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JPA can behave very differently depending on the exact circumstances under which it is used. Code that works in our local environment or in staging performs very poorly (or even flat out fails) when thrown against real-scale databases in production environments.

Debugging these JPA issues in production is pretty difficult - existing APMs don’t provide enough granular insights at the code level, and tracking every single place someone queried entities one by one instead of in bulk can be a grueling, time-consuming task.

Lightrun is a new approach to debugging in production. Using Lightrun’s Logs and Snapshots, you can now get debugger-level granularity in production without opening inbound ports, redeploying, restarting, or even stropping the running application.

In addition, instrumenting Lightrun Metrics at runtime allows you to track down persistence issues securely and in real-time. Want to see it in action? Check out our 2-minute tutorial for debugging JPA performance issues in production using Lightrun:

>> Debugging Spring Persistence and JPA Issues Using Lightrun

1. Overview

Spring Data makes the process of working with entities a lot easier by merely defining repository interfaces. These come with a set of pre-defined methods and allow the possibility of adding custom methods in each interface.

However, if we want to add a custom method that's available in all the repositories, the process is a bit more complex. So, that's what we'll explore here with Spring Data JPA.

For more information on configuring and using Spring Data JPA, check out our previous articles: Guide to Hibernate with Spring 4 and Introduction to Spring Data JPA.

2. Defining a Base Repository Interface

First, we have to create a new interface that declares our custom method:

public interface ExtendedRepository<T, ID extends Serializable> 
  extends JpaRepository<T, ID> {
    public List<T> findByAttributeContainsText(String attributeName, String text);

Our interface extends the JpaRepository interface so that we'll benefit from all the standard behavior.

You'll also notice we added the @NoRepositoryBean annotation. This is necessary because otherwise, the default Spring behavior is to create an implementation for all subinterfaces of Repository.

Here, we'll want to provide our implementation that should be used, as this is only an interface meant to be extended by the actual entity-specific DAO interfaces.

3. Implementing a Base Class

Next, we'll provide our implementation of the ExtendedRepository interface:

public class ExtendedRepositoryImpl<T, ID extends Serializable>
  extends SimpleJpaRepository<T, ID> implements ExtendedRepository<T, ID> {
    private EntityManager entityManager;

    public ExtendedRepositoryImpl(JpaEntityInformation<T, ?> 
      entityInformation, EntityManager entityManager) {
        super(entityInformation, entityManager);
        this.entityManager = entityManager;

    // ...

This class extends the SimpleJpaRepository class, which is the default class that Spring uses to provide implementations for repository interfaces.

This requires that we create a constructor with the JpaEntityInformation and EntityManager parameters that calls the constructor from the parent class.

We also need the EntityManager property to use in our custom method.

Also, we have to implement the custom method inherited from the ExtendedRepository interface:

public List<T> findByAttributeContainsText(String attributeName, String text) {
    CriteriaBuilder builder = entityManager.getCriteriaBuilder();
    CriteriaQuery<T> cQuery = builder.createQuery(getDomainClass());
    Root<T> root = cQuery.from(getDomainClass());
        .like(root.<String>get(attributeName), "%" + text + "%"));
    TypedQuery<T> query = entityManager.createQuery(cQuery);
    return query.getResultList();

Here, the findByAttributeContainsText() method searches for all the objects of type T that have a particular attribute which contains the String value given as parameter.

4. JPA Configuration

To tell Spring to use our custom class instead of the default one for building repository implementations, we can use the repositoryBaseClass attribute:

@EnableJpaRepositories(basePackages = "org.baeldung.persistence.dao", 
  repositoryBaseClass = ExtendedRepositoryImpl.class)
public class StudentJPAH2Config {
    // additional JPA Configuration

5. Creating an Entity Repository

Next, let's see how we can use our new interface.

First, let's add a simple Student entity:

public class Student {

    private long id;
    private String name;
    // standard constructor, getters, setters

Then, we can create a DAO for the Student entity which extends the ExtendedRepository interface:

public interface ExtendedStudentRepository extends ExtendedRepository<Student, Long> {

And that's it! Now our implementation will have the custom findByAttributeContainsText() method.

Similarly, any interface we define by extending the ExtendedRepository interface will have the same method.

6. Testing the Repository

Let's create a JUnit test that shows the custom method in action:

@ContextConfiguration(classes = { StudentJPAH2Config.class })
public class ExtendedStudentRepositoryIntegrationTest {
    private ExtendedStudentRepository extendedStudentRepository;
    public void setup() {
        Student student = new Student(1, "john");;
        Student student2 = new Student(2, "johnson");;
        Student student3 = new Student(3, "tom");;
    public void givenStudents_whenFindByName_thenOk(){
        List<Student> students 
          = extendedStudentRepository.findByAttributeContainsText("name", "john");
        assertEquals("size incorrect", 2, students.size());        

The test uses the extendedStudentRepository bean first to create 3 Student records. Then, the findByAttributeContains() method is called to find all students whose name contains the text “john”.

The ExtendedStudentRepository class can use both standard methods like save() and the custom method we added.

7. Conclusion

In this quick article, we've shown how we can add a custom method to all repositories in Spring Data JPA.

The full source code for the examples can be found over on GitHub.

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