Hibernate 5 - merge() Example

In this article, we will show you how to use Session.merge() method to merge an entity in Hibernate Application.
In hibernate; both merge() and update() methods updates an entity and can also affect the state of an object i.e. from detached to persistent. In this article, we will explore the use of merge() method.

Session.merge(Object object)

This method copies the state of the given object onto the persistent object with the same identifier. If there is no persistent instance currently associated with the session, it will be loaded. Return the persistent instance. If the given instance is unsaved, save a copy of and return it as a newly persistent instance. The given instance does not become associated with the session. This operation cascades to associated instances if the association is mapped with cascade="merge"
The below diagram shows the usage of Session.merge() method:
In simply put, merge method is used to update a persistent entity instance with new field values from a detached entity instance.

Technologies and tools used

  • Hibernate 5.3.7.Final
  • IDE - Eclipse Noen
  • Maven 3.5.3
  • JavaSE 1.8
  • MySQL - 8.0.13
Let's start developing step by step Hibernate application using Maven as project management and build tool.

Development Steps

  1. Create a Simple Maven Project
  2. Project Directory Structure
  3. Add jar Dependencies to pom.xml
  4. Creating the JPA Entity Class(Persistent class)
  5. Create a Hibernate configuration file - hibernate.cfg.xml
  6. Create a Hibernate utility class
  7. Create the Main class and Run an Application

1. Create a Simple Maven Project

Use How to Create a Simple Maven Project in Eclipse article to create simple Maven project in Eclipse IDE.

2. Project Directory Structure

The project directory structure for your reference - 

3. Add jar Dependencies to pom.xml

 xsi:schemaLocation="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0 http://maven.apache.org/xsd/maven-4.0.0.xsd">
        <!-- https://mvnrepository.com/artifact/mysql/mysql-connector-java -->
        <!-- https://mvnrepository.com/artifact/org.hibernate/hibernate-core -->

4. Creating the JPA Entity Class(Persistent class)

Let's create a Student persistent class that is mapped to a database table.
A simple Persistent class should follow some rules:
  • A no-arg constructor: It is recommended that you have a default constructor at least package visibility so that hibernate can create the instance of the Persistent class by newInstance() method.
  • Provide an identifier property: It is better to assign an attribute as id. This attribute behaves as a primary key in a database.
  • Declare getter and setter methods: The Hibernate recognizes the method by getter and setter method names by default.
  • Prefer non-final class: Hibernate uses the concept of proxies, that depends on the persistent class. The application programmer will not be able to use proxies for lazy association fetching.
Create a Student entity class under net.javaguides.hibernate.entity package as follows.
package net.javaguides.hibernate.entity;

import javax.persistence.Column;
import javax.persistence.Entity;
import javax.persistence.GeneratedValue;
import javax.persistence.GenerationType;
import javax.persistence.Id;
import javax.persistence.Table;

@Table(name = "student")
public class Student {

    @GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.IDENTITY)
    @Column(name = "id")
    private int id;

    @Column(name = "first_name")
    private String firstName;

    @Column(name = "last_name")
    private String lastName;

    @Column(name = "email")
    private String email;

    public Student() {


    public Student(String firstName, String lastName, String email) {
        this.firstName = firstName;
        this.lastName = lastName;
        this.email = email;

    public int getId() {
        return id;

    public void setId(int id) {
        this.id = id;

    public String getFirstName() {
        return firstName;

    public void setFirstName(String firstName) {
        this.firstName = firstName;

    public String getLastName() {
        return lastName;

    public void setLastName(String lastName) {
        this.lastName = lastName;

    public String getEmail() {
        return email;

    public void setEmail(String email) {
        this.email = email;

    public String toString() {
        return "Student [id=" + id + ", firstName=" + firstName + ", lastName=" + lastName + ", email=" + email + "]";

