Hibernate @NamedQuery Tutorial

Named queries in hibernate is a technique to group the HQL statements in single location, and lately refer them by some name whenever need to use them. It helps largely in code cleanup because these HQL statements are no longer scattered in whole code.

Apart from above, below are some minor advantages of named queries:

  1. Fail fast: Their syntax is checked when the session factory is created, making the application fail fast in case of an error.
  2. Reusable: They can be accessed and used from several places which increase re-usability.

But, you must know that named query really make code less readable and sometimes debugging becomes more hard, as you have to locate the actual query definition being executed and understand that as well.

Performance wise named queries done not make much difference, nor put any excessive cost.

  1. The cost of transforming a HQL query to SQL is negligible compared to the cost of actually executing the query.
  2. The memory cost of caching the query is really small. Remember that Hibernate needs to have all the entities meta-data in memory anyway.

In this tutorial, I am giving an example of named queries using annotation configuration.

I have a DepartmentEntity.java class which is mapped to Department table in database. I have written two named queries i.e. one for updating a department name by it’s id, and second for selecting a department by it’s id.

Named query definition has two important attributes:

  • name: The name of name query by which it will be located using hibernate session.
  • query: Here you give the HQL statement to get executed in database.


@Table(name = "DEPARTMENT", uniqueConstraints = {
					@UniqueConstraint(columnNames = "ID"),
					@UniqueConstraint(columnNames = "NAME") })
		@NamedQuery(name=DepartmentEntity.GET_DEPARTMENT_BY_ID, query=DepartmentEntity.GET_DEPARTMENT_BY_ID_QUERY),
		@NamedQuery(name=DepartmentEntity.UPDATE_DEPARTMENT_BY_ID, query=DepartmentEntity.UPDATE_DEPARTMENT_BY_ID_QUERY)
public class DepartmentEntity implements Serializable {
	static final String GET_DEPARTMENT_BY_ID_QUERY = "from DepartmentEntity d where d.id = :id"; 
	public static final String GET_DEPARTMENT_BY_ID = "GET_DEPARTMENT_BY_ID"; 
	static final String UPDATE_DEPARTMENT_BY_ID_QUERY = "UPDATE DepartmentEntity d SET d.name=:name where d.id = :id"; 
	private static final long serialVersionUID = 1L;

	@GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.IDENTITY)
	@Column(name = "ID", unique = true, nullable = false)
	private Integer id;
	@Column(name = "NAME", unique = true, nullable = false, length = 100)
	private String name;

	public Integer getId() {
		return id;

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

	public String getName() {
		return name;

	public void setName(String name) {
		this.name = name;

To test, above named query I have written following code and executed both named queries.


public class TestHibernateNamedQuery 
	public static void main(String[] args) 
		//Open the hibernate session
		Session session = HibernateUtil.getSessionFactory().openSession();
			//Update record using named query
			Query query = session.getNamedQuery(DepartmentEntity.UPDATE_DEPARTMENT_BY_ID)
										.setInteger("id", 1)
										.setString("name", "Finance");
			//Get named query instance
			query = session.getNamedQuery(DepartmentEntity.GET_DEPARTMENT_BY_ID)
										.setInteger("id", 1);
			//Get all departments (instances of DepartmentEntity)
			DepartmentEntity department = (DepartmentEntity) query.uniqueResult();

Output in console:

Hibernate: update DEPARTMENT set NAME=? where ID=?
Hibernate: select department0_.ID as ID0_, department0_.NAME as NAME0_ from DEPARTMENT department0_ where department0_.ID=?

Rest of the supporting code can be found in sourcecode attached in last of tutorial.

Important points:

  1. Use JPA style query language. e.g. in place of table name, use Entity name.
  2. Use named queries preferably only for selecting records based on complex conditions. Do not use them excessively, otherwise there is no use of using ORM over simple JDBC.
  3. Please remember that result of named queries is not cached in secondary cache, only query object itself get cached.
  4. Make a habit of adding couple of unit testcases whenever you add any named query in code. And run those unit testcases immediately.
  5. You can not have two named queries with same name in hibernate. Hibernate shows fail fast behavior in this regard and will show error in application start up itself.

That’s all for now related to named queries in hibernate.

Let me know of your thoughts and suggestion if any.

Sourcecode download

Happy Learning !!

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9 thoughts on “Hibernate @NamedQuery Tutorial”

  1. We can’t do like this for Update Query.

    It should be like

    “UPDATE DepartmentEntity d SET d.name=:’Finance’ where d.id = :id”

  2. thanx for the great article.. Can we define all the Named Queries at one place like some property file instead of writing in the entity class. thanx

      • If it comes to reusability you should avoid the constants and provide a method to call the query and hide all the technical stuff to do it as early as possible. If you use constants – next step would be constants for parameters – you are opening the door for non-compiler-safe use everywhere.


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