
Transaction tx = session.beginTransaction();
String hql = "FROM Employee";
Query query = session.createQuery(hql);
List results = query.list();
JDBC Example:
Connection connection = DriverManager.getConnection(url, username, password);
Statement statement = connection.createStatement();
String sql = "SELECT * FROM EMPLOYEE";
ResultSet resultSet = statement.executeQuery(sql);
while (resultSet.next()) {
    // Process the row


Choosing between Hibernate and JDBC depends on your project requirements. If your project needs to deal with complex entities with many relationships and you want to take advantage of ORM features, Hibernate is the way to go. It makes database programming easy by mapping database tables to Java objects. 

On the other hand, if your application is simple and you do not have to deal with a huge database and complex relationships, using JDBC might be easier and more straightforward. It's faster and gives you complete control over queries. 

Remember, the choice between Hibernate and JDBC depends largely on the specific needs and objectives of your project. Always consider the nature and requirements of your project before deciding on a technology.