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How to implement HttpSessionListener

The HttpSessionListenerinterface is used to monitor when sessions are created and destroyed on the application server. Its best practical use would be to track session use statistics for a server. To receive notification events, the implementation class must be configured in the deployment descriptor for the web application. This entry points the server to a class that will be called when a session is created or destroyed. The entry required is simple. All you need is a listener and listener-class element in the following format. The listener-class element must be a fully qualified class name.


The HttpSessionListenerinterface has two methods:

  • public void sessionCreated(HttpSessionEvent se) : Notification that a session was created.
  • public void sessionDestroyed(HttpSessionEvent se) : Notification that a session is about to be invalidated.

The following example demonstrates how these methods may be used:

package com.test.mypackage;
import javax.servlet.*;
import javax.servlet.http.*;
import java.util.Date;

public class MyHttpSessionListener implements HttpSessionListener
    public void sessionCreated(HttpSessionEvent se)
        HttpSession session = se.getSession();
        System.out.print(getTime() + " (session) Created:");
        System.out.println("ID=" + session.getId() + " MaxInactiveInterval="
 + session.getMaxInactiveInterval());
    public void sessionDestroyed(HttpSessionEvent se)
        HttpSession session = se.getSession();
        // session has been invalidated and all session data
//(except Id)is no longer available
        System.out.println(getTime() + " (session) Destroyed:ID="
+ session.getId());
    private String getTime()
        return new Date(System.currentTimeMillis()).toString();

There is no distinct difference between session timeout and session invalidation from the perspective of the session object. Other HttpSession API methods may be used to determine timeout and invalidation values. The HttpSessionListener and HttpSessionAttributeListener is defined in <listener> in your web.xml file. They are “application-wide”, they manage all the session in your web-application! And they are instanticated by your web-container. Even if your session attribute implements HttpSessionListener or HttpSessionAttributeListener, but you do not define that in web.xml, there is NO HttpSessionListener or HttpSessionAttributeListener instance in your web-application at all! (If you just create an HttpSessionListener instance by your own, it won’t work because your web-application does not know at all, it only checks the web.xml).

Some Useful Hibernate Interview questions with answers

Q1. How will you configure Hibernate?


The configuration files hibernate.cfg.xml (or and mapping files *.hbm.xml are used by the Configuration class to create (i.e. configure and bootstrap hibernate) the SessionFactory, which in turn creates the Session instances. Session instances are the primary interface for the persistence service.

hibernate.cfg.xml (alternatively can use These two files are used to configure the hibernate sevice (connection driver class, connection URL, connection username, connection password, dialect etc). If both files are present in the classpath then hibernate.cfg.xml file overrides the settings found in the file.

Mapping files (*.hbm.xml): These files are used to map persistent objects to a relational database. It is the best practice to store each object in an individual mapping file (i.e mapping file per class) because storing large number of persistent classes into one mapping file can be difficult to manage and maintain. The naming convention is to use the same name as the persistent (POJO) class name. For example Account.class will have a mapping file named Account.hbm.xml. Alternatively hibernate annotations can be used as part of your persistent class code instead of the *.hbm.xml files.

Q2. What is a SessionFactory? Is it a thread-safe object?


SessionFactory is Hibernate’s concept of a single datastore and is threadsafe so that many threads can access it concurrently and request for sessions and immutable cache of compiled mappings for a single database. A SessionFactory is usually only built once at startup. SessionFactory should be wrapped in some kind of singleton so that it can be easily accessed in an application code.

SessionFactory sessionFactory = new Configuration().configure().buildSessionfactory();

Q3. What is a Session? Can you share a session object between different theads?


Session is a light weight and a non-threadsafe object (No, you cannot share it between threads) that represents a single unit-of-work with the database. Sessions are opened by a SessionFactory and then are closed when all work is complete. Session is the primary interface for the persistence service. A session obtains a database connection lazily (i.e. only when required). To avoid creating too many sessions ThreadLocal class can be used as shown below to get the current session no matter how many times you make call to the currentSession() method.

public class HibernateUtil {

public static final ThreadLocal local = new ThreadLocal();

public static Session currentSession() throws HibernateException {
Session session = (Session) local.get();
//open a new session if this thread has no session
if (session == null) {
    session = sessionFactory.openSession();
   return session;

It is also vital that you close your session after your unit of work completes. Note: Keep your Hibernate Session API handy.

