DataNucleus - Tutorial for JPA using DB4O

We saw in the JPA Tutorial the overall process for adding persistence to a simple application. In that tutorial we persisted the objects to an RDBMS. Here we show the differences when persisting instead to the db4o object datastore.

  1. Step 1 : Design your domain/model classes as you would do normally
  2. Step 2 : Define their persistence definition using Meta-Data.
  3. Step 3 : Compile your classes, and instrument them (using the DataNucleus enhancer).
  4. Step 4 : Generate the database tables where your classes are to be persisted.
  5. Step 5 : Write your code to persist your objects within the DAO layer.
  6. Step 6 : Run your application.

The tutorial guides you through this. You can obtain the code referenced in this tutorial from SourceForge (one of the files entitled "datanucleus-samples-tutorial-*").

Step 1 : Create your domain/model classes

The model classes are exactly the same here, so please refer to the JPA Tutorial for details.

Step 2 : Define the Persistence for your classes

When defining the persistence of the classes, the only difference would be that we omit the orm.xml file since we aren't doing object-relational mapping with db4o.

Step 3 : Enhance your classes

In the JPA Tutorial we saw that we need to bytecode enhance our classes to be persisted. This step is identical when using db4o so please refer to the original tutorial for details.

Step 4 : Generate any schema required for your domain classes

With db4o we have no such concept as a "schema" and so this step is omitted.

Step 5 : Write the code to persist objects of your classes

We saw in the JPA Tutorial how to persist our objects using JPA API calls. This is the same when using db4o so please refer to the original tutorial for details.

Please note that DataNucleus doesn't currently support use of JPQL/SQL with db4o so any operations for querying will throw an Exception informing you of this.

Step 6 : Run your application

We saw in the JPA Tutorial how to run our JPA-enabled application. This is very similar when persisting to db4o. The only differences are

  • Put your db4o.jar in the CLASSPATH instead of the JDBC driver
  • Put the DataNucleus DB4O JAR in the CLASSPATH instead of DataNucleus RDBMS JAR
  • Edit persistence.xml to include the details for your DB4O datastore

The persistence.xml file could be changed to be like this

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<persistence xmlns=""
    xsi:schemaLocation="" version="1.0">

    <!-- Tutorial "unit" -->
    <persistence-unit name="Tutorial">
            <property name="datanucleus.ConnectionURL" value="db4o:file:db4o.db"/>


Any questions?

As you can see changing between an RDBMS and db4o is trivial. You don't need to change your actual classes, or persistence code at all. It's simply a change to your runtime details.

If you have any questions about this tutorial and how to develop applications for use with DataNucleus please read the online documentation since answers are to be found there. If you don't find what you're looking for go to our Forums .

The DataNucleus Team