JPA: Small Mysteries

July 13, 2011

The Java Persistance API (POJO) handles the mapping between Java objects and data in a relational database. A few quick annotations of our Java class and the instances can be persisted to the database with a couple of lines of code. A couple of lines of Java Persistence Query Language and we can retrieve some of those instances with not a line of JDBC code in sight. All very good stuff, and there’s a great deal of cleverness down the in the various available  implementation layers to make this perform well. As we might expect there are a few wrinkles to hinder the unwary. This article lists a few mysterious error messages I encountered when using the OpenJPA implementation that caused much head-scratching when first seen and the annoyingly simple resolutions of these problems.

My development environment is Rational Application Developer 8.0.1, using a WebSphere 8 runtime and the OpenJPA implementation delivered with these products.

The RAD 8.0.1 tooling allows me to create the annotated Java classes corresponding to an existing database schema with a few mouse clicks. So developing the application took about an hour and then I hit a couple of problems, the first happened when I tried to run my app: I got a a complaint about a Connection Driver.


The error says 

A JDBC Driver or DataSource class name must be specified in the ConnectionDriverName property

The stack trace doesn’t give much more of a hint, we can see it’s when JPA is trying to get a connection to the database, but why is it failing?

[13/07/11 07:33:03:453 BST] 00000020 BusinessExcep E   CNTR0020E: EJB threw an unexpected (non-declared) exception during invocation of method "findRigByPK" on bean "BeanId(OuiServiceApp#OuiServiceWeb.war#RigEjb, null)". Exception data: <openjpa-2.1.0-SNAPSHOT-r422266:990238 fatal user error> org.apache.openjpa.persistence.ArgumentException: A JDBC Driver or DataSource class name must be specified in the ConnectionDriverName property.
    at org.apache.openjpa.jdbc.schema.DataSourceFactory.newDataSource(
    at org.apache.openjpa.jdbc.conf.JDBCConfigurationImpl.createConnectionFactory(
    at org.apache.openjpa.jdbc.conf.JDBCConfigurationImpl.getDBDictionaryInstance(
    at org.apache.openjpa.jdbc.meta.MappingRepository.endConfiguration(

After some fruitless searching for where I might specify a JDBC Driver I thought to check my persistence.xml file. In there was the line


and I had no corresponding JDBC datasource created in my WebSphere Application Server.

So, one quick trip to the WebSphere console, create the Data Source with the JNDI entry jdbc/myapp and everything works.

Or at least for a while, then we began to see a peculiar error concerning Enhancement.

My Entities Lack Enhancement

The symptom was seen when testing in the WebSphere 8 test environment in RAD 8.0.1, I make some changes, my revised application would be published to WebSphere and when I try to run I see an errror on the lines of:

The type "class Rig" has not been enhanced at org.apache.openjpa.meta.ClassMetaData.resolveMeta

The meaning of this is reasonably clear: we know that OpenJPA performs some interesting processing, or Enhancement, on the annotated Entity classes. Different JPA implementations do different things as described in this Enhancement discussion but OpenJPA does some “byte weaving”. And for my classes this hasn’t happened.

Now it seems that there are many way to control Enhancement explicitly, see This article for some explanation. But I’d never needed to do this before, and I really didn’t want to introduce needless complexity.

So being a software person (you all know the jokes about physicists, engineers and software chaps in road accidents?) my immediate reaction was “it’s broken, lets see if it happens again!”. And what do you know it didn’t!

So my recipe for recovering from this problem: in RAD, Server View, expand your server, select the application, and restart it. This seems to provoke enhancement. No compile or server restart needed. This recipe seems to work reliably.

I then proceeded to expand my database, adding a few new simple tables and did some manual mapping of those tables. All seemed pretty easy until I hit another mysterious error message:

Wrong result type column

The error showed up when I was trying to navigate a relationshiop between by two new tables. The error seems quite clear:

Error 500: <openjpa-2.1.0-SNAPSHOT-r422266:990238 fatal general error> org.apache.openjpa.persistence.PersistenceException: [jcc][t4][1092][11643][3.57.82] Invalid data conversion: Wrong result column type for requested conversion. ERRORCODE=-4461, SQLSTATE=42815 FailedObject: [java.lang.String]

Caused by: [jcc][t4][1092][11643][3.57.82] Invalid data conversion: Wrong result column type for requested conversion. ERRORCODE=-4461, SQLSTATE=42815







And so I spent quite some time comparing my Java class attributes and the columns in the corresponding database. The actual problem transpired to be that I had forgotten to add my new classes to the persistence.xml file.


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