Learning How to Map One-to-Many Relationships in JPA Spring Boot with PostgreSQL



In this blog post, we explore how to effectively map one-to-many relationships using Spring Boot and PostgreSQL. This relationship type is common in database design, where one entity (e.g., a post) can have multiple related entities (e.g., comments). We'll dive into the implementation details with code snippets and provide insights into best practices.

Understanding One-to-Many Relationships

A one-to-many relationship signifies that one entity instance can be associated with multiple instances of another entity. In our case:

  • Post Entity: Represents a blog post with fields such as id, title, content, and a collection of comments.
  • Comment Entity: Represents comments on posts, including fields like id, content, and a reference to the post it belongs to.

Mapping with Spring Boot and PostgreSQL

Let's examine how we define and manage this relationship in our Spring Boot application:

Post Entity 
@Entity @Getter @Setter @Builder @AllArgsConstructor @NoArgsConstructor public class Post { @Id @GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.IDENTITY) private Long id; @NotBlank(message = "Title is mandatory") private String title; @NotBlank(message = "Content is mandatory") private String content; @OneToMany(mappedBy = "post", cascade = CascadeType.ALL, orphanRemoval = true, fetch = FetchType.LAZY) @JsonManagedReference private Set<Comment> comments = new HashSet<>(); // Constructor, methods for adding/removing comments, equals, hashCode }

Comment Entity 
@Entity @Getter @Setter @AllArgsConstructor @NoArgsConstructor public class Comment { @Id @GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.IDENTITY) private Long id; @NotBlank(message = "Content is mandatory") private String content; @ManyToOne(fetch = FetchType.LAZY) @JoinColumn(name = "post_id") @JsonBackReference private Post post; // Constructor, equals, hashCode }

Repository Layer

  • PostRepository: Includes custom queries for fetching posts with associated comments using @EntityGraph.
  • CommentRepository: Provides methods for retrieving comments by post ID and for paginated retrieval with associated post details.

Service Layer

  • PostService: Implements business logic for managing posts, including CRUD operations and relationship management with comments.
  • CommentService: Handles operations related to comments, ensuring proper association with posts.

Controller Layer

  • PostController: Exposes endpoints for creating, fetching, listing, and deleting posts.
  • CommentController: Manages endpoints for creating, fetching by post ID, listing all comments with associated posts paginated, and deleting comments.

API Documentation and Configuration

  • Swagger Integration: Customized Swagger to generate comprehensive API documentation, excluding unnecessary fields like id from DTOs using annotations.


In conclusion, mapping one-to-many relationships in Spring Boot with PostgreSQL involves defining entities, managing relationships with annotations like @OneToMany and @ManyToOne, and ensuring proper integration across layers of the application. This approach promotes efficient data handling and clear separation of concerns, enhancing the maintainability and scalability of the API.

For the complete code and further exploration, check out the GitHub repository here.

This blog post provides a detailed walkthrough of how to effectively map one-to-many relationships in a Spring Boot application, offering practical insights and best practices for developers.


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