It’s a common requirement to configure value-type collections in the entity. In this post I’ll walk you through the steps for configuring the Set of value-type collection. We know Set doesn’t allow duplicate entries so it will be interesting to see how this is managed by the Hibernate. Let’s first add a persistent class which will contain a collection property.

public class Student {

    Long id;
    String firstName;
    String lastName;
    Set<String> classes = new HashSet<String>();

    public Long getId() {
        return id;

    private void setId(Long id) { = id;

    public String getFirstName() {
        return firstName;

    public void setFirstName(String firstName) {
        this.firstName = firstName;

    public String getLastName() {
        return lastName;

    public void setLastName(String lastName) {
        this.lastName = lastName;

    public Set<String> getClasses() {
        return classes;

    public void setClasses(Set<String> classes) {
        this.classes = classes;

and now we add the mapping file for the Student class:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE hibernate-mapping PUBLIC
        "-//Hibernate/Hibernate Mapping DTD 3.0//EN"
<class name="com.jft.prashant.Student" table="STUDENTS">

    <id name="id" column="STUDENT_ID" type="long">
        <generator class="increment"/>

    <property name="firstName" column="STUDENT_FIRST_NAME" type="string" />

    <property name="lastName" column="STUDENT_LAST_NAME" type="string" />

    <set name="classes" table="STUDENT_CLASSES_SET">
        <key column="STUDENT_ID"/>
        <element column="STUDENT_CLASS" not-null="true" type="string" />


element is used to map the Set collection in hibernate. Hibernate creates a collection table where all the elements are persisted. STUDENT_ID will be the foreign key that points to the primary key STUDENT_ID of the STUDENTS table. Hibernate also adds the primary key on STUDENT_CLASSES_SET which is composite of its STUDENT_ID and STUDENT_CLASS columns for avoiding the duplicate entries. That’s all the important gotchas to configuration of value-type Set in a persistent class in Hibernate.