Spring vs Hibernate

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

What is Spring? 

Spring is a comprehensive framework for developing Java applications. It provides infrastructure support at the application level, enabling developers to focus on their application's business logic instead of routine boilerplate code. Spring's core feature is dependency injection, which promotes loose coupling and testability. 

However, Spring is not just limited to that; it offers a wide range of features like transaction management, MVC web application framework, JDBC exception handling, and more. In the context of data access, Spring provides an abstraction over JDBC to handle boilerplate code, but it does not implement Object-Relational Mapping (ORM). For ORM, it integrates with technologies like Hibernate and JPA. 

What is Hibernate? 

Hibernate, on the other hand, is an ORM framework. It maps Java classes to database tables (and Java data types to SQL data types). Hibernate also provides data query and retrieval facilities. It generates SQL queries and relieves the developer from manual handling and object conversion of the result set. Hibernate implements the Java Persistence API (JPA) standards and also provides additional features beyond the JPA specification. It simplifies database access and provides a powerful query language (HQL) along with support for custom SQL statements.

Difference between Spring and Hibernate in Java

Spring Hibernate
Spring is a comprehensive framework for developing Java applications. It provides tools for every part of the system, from data access and transaction management to dealing with MVC controllers and managing security. Hibernate is a persistence framework, specifically an Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) framework. It simplifies database access by mapping Java classes to database tables and Java data types to SQL data types.
Spring provides integration with a wide range of technologies, not just Hibernate or JPA. It can be used with JDBC, JDO, Hibernate, and other data access technologies. Hibernate itself is a technology that is integrated with. It doesn't provide its own integration layer for other technologies.
Spring supports both XML and Annotation based configurations. Hibernate mainly supports XML configuration, but it does support Annotation based configuration too.
Spring offers a template class (JDBCTemplate, HibernateTemplate, etc.) to handle boilerplate code for database operations. Hibernate does not offer template classes. It provides a Session API to interact with the database.
Spring's transaction management is more flexible as it can be used in any environment supporting Java, JEE, JTA, and local transactions. Hibernate only supports JPA’s transaction management.
Spring is a framework that can manage all the resources like a web container or application server. Hibernate is a framework that directly interacts with the database and it doesn't have any layer to manage resources.
In terms of database connection, Spring does not have a built-in connection pool mechanism but it provides hooks to integrate with a connection pooling mechanism. Hibernate comes with a built-in database connection pool but it's quite rudimentary and is not recommended for production use.


Spring Data Access Example:
JdbcTemplate jdbcTemplate = new JdbcTemplate(dataSource);
String sql = "SELECT * FROM EMPLOYEE";
List<Employee> employees = jdbcTemplate.query(sql, new EmployeeMapper());
Hibernate Data Access Example:
Session session = sessionFactory.openSession();
Transaction tx = session.beginTransaction();
String hql = "FROM Employee";
Query query = session.createQuery(hql);
List results = query.list();


Spring and Hibernate are both powerful in their respective domains. Spring is a comprehensive framework that can handle all kinds of tasks in a Java application. It simplifies integration with other Java technologies, handles boilerplate code, and allows developers to focus on writing business logic.

Hibernate, on the other hand, is a specialized tool focused on ORM. It is an excellent tool for dealing with databases in Java and can also work seamlessly with Spring.