Eclipse Zone is brought to you in partnership with:

Peter Friese is a software engineer with 15+ years hands-on experience in software development, technical writing and public speaking. Peter works as a software engineering consultant at Zühlke Engineering. Having worked on a host of industry projects in diverse domains and being an active committer on a number of open source projects, he has in-depth knowledge in a broad range of technologies. His main areas of expertise are model-driven software development, cross-platform mobile development (iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7, and mobile web) and Eclipse tooling. Peter blogs at and tweets at @peterfriese. Peter is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 29 posts at DZone. View Full User Profile

Using Teneo and EMF to Store Your Data

  • submit to reddit

Most of you know that I am working as a committer for various Eclipse-related projects (such as Xtext, Xpand and the Modeling Workflow Engine). You might not know, however, that I also work as a consultant for itemis. On one of my recent consulting assignments in Ottawa, Canada, I was asked "How can we use EMF to store our data in a database?"

Well, it turns out EMF can help a long way to store data in a database. Here is how.

Prepare your development environment

  1. Get Eclipse 3.5 M5 (click here to download)
  2. Unpack and start Eclipse
  3. Bring up the "Install New Software" dialog (Help -> Install New Software)
  4. Select Teneo EMF Hibernate Runtime and Teneo EMF Hibernate SDK, version 1.0.3
  5. Cick Finish
  6. You most probably will be asked to restart Eclipse.

Create a target definition that includes Hibernate and HSQLDB

In order to keep things simple, we will store the data in an HSQLDB database. We will use the Hibernate OR Mapper to perform the mapping between your data objects and the database. As you might guess, quite a number of libraries will be involved to get the task accomplished. Instead of creating a bunch of plug-in projects containing the respective libraries, or - even worse - copying all libraries into our project, we'll set up a target definition. Target definitions help to maintain a common set of dependencies for all developers on a team, which is a Good Thing.

  1. Create a new project (File -> New -> Project... -> General -> Project)
  2. Create three folders in this project: hibernate, dependencies, hsqldb
  3. Go to the SpringSource Bundle Repository and download the following OSGi bundles:
    filesave in folder
  4. Create a new target definition in this project (File -> New -> Other... -> Plug-in Development -> Target Definition)
  5. Open the target definition and add the three directories to it's contents. As the GUI does not allow you to work with relative paths, you might consider to use a text editor to paste the following text:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <?pde version="3.5"?>
    <target description="Teneo-related stuff, mostly Hibernate" name="Library Target Definition">
            <location path="${eclipse_home}" type="Profile"/>
            <location path="${workspace_loc}/" type="Directory"/>
            <location path="${workspace_loc}/" type="Directory"/>
            <location path="${workspace_loc}/" type="Directory"/>
  6. Open the target definition in the Target Definition Editor and click on the Set as Target Platform hyperlink in the upper right area. This will activate the target definition. All contained bundles are now available and can be referenced as dependencies.

Create a model for your data

The data model will be based on the well-known library tutorial that ships with EMF. If you are interested in a more in-depth look, I recommend taking this tutorial. However, to shortcut things, here is the ultra-slim version of the EMF-Tutorial:

  1. Download the Rose class model and save it on your computer
  2. Create a new EMF project (File -> New -> Other... -> Eclipse Modeling Framework -> EMF Project)
    • Project name: library
    • Model importer: Rose class model
    • Browse to the Rose class model library.mdl mentioned before
    • Click on Load to load the model
    • Click Next, then Finish
  3. In the library.genmodel editor, right-click on the Library node and select Generate Model Code

Create the library main application

In order to demonstrate how to use the data model and how to perform CRUD operations with your data, we will create a simple Java class. In the good spirit of encapsulation and components, we will create a new plug-in project to host this class:

  1. Create a new Plug-in project library.main (File -> New -> Project... -> Plug-in Project)
  2. Open the manifest and add the following dependencies:
    • library (this is the bundle which contains our data model)
    • org.eclipse.emf.teneo.hibernate
    • org.eclipse.emf.ecore.xmi
    • com.springsource.javax.transaction
    • com.springsource.antlr
  3. Create a new Hibernate configuration file in library.main/src and paste the following lines:
    # use the following line to run the embedded db:
    # hibernate.connection.url=jdbc:hsqldb:file:/some/path/on/your/computer/dbname
    # the following line will connect to a standalone (local) DB server:

Implement the library main application

With all the boilerplate in place, we're finally ready to write some code. We will create a new class and add some code to create an author and his book and store both in a library.

