Hibernate javassist proxies and `Object#equals`

When providing #equals implementation for a UDT in Java one of the conditions is that the passed argument object must be an instance of the current class otherwise we fail-fast return false see Effective Java (EJ2). However, while using Hibernate 4 we can end up with javassist proxy instances due to lazy loading where this #equals condition will fail. What would be the best choice to overcome this? The few choices I can think of are:

  • extend the equals implementation to take into account the proxy case. Cons: maintainability toll, hardwired dependency to Hibernate proxy infrastructure, hacky, entity or domain models should be agnostic to the ORM being used i.e. since they might be reused in different contexts where there is no need for ORM e.g. Swing UI.
  • check whether it is a proxy before invoking equals. Cons: not always possible, i.e., dealing with Collections and implicit invocations of equals, e.g., Map.
  • Refrain from using lazy loading. Cons: not reasonable nor efficient in all use-cases.

UPDATE

Reviewing EJ2 again I believe that the following will work for all scenarios (Type-Type, Type-Proxy, Proxy-Type and Proxy-Proxy) but as pointed out in one of the comments below it may loop forever if the Type is compared to a totally different type e.g. Person.equals(Employee) and both use the same equals EJ2 criteria.

    if (this.getClass() != anObject.getClass())
    {
        return anObject.equals(this);
    }

Answers


I stumbled on the same problem. The way I fixed is was to change the .equals-method.

@Override
public boolean equals(Object obj) {
    if (this == obj)
        return true;
    if (obj == null)
        return false;
    if (!getClass().isAssignableFrom(obj.getClass()))
        return false;
    AbstractEntity other = (AbstractEntity) obj;
    if (getId() == null) {
        if (other.getId() != null)
            return false;
    } else if (!getId().equals(other.getId()))
        return false;
    return true;

The trick is to not compare the classes to be the same but use the isAssignableFrom-method. The other trick is to not use direct properties (other.id), but use the get-method (other.getId())


I don't have reputation to comment the Willem de Wit answer. Than I need to post a new answer.

To solve the issue of djechelon, you should replace this line:

if (!getClass().isAssignableFrom(obj.getClass()))

for

if ( !obj.getClass().isAssignableFrom(getClass()) && !getClass().isAssignableFrom(obj.getClass()) )

Then you will assure that the equals will work for all scenarios (Type-Type, Type-Proxy, Proxy-Type and Proxy-Proxy).

I don't have reputation to vote up your answer too. I'm so miserable!


You can do two things: 1. Change the equals to use instanceof instead of class equality. The type of the proxy is not equal to the type of the entity, but rather extends the type of the entity.

  1. Unwrap the proxy to get the entity itself (there are several hibernate tools that helps you do that)

The answer by DHansen above is close, but for me (using Hibernate) this solved the issue:

if (!Hibernate.getClass(this).equals(Hibernate.getClass(obj))) { return false; } as suggested by Dr. Hans-Peter Störr

Also it is important to always use 'getters' as suggested by Willem de Wit above.


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