Q4. What are the benefits of detached objects?


Detached objects can be passed across layers all the way up to the presentation layer without having to use any DTOs (Data Transfer Objects). You can later on re-attach the detached objects to another session.

Q5. What are the pros and cons of detached objects?



When long transactions are required due to user think-time, it is the best practice to break the long transaction up into two or more transactions. You can use detached objects from the first transaction to carry data all the way up to the presentation layer. These detached objects get modified outside a transaction and later on re-attached to a new transaction via another session.


In general, working with detached objects is quite cumbersome, and better to not clutter up the session with them if possible. It is better to discard them and re-fetch them on subsequent requests. This approach is not only more portable but also more efficient because – the objects hang around in Hibernate’s cache anyway.

Also from pure rich domain driven design perspective it is recommended to use DTOs (DataTransferObjects) and DOs (DomainObjects) to maintain the separation between Service and UI tiers.

Q6. How does Hibernate distinguish between transient (i.e. newly instantiated) and detached objects?


” Hibernate uses the version property, if there is one.
” If not uses the identifier value. No identifier value means a new object. This does work only for Hibernate managed surrogate keys. Does not work for natural keys and assigned (i.e. not managed by Hibernate) surrogate keys.
” Write your own strategy with Interceptor.isUnsaved().

Q7. What is the difference between the session.get() method and the session.load() method?


Both the session.get(..) and session.load() methods create a persistent object by loading the required object from the database. But if there was not such object in the database then the method session.load(..) throws an exception whereas session.get(&) returns null.

Q8. What is the difference between the session.update() method and the session.lock() method?


Both of these methods and saveOrUpdate() method are intended for reattaching a detached object. The session.lock() method simply reattaches the object to the session without checking or updating the database on the assumption that the database in sync with the detached object. It is the best practice to use either session.update(..) or session.saveOrUpdate(). Use session.lock() only if you are absolutely sure that the detached object is in sync with your detached object or if it does not matter because you will be overwriting all the columns that would have changed later on within the same transaction.

Note: When you reattach detached objects you need to make sure that the dependent objects are reatched as well.

Q9. How would you reatach detached objects to a session when the same object has already been loaded into the session?


You can use the session.merge() method call.

Q10. What are the general considerations or best practices for defining your Hibernate persistent classes?


1.You must have a default no-argument constructor for your persistent classes and there should be getXXX() (i.e accessor/getter) and setXXX( i.e. mutator/setter) methods for all your persistable instance variables.

2.You should implement the equals() and hashCode() methods based on your business key and it is important not to use the id field in your equals() and hashCode() definition if the id field is a surrogate key (i.e. Hibernate managed identifier). This is because the Hibernate only generates and sets the field when saving the object.

3. It is recommended to implement the Serializable interface. This is potentially useful if you want to migrate around a multi-processor cluster.

4.The persistent class should not be final because if it is final then lazy loading cannot be used by creating proxy objects.

5.Use XDoclet tags for generating your *.hbm.xml files or Annotations (JDK 1.5 onwards), which are less verbose than *.hbm.xml files.

How Class.forName(“…”) works

When we create an instance of a class using new operator, it does two things

1. Load the class in to memory, if it is not loaded –
which means creating in-memory representation of the class from the .class file so that an instance can be created out of it. This includes initializing static variables (resolving of that class)
2. create an instance of that class and store the reference to the variable.

Class.forName does only the first thing.
It loads the class in to memory and return that reference as an instance of Class. If we want to create an instance then, we can call newInstance method of that class. which will invoke the default constructor (no argument constructor).
Note that if the default constructor is not accessible, then newInstance method will throw an IllegalAccessException. and if the class is an abstract class or interface or it does not have a default constructor, then it will throw an InstantiationException. If any exception araises during resolving of that class, it will throw an ExceptionInInitializerError.

If the default constructor is not defined, then we have to invoke the defiend constructor using reflection API.

But the main advantage with Class.forName is, it can accept the class name as a String argument. So we can pass the class name dynamically. But if we create an instance of a class using new operator, the class name can’t be changed dynamically.

Class.forName() inturn will call loadClass method of the caller ClassLoader (ClassLoder of the class from where Class.forName is invoked).

