Click out your JPA model
Stefan Dimov (SAP AG )
We'll talk about a new graphical JPA Diagram Editor for Eclipse IDE meant to create, view, and edit JPA business data diagrams. This editor is based on the new Graphiti project for Eclipse IDE, and it is proposed and approved to be contributed to Eclipse IDE just like Graphiti. This editor will allow the user to create her/his JPA business model with a few clicks and view, store and edit its diagram.
In the 21-st century the computers' capabilities are great enough to justify the users' complaints about the lack of a smooth graphical UI. What this means in the JPA world? Imagine that you have to review a business data model consisting of 10-15 JPA entities, which have been implemented by someone else. You have to review the attributes and annotations of every single entity. If you don't have a diagram, you'll want to draw one - even on a piece of paper. Now, imagine that your model contains 50-100 entities! Imagine that you have to implement them, not only review them! What a comfort would it be to easily, with just of a few clicks, to create a visually accessible diagram of your model!
This new JPA Diagram Editor allows the user to easily create, view, and edit a model with the graphical means of the Graphiti. Creating new entities, attributes, and relations is achievable with a few clicks only. Does the relation owner attribute had to have the 'mappedBy' property or was it the inverse attribute? Who cares! Just pull the string from the owner to the inverse. You can create a diagram from existing model, just like this. We are convinced that JPA developers, which use the Eclipse’s IDE, need such a tool, and they will love it. Developing applications with JPA has never been that easy and pleasant, and the result is a nice clean diagram, instead of (just) complex Java code. Until now, there was no JPA diagram tool in the open source Eclipse IDE. Let's talk about the first one!
Last minute note (Aug, 13, 2010): We are happy to announce that the JPA Diagram Editor project successfully passed the IP review and initial contribution has been made in the WTP Incubator Project. We're planning to release the first stable version of the editor at the end of September, 2010.
For information where you can find the source of the JPA Diagram Editor, please visit the project wiki page. You can see a short demo here.
Stefan Dimov has been with SAP since 2005. For the last three and a half years he has been working in the area of SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio (the SAP’s IDE, which is based on the Eclipse IDE), and is particularly responsible for the Dali Java Persistence Tools plug-ins (developed by SAP for NWDS). He came up with the JPA editor idea two years ago and at first it was implemented as a SAP proprietary technolgy. Now SAP is going to provide it to the Eclipse community. Stefan has been approved as WTP incubator committer and is driving the JPA editor contribution process.