Custom Naming Strategy in Hibernate

Creating and Using a Custom ImplicitNamingStrategy 

Creating a custom ImplicitNamingStrategy allows you to tweak how Hibernate will assign names to non-explicitly named Entity attributes, including Foreign Keys, Unique Keys, Identifier Columns, Basic Columns, and more.

For example, by default, Hibernate will generate Foreign Keys which are hashed and look similar to:


While this is often not an issue, you may wish that the name was more descriptive, such as:


This can easily be done with a custom ImplicitNamingStrategy.

This example extends the ImplicitNamingStrategyJpaCompliantImpl, however you may choose to implement ImplicitNamingStrategy if you wish. 

import org.hibernate.boot.model.naming.Identifier;
import org.hibernate.boot.model.naming.ImplicitForeignKeyNameSource;
import org.hibernate.boot.model.naming.ImplicitNamingStrategyJpaCompliantImpl;

public class CustomNamingStrategy extends ImplicitNamingStrategyJpaCompliantImpl {
public Identifier determineForeignKeyName(ImplicitForeignKeyNameSource source) {
return toIdentifier(
+ source.getTableName().getCanonicalName()
+ "_"
+ source.getReferencedTableName().getCanonicalName(),

To tell Hibernate which ImplicitNamingStrategy to use, define the hibernate.implicit_naming_strategy property in your persistence.xml or hibernate.cfg.xml file as below:

<property name="hibernate.implicit_naming_strategy" value="com.example.foo.bar.CustomNamingStrategy"/> 


Or you can specify the property in hibernate.properties file as below: 


In this example, all Foreign Keys which do not have an explicitly defined name will now get their name from the CustomNamingStrategy.

Custom Physical Naming Strategy

When mapping our entities to database table names we rely on a @Table annotation. But if we have a naming convention for our database table names, we can implement a custom physical naming strategy in order to tell hibernate to calculate table names based on the names of the entities, without explicitly stating those names with @Table annotation. Same goes for attributes and columns mapping. 

For example, our entity name is: ApplicationEventLog

And our table name is: application_event_log


Our Physical naming strategy needs to convert from entity names that are camel case to our db table names which are snake case. We can achieve this by extending hibernate's PhysicalNamingStrategyStandardImpl:

import org.hibernate.boot.model.naming.Identifier;
import org.hibernate.boot.model.naming.PhysicalNamingStrategyStandardImpl;
import org.hibernate.engine.jdbc.env.spi.JdbcEnvironment;

public class PhysicalNamingStrategyImpl extends PhysicalNamingStrategyStandardImpl {
private static final long serialVersionUID = 1L;
public static final PhysicalNamingStrategyImpl INSTANCE = new PhysicalNamingStrategyImpl();

public Identifier toPhysicalTableName(Identifier name, JdbcEnvironment context) {
return new Identifier(addUnderscores(name.getText()), name.isQuoted());

public Identifier toPhysicalColumnName(Identifier name, JdbcEnvironment context) {
return new Identifier(addUnderscores(name.getText()), name.isQuoted());

protected static String addUnderscores(String name) {
final StringBuilder buf = new StringBuilder(name);
for (int i = 1; i < buf.length() - 1; i++) {
if (Character.isLowerCase(buf.charAt(i - 1))
&& Character.isUpperCase(buf.charAt(i))
&& Character.isLowerCase(buf.charAt(i + 1))) {
buf.insert(i++, '_');
return buf.toString().toLowerCase(Locale.ROOT);

We are overriding default behavior of methods toPhysicalTableName and toPhysicalColumnName to apply our db naming convention.

In order to use our custom implementation we need to define hibernate.physical_naming_strategy property and give it the name of our PhysicalNamingStrategyImpl class.


This way we can alleviate our code from @Table and @Column annotations, so our entity class: 

public class ApplicationEventLog {
private Date startTimestamp;
private String logUser;
private Integer eventSuccess;

@Column(name = "finish_dtl")
private String finishDetails;

will be correctly be mapped to db table: 

CREATE TABLE application_event_log (

start_timestamp timestamp, 

log_user varchar(255)

event_success int(11)

finish_dtl varchar(2000), ...

As seen in the example above, we can still explicitly state the name of the db object if it is not, for some reason, in accordance with our general naming convention: @Column(name="finish_dtl"