5. Create a Hibernate configuration file - hibernate.cfg.xml

The configuration file contains information about the database and mapping file. Conventionally, its name should be hibernate.cfg.xml.
Let's create an XML file named as hibernate.cfg.xml under resources folder and write the following code in it.
<!DOCTYPE hibernate-configuration PUBLIC
        "-//Hibernate/Hibernate Configuration DTD 3.0//EN"
        <!-- JDBC Database connection settings -->
        <property name="connection.driver_class">com.mysql.cj.jdbc.Driver</property>
        <property name="connection.url">jdbc:mysql://localhost:3306/hibernate_db?useSSL=false</property>
        <property name="connection.username">root</property>
        <property name="connection.password">root</property>
        <!-- JDBC connection pool settings ... using built-in test pool -->
        <property name="connection.pool_size">1</property>
        <!-- Select our SQL dialect -->
        <property name="dialect">org.hibernate.dialect.MySQL5Dialect</property>
        <!-- Echo the SQL to stdout -->
        <property name="show_sql">true</property>
        <!-- Set the current session context -->
        <property name="current_session_context_class">thread</property>
        <!-- Drop and re-create the database schema on startup -->
        <property name="hbm2ddl.auto">create-drop</property>
        <!-- dbcp connection pool configuration -->
        <property name="hibernate.dbcp.initialSize">5</property>
        <property name="hibernate.dbcp.maxTotal">20</property>
        <property name="hibernate.dbcp.maxIdle">10</property>
        <property name="hibernate.dbcp.minIdle">5</property>
        <property name="hibernate.dbcp.maxWaitMillis">-1</property>
        <mapping class="net.javaguides.hibernate.entity.Student" />

6. Create a Hibernate utility Class

Create a helper class to bootstrap hibernate SessionFactory. The bootstrapping API is quite flexible, but in most cases, it makes the most sense to think of it as a 3 step process:
  1. Build the StandardServiceRegistry
  2. Build the Metadata
  3. Use those 2 to build the SessionFactory
package net.javaguides.hibernate.util;

import org.hibernate.SessionFactory;
import org.hibernate.boot.Metadata;
import org.hibernate.boot.MetadataSources;
import org.hibernate.boot.registry.StandardServiceRegistry;
import org.hibernate.boot.registry.StandardServiceRegistryBuilder;

public class HibernateUtil {
    private static StandardServiceRegistry registry;
    private static SessionFactory sessionFactory;

    public static SessionFactory getSessionFactory() {
        if (sessionFactory == null) {
            try {
                // Create registry
                registry = new StandardServiceRegistryBuilder().configure().build();

                // Create MetadataSources
                MetadataSources sources = new MetadataSources(registry);

                // Create Metadata
                Metadata metadata = sources.getMetadataBuilder().build();

                // Create SessionFactory
                sessionFactory = metadata.getSessionFactoryBuilder().build();

            } catch (Exception e) {
                if (registry != null) {
        return sessionFactory;

    public static void shutdown() {
        if (registry != null) {

7. Create the main App class and Run an Application

Here is main App class which is used to connect MySQL database and merge Student object in a database table. Let's test Hibernate application to connect MySQL database.
Note that the comments in below code are self-descriptive.
package net.javaguides.hibernate;

import org.hibernate.Session;
import org.hibernate.Transaction;

import net.javaguides.hibernate.entity.Student;
import net.javaguides.hibernate.util.HibernateUtil;

public class App {

    public static void main(String[] args) {

        Transaction transactionOne = null;
        Transaction transactionTwo = null;
        Session sessionOne = HibernateUtil.getSessionFactory().openSession();
        transactionOne = sessionOne.beginTransaction();

        // create student object
        Student student = new Student("Ramesh", "Fadatare", "rameshfadatare@javaguides.com");

        // save student object

        // commit transaction

        // close first session 

        // open sessionTwo
        Session sessionTwo = HibernateUtil.getSessionFactory().openSession();

        transactionTwo = sessionTwo.beginTransaction();

        // change detached student object name

        // merge method is to update a persistent entity instance with new field values
        // from a detached entity instance.




GitHub Repository

The complete source code of this article available on my GitHub Repository - https://github.com/RameshMF/Hibernate-ORM-Tutorials


In this article, we have created a step by step hibernate application to demonstrate the use Session.merge() method to merge an entity in Hibernate Application.
You can learn more about Hibernate ORM Framework at Hibernate Tutorial