Chapter 11. Remote and Offline Operation

11.1. Detach and Attach
11.2. Remote Managers
11.3. Remote Event Notification Framework

The standard JPA and JDO runtime environments are local and online. They are local in that components such as EntityManagers, PersistenceManagers, and queries connect directly to the datastore and execute their actions in the same JVM as the code using them. They are online in that changes to managed objects take place in the context of an active EntityManager or PersistenceManager. These two properties, combined with the fact that managers cannot be serialized for storage or network transfer, make the standard JPA and JDO runtimes difficult to incorporate into some enterprise and client/server program designs.

Kodo extends the standard runtime to add remote and offline capabilities in the form of enhanced Detach and Attach APIs, Remote Managers, and Remote Commit Events. The following sections explain these capabilities in detail.

11.1. Detach and Attach

The JPA Overview describes JPA's standard detach and attach APIs in Chapter 8, EntityManager. The JDO Overview does the same for JDO in Section 8.7, “Detach and Attach Functionality”. This section enumerates Kodo's enhancements to the standard behavior.

11.1.1. Detach Behavior

In JPA, objects detach automatically when they are serialized or when a persistence context ends. The specification does not define any way to explicitly detach objects. The extended KodoEntityManager, however, allows you to explicitly detach objects at any time.

public Object detach (Object pc):
public Object[] detachAll (Object... pcs):
public Collection detachAll (Collection pcs):

Each detach method returns detached copies of the given instances. The copy mechanism is similar to serialization, except that only certain fields are traversed. We will see how to control which fields are detached in a later section.

When detaching an instance that has been modified in the current transaction (and thus made dirty), the current transaction is flushed. This means that when subsequently re-attaching the detached instances, Kodo assumes that the transaction from which they were originally detached was committed; if it has been rolled back, then the re-attachment process will throw an optimistic concurrency exception.

You can stop Kodo from assuming the transaction will commit by invoking setRollbackOnly prior to detaching your objects. Setting the RollbackOnly flag prevents Kodo from flushing when detaching dirty objects; instead Kodo just runs its pre-flush actions (see the KodoEntityManager.preFlush or KodoPersistenceManager.preFlush Javadoc for details).

This allows you to use the same instances in multiple attach/modify/detach/rollback cycles. Alternatively, you might also prevent a flush by making your modifications outside of a transaction (with NontransactionalWrite enabled) before detaching.

11.1.2. Attach Behavior

When attaching, Kodo uses several strategies to determine the optimal way to merge changes made to the detached instance. As you will see, these strategies can even be used to attach changes made to a transient instance which was never detached in the first place.

  • If the instance was detached and detached state is enabled, Kodo will use the detached state to determine the object's version and primary key values. In addition, this state will tell Kodo which fields were loaded at the time of detach, and in turn where to expect changes. Loaded detached fields with null values will set the attached instance's corresponding fields to null.

  • If the instance has an application visible version field, Kodo will consider the object detached if the version field has a non-default value, and new otherwise.

    When attaching null fields in these cases, Kodo cannot distinguish between a field that was unloaded and one that was intentionally set to null. In this case, Kodo will use the current detach state setting to determine how to handle null fields: fields that would have been included in the detached state are treated as loaded, and will in turn set the corresponding attached field to null.

  • If neither of the above cases apply, Kodo will check to see if an instance with the same primary key values exists in the database. If so, the object is considered detached. Otherwise, it is considered new.

These strategies will be assigned on a per-instance basis, such that during the attachment of an object graph more than one of the above strategies may be used.

If you attempt to attach a versioned instance whose representation has changed in the datastore since detachment, Kodo will throw an optimistic concurrency exception upon commit or flush, just as if a normal optimistic conflict was detected. When attaching an instance whose database record has been deleted since detaching, or when attaching a detached instance into a manager that has a stale version of the object, Kodo will throw an optimistic concurrency exception from the attach method. In these cases, Kodo sets the RollbackOnly flag on the transaction.

11.1.3. Defining the Detached Object Graph

When detached objects lose their association with the Kodo runtime, they also lose the ability to load additional state from the datastore. It is important, therefore, to populate objects with all the persistent state you will need before detaching them. While you are free to do this manually, Kodo includes facilities for automatically populating objects when they detach. The kodo.DetachState configuration property determines which fields and relations are detached by default. All settings are recursive. They are:

  1. loaded: Detach all fields and relations that are already loaded, but don't include unloaded fields in the detached graph. This is the default.

  2. fgs: Detach all fields and relations in the default fetch group, and any other fetch groups that you have added to the current fetch configuration. For more information on custom fetch groups, see Section 5.6, “Fetch Groups”.

  3. all: Detach all fields and relations. Be very careful when using this mode; if you have a highly-connected domain model, you could end up bringing every object in the database into memory!

Any field that is not included in the set determined by the detach mode is set to its Java default value in the detached instance.

