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Mastering Hibernate by Ramin Rad

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Association cardinality

Just as relational databases define the cardinality of table relationships, ORM solutions also define the cardinality of entity associations. Before we discuss how to map associations, let's review how associations are created in a relational database. The following are the two types of relationship:

  • Foreign key relationship: You can relate a table to another by declaring a column as a foreign key of the other table. This is typically used for a 1:1 (one-to-one) or a M:1 (many-to-one) relationship. If you make the foreign key column UNIQUE, then you are defining a 1:1 relationship; otherwise, this is M:1. If you make it NULLABLE, then the relationship is optional; that is, 1:0, 1:1, M:0, or M:1.
  • Join table relationship:

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