The Java EE 5 Tutorial

Bean-Managed Transactions

In bean-managed transaction demarcation, the code in the session or message-driven bean explicitly marks the boundaries of the transaction. Although beans with container-managed transactions require less coding, they have one limitation: When a method is executing, it can be associated with either a single transaction or no transaction at all. If this limitation will make coding your bean difficult, you should consider using bean-managed transactions.

The following pseudocode illustrates the kind of fine-grained control you can obtain with application-managed transactions. By checking various conditions, the pseudocode decides whether to start or stop different transactions within the business method.

begin transaction
	update table-a
	if (condition-x)
   commit transaction
	else if (condition-y)
   update table-b
   commit transaction
   rollback transaction
   begin transaction
   update table-c
   commit transaction

When coding a application-managed transaction for session or message-driven beans, you must decide whether to use JDBC or JTA transactions. The sections that follow discuss both types of transactions.

JTA Transactions

JTA is the abbreviation for the Java Transaction API. This API allows you to demarcate transactions in a manner that is independent of the transaction manager implementation. The Application Server implements the transaction manager with the Java Transaction Service (JTS). But your code doesn’t call the JTS methods directly. Instead, it invokes the JTA methods, which then call the lower-level JTS routines.

A JTA transaction is controlled by the Java EE transaction manager. You may want to use a JTA transaction because it can span updates to multiple databases from different vendors. A particular DBMS’s transaction manager may not work with heterogeneous databases. However, the Java EE transaction manager does have one limitation: it does not support nested transactions. In other words, it cannot start a transaction for an instance until the preceding transaction has ended.

To demarcate a JTA transaction, you invoke the begin, commit, and rollback methods of the javax.transaction.UserTransaction interface.

Returning without Committing

In a stateless session bean with bean-managed transactions, a business method must commit or roll back a transaction before returning. However, a stateful session bean does not have this restriction.

In a stateful session bean with a JTA transaction, the association between the bean instance and the transaction is retained across multiple client calls. Even if each business method called by the client opens and closes the database connection, the association is retained until the instance completes the transaction.

In a stateful session bean with a JDBC transaction, the JDBC connection retains the association between the bean instance and the transaction across multiple calls. If the connection is closed, the association is not retained.

Methods Not Allowed in Bean-Managed Transactions

Do not invoke the getRollbackOnly and setRollbackOnly methods of the EJBContext interface in bean-managed transactions. These methods should be used only in container-managed transactions. For bean-managed transactions, invoke the getStatus and rollback methods of the UserTransaction interface.