Getting Spring and Hibernate to place nice with WebSphere via JPA is an adventure in trial and error. In this post, I will guide you through what you need to make it work!

Just want the code? Head over to my GitHub at

WebSphere 8.5 Users

Before we get started: WebSphere 8.5 supports JPA 2.0, not JPA 2.1. Be careful not to grab Hibernate JARs for JPA 2.1.

Obtaining Dependencies and Initial Setup

First thing’s first, I grabbed the following dependencies:

  • Hibernate 4.2.17.Final

    • lib/jpa/hibernate-entitymanager-4.2.17.Final.jar
    • lib/required/antlr-2.7.7.jar
    • lib/required/dom4j-1.6.1.jar
    • lib/required/hibernate-commons-annotations-4.0.2.Final.jar
    • lib/required/hibernate-core-4.2.17.Final.jar
    • lib/required/javassist-3.18.1-GA.jar
    • lib/required/jboss-logging-3.1.0.GA.jar
    • WARNING: Do not take the following JARs, they conflict with the APIs built in to WebSphere:

      *   lib/required/hibernate-jpa-2.0-api-1.0.1.Final.jar
      • lib/required/jboss-transaction-api_1.1_spec-1.0.1.Final.jar
  • Spring 4.1.6.RELEASE

    • aopalliance-1.0.jar
    • commons-codec-1.10.jar
    • spring-aop-4.1.6.RELEASE.jar
    • spring-beans-4.1.6.RELEASE.jar
    • spring-context-4.1.6.RELEASE.jar
    • spring-context-support-4.1.6.RELEASE.jar
    • spring-core-4.1.6.RELEASE.jar
    • spring-expression-4.1.6.RELEASE.jar
    • spring-instrument-4.1.6.RELEASE.jar
    • spring-jdbc-4.1.6.RELEASE.jar
    • spring-orm-4.1.6.RELEASE.jar
    • spring-tx-4.1.6.RELEASE.jar
    • spring-web-4.1.6.RELEASE.jar
    • spring-webmvc-4.1.6.RELEASE.jar
  • slf4j (Logging)

    • slf4j-api-1.7.12.jar
    • slf4j-simple-1.7.12.jar (just for the example)
    • jcl-over-slf4j-1.7.12.jar
      Additionally, I setup my application to use PARENT_LAST classloading. This is just something I have gotten used to, so if you have difficulties getting your code to work and you are not in PARENT_LAST, give that a try.

Setting up web.xml

First, add the following for Spring:




Next, I have my datasource bound to jdbc/ExampleDb, and my Persistence Unit name will be Example Unit, so I added:



Don’t forget to bind your data source resource in ibm-web-bnd.xml:

<resource-ref name="jdbc/ExampleDb" binding-name="jdbc/ExampleDb" />

Spring Configuration

The servlet-context.xml has nothing special in it for this example, but the application-context.xml does. It points Spring to the WebSphere UOW Transaction Manager, and references the persistence unit to use:

    <bean id="entityManagerFactory" class="javax.persistence.Persistence" factory-method="createEntityManagerFactory">
        <constructor-arg type="java.lang.String" value="ExampleUnit" />

    <bean id="transactionManager"
        class="org.springframework.transaction.jta.WebSphereUowTransactionManager" />
    <tx:annotation-driven transaction-manager="transactionManager" proxy-target-class="true" />


And lastly, the persistence.xml:

<?xml version=”1.0” encoding=”UTF-8”?>
<persistence xmlns=”
<persistence-unit name=”ExampleUnit” transaction-type=”JTA”>
<property name=”hibernate.dialect” value=”org.hibernate.dialect.PostgreSQLDialect” />
<property name=”hibernate.transaction.factory_class” value=”org.hibernate.transaction.CMTTransactionFactory” />
<property name=”hibernate.transaction.jta.platform” value=”org.hibernate.service.jta.platform.internal.WebSphereExtendedJtaPlatform” />
<property name=”hibernate.transaction.flush_before_completion” value=”true” />
<property name=”hibernate.transaction.auto_close_session” value=”true” />
<property name=”hibernate.temp.use_jdbc_metadata_defaults” value=”false” />
<property name=”hibernate.show_sql” value=”false” />
<property name=”hibernate.query.substitutions” value=”true ‘Y’, false ‘N’” />
<property name=”hibernate.cache.use_second_level_cache” value=”true” />

