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1. Overview

This article illustrates how to implement pagination in the Java Persistence API.

It explains how to do paging with basic JQL and with the more type-safe Criteria-based API's, discussing the advantages and known issues of each implementation.

Further reading:

Pagination with Spring REST and AngularJS table

An extensive look at how to implement a simple API with pagination with Spring and how to consume it with AngularJS and UI Grid.

Spring JPA – Multiple Databases

How to set up Spring Data JPA to work with multiple, separate databases.

Spring Data JPA @Query

Learn how to use the @Query annotation in Spring Data JPA to define custom queries using JPQL and native SQL.

2. Pagination With JQL and the setFirstResult(), setMaxResults() API

The simplest way to implement pagination is to use the Java Query Language – create a query and configure it via setMaxResults and setFirstResult:

Query query = entityManager.createQuery("From Foo");
int pageNumber = 1;
int pageSize = 10;
query.setFirstResult((pageNumber-1) * pageSize); 
query.setMaxResults(pageSize);
List <Foo> fooList = query.getResultList();

The API is simple:

  • setFirstResult(int): Sets the offset position in the result set to start pagination
  • setMaxResults(int): Sets the maximum number of entities that should be included in the page

2.1. The Total Count and the Last Page

For a more complete pagination solution, we'll also need to get the total result count:

Query queryTotal = entityManager.createQuery
    ("Select count(f.id) from Foo f");
long countResult = (long)queryTotal.getSingleResult();

Calculating the last page is also very useful:

int pageSize = 10;
int pageNumber = (int) ((countResult / pageSize) + 1);

Notice that this approach to getting the total count of the result set does require an additional query (for the count).

3. Pagination With JQL Using the Id's of Entities

A simple alternative pagination strategy is to first retrieve the full ids and then – based on these – retrieve the full entities. This allows for better control of entity fetching – but it also means that it needs to load the entire table to retrieve the ids:

Query queryForIds = entityManager.createQuery(
  "Select f.id from Foo f order by f.lastName");
List<Integer> fooIds = queryForIds.getResultList();
Query query = entityManager.createQuery(
  "Select f from Foo e where f.id in :ids");
query.setParameter("ids", fooIds.subList(0,10));
List<Foo> fooList = query.getResultList();

Finally, also note that it requires 2 distinct queries to retrieve the full results.

4. Pagination With JPA Using Criteria API

Next, let's look at how we can leverage the JPA Criteria API to implement pagination:

int pageSize = 10;
CriteriaBuilder criteriaBuilder = entityManager
  .getCriteriaBuilder();
CriteriaQuery<Foo> criteriaQuery = criteriaBuilder
  .createQuery(Foo.class);
Root<Foo> from = criteriaQuery.from(Foo.class);
CriteriaQuery<Foo> select = criteriaQuery.select(from);
TypedQuery<Foo> typedQuery = entityManager.createQuery(select);
typedQuery.setFirstResult(0);
typedQuery.setMaxResults(pageSize);
List<Foo> fooList = typedQuery.getResultList();

This is useful when the aim is to create dynamic, failure-safe queries. In contrast to “hard-coded”, “string-based” JQL or HQL queries, JPA Criteria reduces run-time failures because the compiler dynamically checks for query errors.

With JPA Criteria getting the total number of entities in simple enough:

CriteriaQuery<Long> countQuery = criteriaBuilder
  .createQuery(Long.class);
countQuery.select(criteriaBuilder.count(
  countQuery.from(Foo.class)));
Long count = entityManager.createQuery(countQuery)
  .getSingleResult();

The end result is a full pagination solution, using the JPA Criteria API:

int pageNumber = 1;
int pageSize = 10;
CriteriaBuilder criteriaBuilder = entityManager.getCriteriaBuilder();

CriteriaQuery<Long> countQuery = criteriaBuilder
  .createQuery(Long.class);
countQuery.select(criteriaBuilder
  .count(countQuery.from(Foo.class)));
Long count = entityManager.createQuery(countQuery)
  .getSingleResult();

CriteriaQuery<Foo> criteriaQuery = criteriaBuilder
  .createQuery(Foo.class);
Root<Foo> from = criteriaQuery.from(Foo.class);
CriteriaQuery<Foo> select = criteriaQuery.select(from);

TypedQuery<Foo> typedQuery = entityManager.createQuery(select);
while (pageNumber < count.intValue()) {
    typedQuery.setFirstResult(pageNumber - 1);
    typedQuery.setMaxResults(pageSize);
    System.out.println("Current page: " + typedQuery.getResultList());
    pageNumber += pageSize;
}

5. Conclusion

This article has explored the basic pagination options available in JPA.

Some have drawbacks – mainly related to query performance, but these are usually offset by improved control and overall flexibility.

The implementation of this Spring JPA Tutorial can be found in the GitHub project – this is a Maven-based project, so it should be easy to import and run as it is.

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