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Oracle TopLink provides a persistence framework for storing Java objects in a relational database (like the Oracle database); or for converting Java objects to XML documents. Using TopLink, developers can integrate the object and relational data worlds, allowing applications to easily manage Java objects using relational databases or any other data source.

TopLink Essentials (the open source version of Toplink) mainly implements the Java Persistence API (JPA). The full version offers better support for Oracle shops as it also supports Oracle Types (like XMLType), Virtual Private Database (VPD), proxy connections, etc.


TopLink was developed by "The Object People" in the 1990's. The "TOP" in TopLink is an acronym for The Object People, and the name was originally capitalized as "TOPLink". Toplink was originally developed in Smalltalk.

A Java version of TopLink, TopLink for Java, was provided in 1996-1998.

After the joint acquisition of "The Object People" in April 2000 by BEA Systems and WebGain, the TopLink product line became the property of WebGain.

In 2002, TopLink was acquired by Oracle Corporation and continues to be developed as a member of Oracle's Fusion Middleware family of products.

Oracle Donated TopLink's Java Persistence Technology to Eclipse in March 2007 [1].


Toplink can be licensed as a standalone product or as part of Oracle Application Server Enterprise Edition.

TopLink Essentials is a free open-source community edition of Oracle's TopLink product. It provides the Java Persistence API (JPA) functionality for EJB 3.0.


Although widely known as an object-relational mapping tool, TopLink has a number of other key features including:

  • Rich query framework that supports an object-oriented expression framework, Query by Example (QBE), EJB QL, SQL, and stored procedures
  • An object-level transaction framework
  • Advanced caching to ensure object identity
  • Complete set of direct and relational mappings
  • Object-to-XML mappings, in addition to JAXB support
  • EIS/JCA Support for non-relational datasources
  • Visual mapping editor (Mapping Workbench)
  • Limited support for query in memory

Awards won[edit]

TopLink has won multiple awards including:

  • Voted as the Best Java Persistence Architecture by Java Developer's Journal readers
  • Editor's Choice JavaWorld 2003 Award for Best Java Data Access Tool
  • Java Pro Readers' Choice Award for Best Java Data Access Tool or Driver

External links[edit]