Here we are doing the following:

  • Setting transaction-type to JTA (Java Transaction API)
  • Setting the JPA Provider to Hibernate
  • Setting the data source to our web component’s ExampleDb
  • Setting Hibernate to use the PostgreSQL dialect
  • Setting Hibernate to use the CMTTransactionFactory for container managed transactions
  • Setting Hibernate to use Webphere’s JTA Platform
  • And so on
    Note that I did have an issue with Hibernate on startup trying to determine type information, which is what hibernate.temp.use_jdbc_metadata_defaults resolved for me. I did not have to set this when using Oracle. This did not used to occur with older versions of Hibernate (e.g. 4.1.9.Final).


WebSphere is now running a Spring MVC web application, leveraging JPA 2.0 and Hibernate! For my full source, checkout GitHub at

WebSphere 7.0 Users

I have had success using Hibernate 4.1.9.Final using the same configuration, though I was using version 1.0 in my persistence.xml. Also, you must place the Hibernate JPA API 2.0 JAR that is included with Hibernate in the lib directory. If you migrate to WebSphere 8.5, you must remove that JAR.

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Settings button

When working in Eclipse or RAD, I immediately start modifying my environment. Here are some of the changes that I make that might improve your day, please feel free to share you own!

Stop the Servers tab from taking over!

Whenever server state changes (e.g. from Stopped to Starting, to Started, to Republish, etc), the Servers tab automatically shoves its way onto your screen because it wants you to know it did something. Great! But if you’re like me, you immediately dismiss it and now you’re a little distracted and a little annoyed. Here’s how to turn it off!

From within Eclipse’s / RAD’s preferences, click Server. Then uncheck “Show Servers view when server state changes.”

2015-03-30 23_31_39-Preferences

Stop the Console tab from taking over!

Now that we stopped the Servers tab, let’s do the same thing for Console! Output is constantly written to the console, and I typically look at it when I want it, and otherwise don’t care. So, go to preferences, expand Run/Debug, and click Console. Then uncheck “Show when program writes to standard out,” and “Show when program writes to standard error.”

2015-03-30 23_31_46-Preferences

Where did my Console output go? And why can’t I scroll up?!

The Console view defaults to limiting its output. This may make it easier to work with, but has the nasty side-effect of dropping important content when you have large stack traces, or multiple stack traces. To turn it off, go to the Console preferences (from above) and uncheck “Limit console output”.

Makes your static imports work in autocomplete! (e.g. JUnit, Mockito, etc.)

UNIT TESTING! Ok, ok, let’s calm down a little. If you write a lot of tests, and you use JUnit, Mockito, EasyMock, etc., or if you happen to use a library that leverages static imports, you are probably tired of manually adding them to your imports list. But, _you don’t have to! _Go to the preferences, expand Java, then Editor, then Content Assist and click Favorites. Then, click “New Type” and type in org.junit.Assert. Eclipse will add org.junit.Assert.* to the favorites list, and now when you are writing your unit tests you can start typing assertEq, hit Control + Space, and it will autocomplete the static import and add it to your class!

2015-03-30 23_36_04-Preferences

Other, more personal editor settings.

These settings are definitely up to personal preference, but in case you want to give them a try here are some other changes I make:

Use Spaces, not Tabs

You should be using Spaces and never tabs**! **_I’m kidding!!! _Since I have no interest in arguing my personal preferences, here is how you make the change in case you want to: open preferences, expand General, expand Editors, and click Text Editors. Then, check “Insert spaces for tabs” (or don’t).