  1. Create a new class LibraryDemo, making sure it has a main method
  2. In order to use Teneo to persist our data, we first need to create a datastore and register our model package with it:
        // create the data store
        String dataStoreName = "LibraryDataStore";
        HbDataStore dataStore = HbHelper.INSTANCE.createRegisterDataStore(dataStoreName);
        // register the model package with the data store
        dataStore.setEPackages(new EPackage[] { LibraryPackage.eINSTANCE });
        // initialize the data store, which creates the tables
  3. Next, we need to get hold of a session factory and request a new session form it:
        SessionFactory sessionFactory = dataStore.getSessionFactory();
            Session session = sessionFactory.openSession();
  4. Now, let's create a new library and save it to the session:
            // create a library
            Library library = LibraryFactory.eINSTANCE.createLibrary();
            library.setName("Developer's bookshelf");
            // store the library
  5. In the following part, we will create an author and his book, link them to each other and add them to the library. There is no specific Teneo aspect to this part of the code, it is just straightforward usage of the API EMF generated for your datamodel:
            // create an author
            Writer writer = LibraryFactory.eINSTANCE.createWriter();
            writer.setName("A. K. Dewdney");
            // create a book
            Book book = LibraryFactory.eINSTANCE.createBook();
            book.setTitle("The New Turing Omnibus");
            book.setCategory(BookCategory.MYSTERY); // oh well, let's hope it's not mystery to most readers!
            // add book and writer to library
  6. Finally, we need to commit our changes to the database and close the session:
            // commit changes to the database and close the session

Start the DB server and run the application

  1. Open a command line and navigate to the directory that contains hsqldb.jar
  2. Start the HSQLDB server using this command line:
    java -cp org.hsqldb.Server -database.0 file:library -dbname.0 library
  3. Finally (!) go back to Eclipse and start LibraryDemo. You should get an output similar to this one:
    Mar 6, 2009 1:50:26 PM org.eclipse.emf.teneo.hibernate.HbHelper createRegisterDataStore
    INFO: Creating emf data store and registering it under name: LibraryDataStore
    Mar 6, 2009 1:50:28 PM org.hibernate.tool.hbm2ddl.SchemaUpdate execute
    INFO: schema update complete
  4. To actually see the data stored in the database, navigate to the directory containing the database and open library.log:
    INSERT INTO "library" VALUES(1,'Library',0,'Developer''s bookshelf')
    INSERT INTO "writer" VALUES(1,'Writer',0,'A. K. Dewdney',NULL,NULL,'Library','1',-2)
    INSERT INTO "book" VALUES(1,'Book',0,'The New Turing Omnibus',480,'Mystery',1,NULL,NULL,'Library','1',-3)
    DELETE FROM "writer" WHERE E_ID=1
    INSERT INTO "writer" VALUES(1,'Writer',0,'A. K. Dewdney',1,0,'Library','1',-2)
    INSERT INTO "book" VALUES(1,'Book',0,'The New Turing Omnibus',480,'Mystery',1,1,0,'Library','1',-3)
    INSERT INTO "writer_books" VALUES(1,1,0)

In the next installment, I will show you how to retrieve objects from the database and query the database using Hibernate Query Language (HQL).


Published at DZone with permission of Peter Friese, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Andrew McVeigh replied on Mon, 2009/03/09 - 6:22am

Hi Peter,

Thanks for the article.

For my own project, I wrote a EMF-JDO mapping several years ago.  The main issue was that EMF seemed to often need to do a reverse lookup in memory for things like deletes etc.  This placed heavy constraints on my architecture at the time, so I rejigged the deletion etc not to require this.

Do you know if this is still the case?  How does Teneo solve this problem?



Andy Jefferson replied on Mon, 2009/03/09 - 6:29am

Teneo has also had a JPOX mapper for many years. One day Martin (Taal) will update it for DataNucleus.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.