Retrieving objects by identifier The following Hibernate code snippet retrieves a User object from the database:
User user = (User) session.get(User.class, userID);
The get() method is special because the identifier uniquely identifies a single instance of a class. Hence it’s common for applications to use the identifier as a convenient handle to a persistent object. Retrieval by identifier can use the cache when retrieving an object, avoiding a database hit if the object is already cached. Hibernate also provides a load() method:
User user = (User) session.load(User.class, userID);
The load() method is older; get() was added to Hibernate’s API due to user request. The difference is trivial:
If load() can’t find the object in the cache or database, an exception is thrown. The load() method never returns null. The get() method returns null if the object can’t be found.
The load() method may return a proxy instead of a real persistent instance. A proxy is a placeholder that triggers the loading of the real object when it’s accessed for the first time; On the other hand, get() never returns a proxy. Choosing between get() and load() is easy: If you’re certain the persistent object exists, and nonexistence would be considered exceptional, load() is a good option. If you aren’t certain there is a persistent instance with the given identifier, use get() and test the return value to see if it’s null. Using load() has a further implication: The application may retrieve a valid reference (a proxy) to a persistent instance without hitting the database to retrieve its persistent state. So load() might not throw an exception when it doesn’t find the persistent object in the cache or database; the exception would be thrown later, when the proxy is accessed. Of course, retrieving an object by identifier isn’t as flexible as using arbitrary queries.