By default, the Class.forName() resolve that class. which means, initialize all static variables inside that class.
same can be changed using the overloaded method of Class.forName(String name,boolean initialize,ClassLoader loader)

The main reason for loading jdbc driver using Class.forName() is, the driver can change dynamically.
in the static block all Drivers will create an instance of itself and register that class with DriverManager using DriverManager.registerDriver() method. Since the Class.forName(String className) by default resolve the class, it will initialize the static initializer.
So when we call Class.forName(“com.sun.jdbc.odbc.JdbcOdbcDriver”),
the Driver class will be loaded, instantiated and registers with DriverManager

So if you are using new Operator you have to do the following things.

Driver drv = new com.sun.jdbc.odbc.JdbcOdbcDriver();

Major Difference Between StringBuffer and StringBuilder

StringBuffer and StringBuilder have the same methods with one difference and that’s of synchronization. StringBuffer is synchronized( which means it is thread safe and hence you can use it when you implement threads for your methods) whereas StringBuilder is not synchronized( which implies it isn’t thread safe).

So, if you aren’t going to use threading then use the StringBuilder class as it’ll be more efficient than StringBuffer due to the absence of synchronization.

Difference between String and StringBuffer Class

Java provides the StringBuffer and String classes, and the String class is used to manipulate character strings that cannot be changed. Simply stated, objects of type String are read only and immutable. The StringBuffer class is used to represent characters that can be modified.

The significant performance difference between these two classes is that StringBuffer is faster than String when performing simple concatenations. In String manipulation code, character strings are routinely concatenated. Using the String class, concatenations are typically performed as follows:

String str = new String ("Nirmal ");
str += "Jatania!!";

If you were to use StringBuffer to perform the same concatenation, you would need code that looks like this:

StringBuffer str = new StringBuffer ("Nirmal ");

Programmers usually assume that the first example above is more efficient (Just like me before some days !!!) because they think that the second example, which uses the append method for concatenation, is more costly than the first example, which uses the + operator to concatenate two String objects.

The + operator appears innocent, but the code generated produces some surprises. Using a StringBuffer for concatenation can in fact produce code that is significantly faster than using a String. To discover why this is the case, we must examine the generated bytecode from our two examples. The bytecode for the example using String looks like this:

0 new #7
3 dup
4 ldc #2
6 invokespecial #12
9 astore_1
10 new #8
13 dup
14 aload_1
15 invokestatic #23
18 invokespecial #13
21 ldc #1
23 invokevirtual #15
26 invokevirtual #22
29 astore_1

The bytecode at locations 0 through 9 is executed for the first line of code, namely:
String str = new String("Nirmal ");

Then, the bytecode at location 10 through 29 is executed for the concatenation:

str += "Jatania!!";

Things get interesting here. The bytecode generated for the concatenation creates a StringBuffer object, then invokes its append method: the temporary StringBuffer object is created at location 10, and its append method is called at location 23. Because the String class is immutable, a StringBuffer must be used for concatenation.

After the concatenation is performed on the StringBuffer object, it must be converted back into a String. This is done with the call to the toString method at location 26. This method creates a new String object from the temporary StringBuffer object. The creation of this temporary StringBuffer object and its subsequent conversion back into a String object are very expensive.

In summary, the two lines of code above result in the creation of three objects:

A String object at location 0
A StringBuffer object at location 10
A String object at location 26

Now, let’s look at the bytecode generated for the example using StringBuffer:

0 new #8
3 dup
4 ldc #2
6 invokespecial #13
9 astore_1
10 aload_1
11 ldc #1
13 invokevirtual #15
16 pop

The bytecode at locations 0 to 9 is executed for the first line of code:
StringBuffer str = new StringBuffer(“Nirmal “);

The bytecode at location 10 to 16 is then executed for the concatenation:

Notice that, as is the case in the first example, this code invokes the append method of a StringBuffer object. Unlike the first example, however, there is no need to create a temporary StringBuffer and then convert it into a String object. This code creates only one object, the StringBuffer, at location 0.

In conclusion, StringBuffer concatenation is significantly faster than String concatenation. Obviously, StringBuffers should be used in this type of operation when possible. If the functionality of the String class is desired, consider using a StringBuffer for concatenation and then performing one conversion to String.

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