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Programming Google App Engine with Java by Dan Sanderson

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Chapter 10. The Java Persistence API

The App Engine Java SDK includes implementations of two data access interface standards: the Java Persistence API (JPA) and Java Data Objects (JDO). These interfaces provide two essential features.

For one, these interfaces define a mechanism for describing the structure of data objects in terms of Java classes. You can use them to define and enforce consistent data schemas on top of App Engine’s schemaless datastore, and take advantage of type safety in the Java language. These interfaces serve as a data modeling layer.

The interfaces also serve as a portability layer to other data storage solutions. Relational databases and other key-value stores support these interface standards, in varying degrees. Because the standards were developed with SQL-based relational databases in mind, the App Engine datastore can only be said to support a portion of the standard, and it is often easier to port away from App Engine than to it. But this alone adds value, as you can reserve the right to move your app to your company’s own servers at any time.

The App Engine SDK uses an open source product called DataNucleus Access Platform as the basis for its implementations of JDO and JPA. Access Platform uses an adapter layer that translates both standards to an underlying implementation. The App Engine SDK includes an Access Platform adapter based on its low-level datastore API.

The JDO and JPA standards are similar, and share similar roots. The concepts that ...

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