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EJB Interview Questions and Answers

What are Local Interfaces? Describe.
EJB was originally designed around remote invocation using the Java Remote Method Invocation (RMI) mechanism, and later extended to support to standard CORBA transport for these calls using RMI/IIOP. This design allowed for maximum flexibility in developing applications without consideration for the deployment scenario, and was a strong feature in support of a goal of component reuse in J2EE. Many developers are using EJBs locally, that is, some or all of their EJB calls are between beans in a single container. With this feedback in mind, the EJB 2.0 expert group has created a local interface mechanism. The local interface may be defined for a bean during development, to allow streamlined calls to the bean if a caller is in the same container. This does not involve the overhead involved with RMI like marshalling etc. This facility will thus improve the performance of applications in which co-location is planned. Local interfaces also provide the foundation for container-managed relationships among entity beans with container-managed persistence.

What are transaction isolation levels in EJB?
1. Transaction_read_uncommitted- Allows a method to read uncommitted data from a DB(fast but not wise).

2. Transaction_read_committed- Guarantees that the data you are getting has been committed.

3. Transaction_repeatable_read - Guarantees that all reads of the database will be the same during the transaction (good for read and update operations).

4. Transaction_serializable- All the transactions for resource are performed serial.

Can Entity Beans have no create() methods?
Yes. In some cases the data is inserted NOT using Java application, so you may only need to retrieve the information, perform its processing, but not create your own information of this kind.

What is software architecture of EJB?
Session and Entity EJBs consist of 4 and 5 parts respetively:

1. A remote interface (a client interacts with it),

2. A home interface (used for creating objects and for declaring business methods),

3. A bean object (an object, which actually performs business logic and EJB-specific operations).

4. A deployment descriptor (an XML file containing all information required for maintaining the EJB) or a set of deployment descriptors (if you are using some container-specific features).

5.A Primary Key class - is only Entity bean specific.

What are the callback methods in Entity beans?
The bean class defines create methods that match methods in the home interface and business methods that match methods in the remote interface. The bean class also implements a set of callback methods that allow the container to notify the bean of events in its life cycle. The callback methods are defined in the javax.ejb.EntityBean interface that is implemented by all entity beans.The EntityBean interface has the following definition. Notice that the bean class implements these methods.
public interface javax.ejb.EntityBean {
public void setEntityContext();
public void unsetEntityContext();
public void ejbLoad();
public void ejbStore();
public void ejbActivate();
public void ejbPassivate();
public void ejbRemove();

The setEntityContext() method provides the bean with an interface to the container called the EntityContext. The EntityContext interface contains methods for obtaining information about the context under which the bean is operating at any particular moment. The EntityContext interface is used to access security information about the caller; to determine the status of the current transaction or to force a transaction rollback; or to get a reference to the bean itself, its home, or its primary key. The EntityContext is set only once in the life of an entity bean instance, so its reference should be put into one of the bean instanceís fields if it will be needed later.

The unsetEntityContext() method is used at the end of the beanís life cycle before the instance is evicted from memory to dereference the EntityContext and perform any last-minute clean-up.

The ejbLoad() and ejbStore() methods in CMP entities are invoked when the entity beanís state is being synchronized with the database. The ejbLoad() is invoked just after the container has refreshed the bean container-managed fields with its state from the database. The ejbStore() method is invoked just before the container is about to write the bean container-managed fields to the database. These methods are used to modify data as itís being synchronized. This is common when the data stored in the database is different than the data used in the bean fields.

The ejbPassivate() and ejbActivate() methods are invoked on the bean by the container just before the bean is passivated and just after the bean is activated, respectively. Passivation in entity beans means that the bean instance is disassociated with its remote reference so that the container can evict it from memory or reuse it. Itís a resource conservation measure the container employs to reduce the number of instances in memory. A bean might be passivated if it hasnít been used for a while or as a normal operation performed by the container to maximize reuse of resources. Some containers will evict beans from memory, while others will reuse instances for other more active remote references. The ejbPassivate() and ejbActivate() methods provide the bean with a notification as to when itís about to be passivated (disassociated with the remote reference) or activated (associated with a remote reference).

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