2015-03-30 23_31_07-Preferences

Auto format and auto organize imports on save

Why should I have to worry about constantly re-indenting my code, fixing it up, etc.? My time is better spent doing other things, you know like writing code instead of styling it. So, I set my formatter preferences, then go to preferences, expand Java, then Editor, then click Save Actions. Then I check “Perform the selected actions on save,” “Format source code,” and “Organize imports.” My personal feeling towards this is you will feel much more free if you make the change, if you can live with the formatter settings you choose. Give it a try!

2015-03-30 23_31_24-Preferences

What changes do you make?

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I have been using WebSphere Application Server since 2006, and through that time I have had a blast sharing what I’ve learned with other developers who could benefit from it. So, finding inspiration to put together this blog wasn’t difficult, I only needed a little push and direction.

Then comes John Sonmez ( I had the great opportunity of meeting John at the Pluralsight Author Summit earlier this month and what I found was someone with a passion for helping others. Then I saw he has a free course on how to properly start blogging (at After signing up, you get e-mails from John with instructions, guidance, and even homework to keep you on task.

So please, enjoy the content that I put on my site. And if you would like to start your own blog, check out John’s free course!

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Did you know you can run WebSphere Application Server in development mode, which optimizes it for less powerful hardware and for applications which see frequent updates? It’s actually quite easy, whether you are creating a new profile or working with an exciting one!

Creating a New Profile with the Profile Management Tool

If you are creating a new profile, via the Profile Management Tool (or PMT), just make sure you select these two boxes:

  1. Use the “Advanced profile creation” mode
    2015-03-20 10_57_44-Profile Management Tool 8.5
    This allows you to tweak some very simple settings that you may be interested in, I recommend all people using PMT to create their profiles in this mode.
  2. Switch “Server runtime performance tuning setting” to “Development”
    2015-03-20 11_03_18-Profile Management Tool 8.5
  3. Then just finish the wizard with the settings you want!

Creating a New Profile via the Command Line manageprofiles Tool

For those command-line junkies like myself, creating a new profile via manageprofiles in development is also extremely easy. Simply add this flag to your -create parameter list:


That’s it! To read more about the parameters for manageprofiles, see here.

Modifying a Profile via the WebSphere Admin Console

If you’ve already created your profile, and want to simply enable development mode, simply log into the admin console and change it! It goes like this:

  1. Go to the WebSphere Administrative Console (e.g. http://localhost:9060/ibm/console)
  2. Log in

    1. Tip: If you do not have security enabled, just click Log In
  3. Drill into WebSphere application servers
    2015-03-20 11_08_46-WebSphere Integrated Solutions Console

  4. Drill into your server (e.g. server1)
    2015-03-20 11_09_01-WebSphere Integrated Solutions Console
  5. And check the following boxes:

    1. Run in development mode
    2. Parallel start
    3. Start components as needed
      2015-03-20 11_09_09-WebSphere Integrated Solutions Console
  6. Then click Save, and restart your server!

Modifying a Profile via the Command Line wsadmin Tool

Enabling development mode on an existing server is the most complicated choice, but luckily it is still pretty straight forward. Just follow these steps:

  1. Start your server (via Eclipse/RAD/RSA/Other IDE, or by command line)

    1. To start by command line, open your command prompt
    2. cd into your profile’s bin directory (e.g. C:\Profiles\MyAwesomeProfile\bin)
    3. startServer.bat server1 (or, ./ server1 if you are not on Windows)
  2. With the command prompt in the bin directory (from the above steps), execute the following:

    wsadmin.bat server1
    set server [$AdminConfig getid /Server:server1/]
    $AdminConfig modify $server "{developmentMode true}"
    $AdminConfig modify $server "{parallelStartEnabled true}"
    $AdminConfig save
  3. Then, just restart your server!

    1. Tip: You can use stopServer.bat server1 to do this too (or ./ server1)

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Craig St. Jean

Father, programmer, constant learner, @pluralsight author

Software Architect