The kodo.DetachState option is actually a plugin string (see Section 2.5, “Plugin Configuration”) that allows you to also configure the following options related to detached state:

  • DetachedStateField: As described in Section 11.1.2, “Attach Behavior” above, Kodo can take advantage of a detached state field to make the attach process more efficient. This field is added by the enhancer and is not visible to your application. Set this property to one of the following values:

    • transient: Use a transient detached state field. This gives the benefits of a detached state field to local objects that are never serialized, but retains serialization compatibility for client tiers without access to the enhanced versions of your classes. This is the default.

    • true: Use a non-transient detached state field so that objects crossing serialization barriers can still be attached efficiently. This requires, however, that your client tier have the enhanced versions of your classes and the Kodo libraries.

    • false: Do not use a detached state field.

    You can override the setting of this property or declare your own detached state field on individual classes using Kodo's metadata extensions. See Section, “Detached State Field” below.

  • DetachedStateManager: Whether to use a detached state manager. A detached state manager makes attachment much more efficient. Like a detached state field, however, it breaks serialization compatibility with the unenhanced class if it isn't transient.

    This setting piggybacks on the DetachedStateField setting above. If your detached state field is transient, the detached state manager will also be transient. If the detached state field is disabled, the detached state manager will also be disabled. This is typically what you'll want. By setting DetachedStateField to true (or transient) and setting this property to false, however, you can use a detached state field without using a detached state manager. This may be useful for debugging or for legacy Kodo users who find differences between Kodo's behavior with a detached state manager and Kodo's older behavior without one.

  • AccessUnloaded: Whether to allow access to unloaded fields of detached objects. Defaults to true. Set to false to throw an exception whenever an unloaded field is accessed. This option is only available when you use detached state managers, as determined by the settings above.

Example 11.1. Configuring Detached State

JPA XML format:

<property name="kodo.DetachState" value="fgs(DetachedStateField=true)"/>

JDO properties format:

kodo.DetachState: fgs(DetachStateFielded=true)

You can also alter the set of fields that will be included in the detached graph at runtime. KodoEntityManagers expose the following APIs for controlling detached state:

public static final int DETACH_LOADED;
public static final int DETACH_FGS;
public static final int DETACH_ALL;
public int getDetachState ();
public void setDetachState (int mode);

The JDO FetchPlan expose the following APIs for controlling detached state:

public static final int DETACH_LOAD_FIELDS;
public static final int DETACH_UNLOAD_FIELDS;
public int getDetachmentOptions ();
public void setDetachmentOptions (int options);

The JDO Overview covers these APIs in Chapter 12, FetchPlan. In addition, the The KodoFetchPlan extension adds another option flag for detaching all fields:

public static final int DETACH_ALL_FIELDS; Detached State Field

When the detached state field is enabled, the Kodo enhancer adds an additional field to the enhanced version of your class. This field of type Object. Kodo uses this field for bookkeeping information, such as the versioning data needed to detect optimistic concurrency violations when the object is re-attached.

It is possible to define this detached state field yourself. Declaring this field in your class metadata prevents the enhancer from adding any extra fields to the class, and keeps the enhanced class serialization-compatible with the unenhanced version. The detached state field must not be persistent. See Section, “Detached State” for details on how to declare a detached state field.


import kodo.persistence.*;

public class Magazine
    implements Serializable
    private String name;
    @DetachedState private Object state;


public class Magazine
    implements Serializable
    private String name;
    private Object detachedState;

<?xml version="1.0"?>
  <package name="org.mag">
    <class name="Magazine" detachable="true">
      <extension vendor-name="kodo" key="detached-state-field"

11.1.4. Automatic Detachment

The JPA Overview describes JPA's automatic detach behavior in Section 7.3, “Persistence Context”. We describe Kodo's options for automatic detach in JDO below.

Detachable JDO objects automatically detach when they are serialized. Kodo expands this automatic detach behavior with optional automatic detachment on various events: close, commit, and non-transactional read. On each configured event, all managed objects in the PersistenceManager cache become detached. Non-detachable objects become transient.

  • close: Detach all objects when the PersistenceManager closes.

  • commit: Detach all objects when a transaction ends.

  • nontx-read: Reads outside of a transaction will automatically detach instances before returning them.

By using the proper set of these options, you can avoid unnecessary detach calls in your code. Some common use cases for this functionality are:

  • Client/Server applications with short-lived PersistenceManagers. Clients request objects from the server, who returns detached instances which can be modified and manipulated without a local PersistenceManager . Changes can then be re-attached later through the server.

  • Servlets and JSPs. A very common pattern in servlet and JSP architectures is to allocate a PersistenceManager at the beginning of a web request, then close it at the end of the request. You can store detached instances between requests in the HTTP session, to maintain changes to an object over several pages for example.

  • Session Beans. These beans can return a portion of the object graph which remain valid no matter what tier the bean is being called from.

No automatic detachment is performed in JDO by default. You can turn on automatic detachment at runtime through the KodoPersistenceManager.setDetachAllOn* methods. You can also set detach detachment triggers with the kodo.AutoDetach configuration property:

kodo.AutoDetach: close, commit, nontx-read


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